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Memory and forgetting

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Introduction

Rebecca Johnson Memory-Miss Wilson 1. Outline the main features of the Multi-Store model of memory (6 marks) Atkinson and Shiffrin proposed the Multi-Store model of memory in 1968. The model was also called the two-process because of the importance of the two stores, which are Short-term memory (STM) and Long-term memory (LTM). The model describes memory in terms of information flowing through a system. In this system the information is detected by the sense organs and enters the sensory memory (SM). If we attend to this information it enters the STM and this information can be transferred to the LTM only if that information is rehearsed. However if this rehearsal does not occur then the information is forgotten through displacement or decay. 2. What is meant by the term 'Flashbulb Memory'? Outline one explanation of 'Flashbulb Memories' (3+3) Flashbulb Memories are when people have a particularly strong and often-detailed memory of where they were and exactly what they were doing when a specific major event occurred. For example most people may remember in great detail what they were doing when the American president John F Kennedy was shot (1963), when Mrs Thatcher resigned as Prime Minster (1990) and even when they heard about the death of Princess Diana (1997). Conway et al (1994) tested the accuracy of Flashbulb memory. ...read more.

Middle

There is also evidence to prove that certain verbal memories are remarkably resistant to long-term decay. Bahrick and Phelps (1987) conducted a long term study of American college graduates, in which they found that there was rapid rate of forgetting the Spanish vocabulary over the first three or four years after graduation. After this time they showed remarkably little further decline over the following 30 to 50 years. As a whole these findings seem to imply that even where time has a distinctive part in forgetting, we still cannot say it is the only factor. Interference is another factor of forgetting in LTM. Baddeley and Hitch (1977) provide evidence for this. They conducted a study in which they asked rugby players to recall the names of teams that they had played during the previous season. Some players did not play some of the games due to illness or other commitments, etc. This meant that some players thought two games back meant two weeks back for some people or it could mean three or four weeks back to other players. This shows that some players had taken part in more games than others over the same period of time. This allowed Baddeley and Hitch to find out whether forgetting depended on elapsed time or the number of intervening games. ...read more.

Conclusion

They were asked to recall the information when sober and vice versa. Emotional forgetting is also significant in forgetting. It can be in the form of repression, which also emphasises the role of emotion in forgetting. Freud suggested that we forget because there is great anxiety associated with certain memories and the psychological pain of recall would be to great to cope with. When this is the case we use the unconscious mechanism of repression to push such memories out of consciousness. The memories continue to exist in the unconscious mind. Flashbulb memory is one type of memory, which is influenced by emotion. This causes people to have clear memories of events, which they found traumatic and remember in some detail the circumstances in which they became aware of these events. This suggests that high emotional distinctiveness of an event leads to a better ability to recall it. In conclusion I think the explanation of forgetting in LTM, as a whole is extremely reliable as each theory is has evidentiary support. This can be clearly seen in the way the research conducted by experimenters, provides valuable insight into this area. However, there are some weaknesses in some areas of the explanations covered, which have been made aware by psychologists. This in turn has resulted in more accurate accounts, and statistics gained, which are essential in order to get a clearer view into this area of psychology. ...read more.

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