Outline and evaluate the multi store model of memory (12 marks)
Information from the environment is transferred through one of our five senses into the sensory memory (encoded depending on the type of information we receive). The sensory memory is a store suggested to be large in capacity but the duration the information is held for is the problem, lasting only fractions of a second. When attention is paid to information it enters the short term memory. According to Miller, the short term memory has a capacity of 7+-2 items. The duration of the short term memory last between 18 and 30 seconds, the STM is encoded mainly acoustically but sometimes visually. If maintenance rehearsal takes place it will remain in the STM or will be lost through decay or ...view middle of the document...
For example, the study of HM, a brain damaged patient underwent an operation to cure a severe case of epilepsy but this resulted in the ability to transfer from the STM to the LTM, HM could not form long term memories and could read the same magazine over and over again. This directly supports the concept that there are separate stores within memory.
Recent improvements in medical technology such as MRI, PET and CAT scans which measure and show brain patterns when patients perform tasks generally associated with STM and LTM show that there are separate stores in memory. Activity is localised to different areas of the brain suggesting the different stores.
There are many studies which provide support for the multi store model of memory. For example research into the primacy effect (that of which people are able to recall the first few items on a list better than items from the middle) can be explained by the model directly. The first items will be rehearsed the most, transferring into the LTM. The items in the middle will be displaced by the last items in the list which are easily recalled as they remain active within the STM (recency effect).
However, much of the scientific evidence which supports the multi store model lacks validity as it is carried out in a laboratory. The variables are controlled in an artificial environment and material participants have to remember is unlike information we have to remember in everyday life.
Overall the multi store model is a much too simple explanation of a complex process such as memory. It explains little about the STM and the LTM and describes them as fixed structures. It does not take into account the different types of LTM such as episodic, procedural or flashbulb memories.