The long term memory store is said to have an unlimited capacity and duration. This has been tested and proven. Bahrlick et al asked participants of various ages to put names to faces from their high school year book. It was found that even 48 years on, people were about 70% correct. This is important as, although this is a strength for the model. It brings a criticism for the model as it does not distinguish between the different types of information we have to remember, explicit and implicit. Explicit involves information you have been asked to remember, for example for a test. Implicit involves information you learn naturally such as, in this case, names of people in your high school classes, which we do not have to rehearse so as for it to pass into our long term memory. A lot of memory research supporting the multi store model involves explicit information recall, so lacking in mundane realism as in real life we do not have to rehearse all information for it to be stored in our long term memory.
There is evidence to support a distinction between a short term memory store and a long term memory store. Glanzer and Cunitz gave participants a free recall task, to see which words participants could recall best of a list. They found that words at the beginning and end of the list had the best recall rate. They called this the primacy and recency effect. This can be explained by the multi store model of memory as the words at the beginning of the list were best recalled as they had been rehearsed so had passed into the long term memory, the primacy effect. Words at the end of the list remained in the short term memory, the recency effect.
A lot of research supporting the multi store model takes place in laboratories with very controlled conditions. The implication being that they are low in ecological validity and we can’t generalise the findings to real life. It is not a real life situation that we have to remember in any order a list of random words given to us. So the studies lack mundane realism and don’t represent memory in real life.
A further criticism put forward by many psychologists is that it is over simplified. It fails to reflect the complexity of human memory. Short and long term memories are more complicated than this model suggests. Other explanations are needed to account for specific types of memory which the model cannot account for, for example: flashbulb memory, whereby a traumatic event occurs and victims or bystanders memories are often found to be accurate, detailed and long lasting, such as the witnesses of 9/11. The multi store model cannot explain this phenomenon.