Memory is a complex and varied phenomenon. Ideas about what constitutes memory and how it works can be traced back to ancient times. Plato compared memory to an aviary, and in some respects his ideas have remained little changed into the modern era.
Plato likened human memory to an aviary with memories (birds) flying around inside. A new bird can be captured and added to the aviary (placing a new memory into storage), and at a later date the bird can be captured in a net and removed (retrieval of a memory). Inability to capture a bird or its escape from the cage are useful analogies for the two basic processes of forgetting.
Some modern theories of memory still use this principle of storage and retrieval, however it is becoming more popular now to see memory as a process rather than simply a storage system. Research in recent years has shown that far from being a perfect recording of an event our memories do change over time and can be influenced by others and by later events.
What the board expects you to know
Models of memory Memory in everyday life
The multi-store model including the concepts of encoding, capacity and duration.
Strengths and weaknesses of the model. Eye witness testimony (EWT) and the factors affecting EWT, including anxiety, age of witness.
The working memory model including its strengths and weaknesses. Misleading information and the use o the cognitive interview.
Strategies for improving memory
The notes that follow are meant to provide a thorough overview of the topic as it is described by the AQA Specification. They should be regarded as a bare minimum and consequently should be supplemented by class notes and independent notes following your own extensive background reading!
An evolutionary perspective
We take memory for granted and cannot imagine a life that had no past experience to give the present some kind of context. Animal memory is quite different to our own despite human memory almost certainly