Describe and evaluate the multistore model of memory

Authors Avatar

Emily Amos

Describe and evaluate the multistore model of memory

The multi-store model of memory was designed by Atkinson and Shriffin (1968). They developed this model in order to explain the way our memory works; how much it can hold (capacity), and how long we can hold memories (duration). The model is based around the idea of three separate stores which hold our memories, sensory, short term and long term.

The sensory memory is collected by senses, the ears, eyes, mouth, etc. The store is constantly receiving information and so the data collected only remains in the store for a very small amount of time. The model suggests that if attention is then given to the senses then the memory transfers to the short term store. Evidence in support of the sensory store was provided by Sperling (1960); participants were shown a grid of digits and letters for 50 milliseconds and when asked to recall what they saw, the average recall was 42%. This information supports as it suggests, memory decays rapidly and therefore supports the concept of a store which cannot hold large amounts of memory. It was also centered around the use of sight supporting the sensory aspect of the store. However if this store can only hold memories for such a short amount of time should it be considered a store at all?

Join now!

The short term store (STM), according to the model, is our memory for events in the immediate past (such as ordering drinks at a bar) and present. The information is said to be held in a ‘fragile state’ and the capacity is limited. Furthermore if new information enters the store it displaces memories that were there to begin with. Memories move from the short term to the long term through elaborative rehearsal. Evidence to show the existence and capacity of the STM has long been researched. Although the model was developed much later, Jacobs (1887) used the digit span ...

This is a preview of the whole essay