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Short Term Memory & Long Term Memory. Capacty and duration of each and the results of experiments to test memory.

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Introduction

STM & LTM Capacity LTM has been considered by many scientists to have an unlimited capacity. It is possible to lost information from LTM by decay or interference, but this is not due to it's capacity. STM has a very limited capacity (storage space). An example this short capacity is if you are told a phone number, you can just about write it down with no delay. If there were some sort of distraction task or delay, the last figure in the number will be displaced. If the phone number is repeated, this acts as a rehearsal. However when new information is trying to get in (the distracter task) some of the numbers will be displaced from your STM. Another example of your STM's capacity is arithmetic. When faced with simple addition or subtraction, we normally have no problems working something out, however when faced with more complex formulas we start to struggle. This shows that our STM can only perform a small number of processes at one time. Many psychologists have performed experiments to try and obtain a better understanding on the capacity of our STM. One of those is George Miller. ...read more.

Middle

Reading aloud helps people remember more digits because some letters are temporarily in the echoic memory and can be recalled easier. Pronunciation time affects STM, this is the time it takes to articulate words which can vary in language or age of participants, for example a test in Arabic, where words take longer to articulate, will result in les words recalled, or young children, who take longer to build words up in their mind, will not be able to recall as many. Also individual differences affects STM. Some may suffer from anxiety when in a laboratory environment, and so will have a shorter span in their STM. Duration It is generally accepted that STM doesn't have a very high duration and can only hold few items at one time. Information that we need to retain over a longer period of time will be transferred form STM to LTM by rehearsing this information to ourselves. A rehearsal loop is done by repeating the information in STM. This will strengthen the memory trace so it will potentially stay in our LTM until we die. ...read more.

Conclusion

Peterson and Peterson Aim - To distinguish the effect of a timed delay, when recalling from STM. (IV - time delay, DV - quality of recall) Procedures - Participants were asked to look at a trigram (3 consonants not making up a specific word or sound) and asked to count backwards, in threes for varied amounts of time. They used 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 second intervals. They then had to repeat the trigram. Findings - They found that they could recall the letters after the 3-second interval 80% of the time. The recall, however became progressively worse as the time delay got longer and after an 18 second interval, less than 10% was recalled correctly. Conclusions - Peterson and Peterson showed from this experiment that when rehearsal is prevented (distracter task), decay of the STM occurs more rapidly Criticisms - This study lacks in ecological validity, because remembering these trigrams is unlikely to occur in someone's real life situations, because they were not words and had no meaning, other studies and research shows that more meaningful information is more likely to be stored in the STM for longer. (mundane realism) ...read more.

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