The Structure Of Memory Essay

1799 words - 7 pages

Introduction
Prior research into the structure of memory have suggested that memory is comprised up from three separate stores each performing a specific and relatively inflexible function (in Passer, Smith, Holt, Bremner, Sutherland, & Vliek, 2009). That is the multi-store model, developed by Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968 in Passer et al., 2009) who claim a sensory memory store, short-term memory store (STM) and a long-term memory store (LTM) (in Passer et al., 2009). Although to some, the multi store model provided an adequate explanation of memory processes, it was regarded as being too simplistic since short-term and long- term memories were far more complicated than originally thought (in Craik & Lockhart, 1972). In essence, the multi-store model stresses the importance of rehearsal to long term memory. While rehearsal is crucial as a means of transferring information from the STM to the LTM, this is not necessarily always the case (in Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968 in Passer et al., 2009). To this, sceptics challenged the idea of information being transferred from the STM to the LTM by active rehearsal since subsequent research has indicated that information had the potential to be stored in the LTM without it being actively rehearsed (in Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968). In response to the difficulties and weaknesses presented in the multi-store model, an alternative model attempting to explain memory processes in a more precise manner was developed by Craik & Lockhart (1972 in Craik & Lockhart, 1972). Their theory of levels of processing proposes that different methods of encoding information into the memory will subsequently have an effect on recollection of information (in Craik & Lockhart, 1972). According to the levels of processing model, information can be processed in a number of different ways with depth of processing resting on a shallow to deep continuum rather than it being subject to different memory stores as previously suggested by Atkinson & Shiffrin’s multi-store model and that depth of processing is determined by which store it will go in to (in Craik & Lockhart, 1972). The levels of processing model is characterised by three different levels of processing; physical, acoustic (sound) and semantic (meaning) (in Craik & Lockhart, 1972). For example, words and numbers can be processed according to either its physical characteristics, through acoustic means or through semantic properties. The theory in general asserts that information that receives high levels of semantic/ cognitive analysis the more easier it would be to remember it i.e. if information is processed semantically (through meaning), then recollection of information will be greater as opposed to information that is processed shallowly i.e. visually or acoustically in which there is a tendency to forgot information quiet easily when such strategies are induced (in Craik & Lockhart, 1972). In order to test for such predications, Craik and Lockhart (1972 in Craik &...

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