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Describe and Evaluate the Multi-Store Model of Memory

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The multi-store model of memory is an theoretical explanation of how memory processes work. It was the first extensively accepted model of how memory works, it is however not the definitive explanation of memory. The model was proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968.

It is suggested in the model that the human memory involves a sequence of three stages, these include: sensory memory, short term memory and long term memory. Information is said to pass through each stage in a fixed sequence. There are limitations of capacity and duration at each separate stage. Information can easily be lost from either of the stages.

The first stage of the model is the sensory memory. The name derives from the fact that the information received is sensual, i.e. visual or auditory. In the sensory memory there is a limited ability to store information from the environment in a moderately unprocessed way for less than a second. Information received will either decay or be passed forward to the short term store.

Short term memory contains a considerably small amount of information that is in active use. The encoding that takes place here is mainly visual and acoustic. If information is not rehearsed and therefore may not be recalled, it will have been displaced from the short term memory.

If information is rehearsed if will then be passed onto the long term memory store, where it may remain for as long as a lifetime. According to this model of memory, long term memory has a potentially immeasurable capacity and duration. The type of encoding is semantic, which is known to be the meaning an d understanding of information. Loss of information is possible from this store, through decay or interference.

The multi-store model has accumulated much research, but it is argued by many that the model is too simplistic to explain the whole memory system.

From case studies of brain-damaged patients such as KF and HP, there is evidence to support the concept that there are at least two different types of memory store. There is also further evidence to support the significance of rehearsal. For example, if participants in an experiment are prevented from repeating a list of words then they are more likely to remember the words earlier in the list. A notable weakness of the multi-store model is that it is strongly proposed that the only way for information to pass



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