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THE HUMAN MEMORY

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Introduction

THE HUMAN MEMORY Many people don't know it but the memory of a human is more complex than thought to be. The memory can be divided into three stores which are Sensory, Short term and Long term. There are also two processes which are Attention and Rehearsal. I will be looking at these sections closely to help explain the human memory. I will also be looking at past experiments which will help me support my theory. The Sensory stores are made up of three parts- Visual sensory memory, Acoustic sensory memory, touch, smell and motor information. If the information is not attended to then it can decay. The sensory information is the environmental input which is kept for two seconds in the sensory store. One of the other stores is the short term memory store which is used to hold information which is passed in by the sensory stores and that is where the information can be held for seven seconds with out rehearsal or repetition. The short term memory has very limited capacity and duration and also rehearses information acoustically (acoustic encoding). ...read more.

Middle

The participants were asked to remember numbers of series and this was repeated over a number of trials to establish the participants 'digit span'. The findings were that the average of the short term is the between 5-9 items. Digits were recalled better (9.3 items) than letters (7.3 items). Individual differences were found with age. By looking at this I can say that the findings show that the short term memory has a limited storage capacity also the duration of the short term also the results will change. If the gap between the numbers is 3 seconds then 90% of the asked digits will be recalled but if the gap was 18 seconds then less than 10% of the asked digits will be remembered. The encoding of the short term memory is the way the information is stored in the memory. The memory will mainly store information acoustically and the most common type is semantic coding (processing information for memory). Another man who tested this was Buddeley who said that after the delay and before the recall of the words of the similar meaning was poorly recalled compared to similar sounding words because of semantic confusion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rehearsal is not always necessary for memories to become permanent, as in flashbulb memory, which challenges the multi-store emphasis on this. The levels of processing theory also contradicts the multi-store model as it suggests that rehearsal is not important, rather it is the depth of processing that creates memories. The working memory model is also criticised it portrays short term memory and long term memory as passive stores when they are active processes. The working memory model demonstrated this is true of short term memory and so it expanded on the multi-store model to improve on its reductionism. It does however support the STM/LTM distinction identified by the multi-store model. A further criticism is that transfer of information is presented as a one-way process whereas the interference explanation of forgetting shows that information flow is two-way. So after looking at all the weaknesses and the strengths I have come to the conclusion that the short term memory and the long term memory both have more weaknesses than strengths but with out them we could not be able to do anything. Yes they do lose information if not rehearsed of remembered but they are a great part of are life and we will need it for ever. ...read more.

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