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Outline the multi store model of memory with evidence to support it

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Multi Store Model The multi store model of memory (or MSM) proposed by Atkinson and Schifrin (1968), was the first explanation of memory in terms of categorical stores. This model explains memory in terms of three stores: sensory, short term and long term memory. The first stage of the store is environmental stimuli; this consists of everything in our environment that has the potential of being perceived. This enters the sensory memory store, which is encoded in either iconic (visually) or echoic (auditory) forms. These are stored for less than a second, and unless attention is given to these stimuli will be lost through decay. ...read more.


However we can only keep this new information in our short term memory for 18 - 30 seconds based on rehearsal, where you keep the memory active by rehearsing it. This is called the rehearsal loop, by rehearsing the new information it stays in our STM, and if rehearsed enough it will enter the long term memory store. If this information is not rehearsed sufficiently it becomes forgotten, either through displacement or trace decay. Displacement is 'pushing out' of old memories for new ones. As we only have a limited capacity, the information which is not being rehearsed is forgotten to make space for new information. ...read more.


The first few words were often remembered, this is called the primacy effect where they had entered the LTM. The middle words were often forgotten as they were not being rehearsed, and the most recent words were remembered (recency effect) as they were still in the STM. Other proof into MSM comes from brain damaged patients, such as HM. He suffered severe epilepsy and had the majority of his hippocampus removed. This part of the brain was believed to be associated with memory. After the surgery he suffered from anterograde amnesia, where his STM was fully functional, but could not commit memories to his LTM. This gives the MSM physiological proof. A lot of other studies such as Miller's 7+-2 and Peterson and Peterson's duration of STM also support the existence of these stores. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

This essay shows a sound understanding of the multi store model and some of the research which supports its proposals. Material has been selected appropriately, but the essay is insufficiently evaluative and seems unfinished. It would be helped by weaving the supporting evidence throughout the description and considering the validity of that evidence. It is easier and more effective to evaluate throughout the essay than to leave it until the end, and it may be better to cut down on the descriptive detail to ensure that there is time to evaluate. This is particularly important when writing in timed conditions. A consideration of some of the theory's shortcomings would be useful - such as the problem that it doesn't account for information which is remembered without rehearsal, or the evidence which suggests that the stores can be subdivided. It also needs a final concluding paragraph to discuss how influential this theory was in its day, although it has since been superseded by the working memory model.

Marked by teacher Jo Wilcox 15/02/2012

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Response to the question

Response to Question: The writer gives an excellent description of the Multi-store modal of memory by giving in-depth detail on: the three types of store, their capacities, their modalities, ways info may be lost from them, and ways of improving ...

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Response to the question

Response to Question: The writer gives an excellent description of the Multi-store modal of memory by giving in-depth detail on: the three types of store, their capacities, their modalities, ways info may be lost from them, and ways of improving memory. The essay also has a brief introduction which is beneficial as it gives a quick overview of what will be discussed. However I think this answer lacks evidence and evaluation – although some is given (i.e. serial position effect studies and the case study of HM), this may not be enough to fully answer the “with evidence to support it” part of the question.

Level of analysis

Level of Analysis: As just mentioned, there isn’t quite enough evidence given. The evidence from serial position effect studies is good as it clearly states what the research conducted involved (participants were told a list of words and were told to repeat them) and then related this to the multi-store model to make clear how it is supportive. This technique is repeated with the evidence from HM. However after making those two, very successful points, the writer do not fully explain the remaining supporting evidence. They merely name evidence (Miller, Peterson and Peterson) but do not explain what was studied or how this relates to the multi-store model.

Quality of writing

Quality of Writing: The punctuation, grammar and spelling are all good. The writer makes good use of technical terms which display their understanding of the topic of memory (e.g. ‘encoding’, ‘retrieval’, ‘serial position’, and ‘trace decay’). In terms of the convention of writing, I’d suggest they need to give a conclusion to sum-up the whole essay. This should normally roughly mirror the introduction – just say what the main points and evidence covered are (for example you could expand on something like “To conclude, the multi-store model states there are three types of memory: sensory, short-term and long-term. Evidence for three separate stores is provided by serial position tasks and neuropsychological patients such as HM). Finally – it’s best not to shorten to “LTM” without stating what it means. Just write “long-term memory (LTM)” the first time, and use “LTM” from then on.

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Reviewed by danielle-dansmell 26/02/2012

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