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Discuss the Multistore Model Essay of Memory (16 Marks)

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Describe and evaluate the multi-store model of memory.                        (16 marks)

The multi-store model (MSM) states that each store: sensory store, short-term store and long-term store are unitary and separate from each other. The model also states that each store is linked by control processes such as information gets into the sensory memory by being conscious of environmental stimuli and into the short term memory by paying attention to it , maintenance rehearsal keeps information in the STM and it is encoded into long term memory by elaborative rehearsal. The sensory memory is made up of sensory registers, these sensory registers include iconic memory for visual information and echoic memory for sounds. The capacity of each sensory register varies; Sperling (1960) showed that the iconic store’s capacity is relatively large as it can hold up to 15-20 items. The duration of SM also varies with each register for example, iconic is milliseconds and echoic is from 2-3 seconds.  Short term memory is a temporary store that all information is attended to. The capacity of STM is 7+/-2 items and the duration is 30 seconds or less if maintenance rehearsal is blocked; Peterson and Peterson (1959) found that after 3 seconds there was 80% correct recall and after 30 seconds no trigrams were recalled when maintenance rehearsal was blocked by a distractor task. The coding of STM is mainly acoustic. LTM is a long term store of information that is passed from the STM. The capacity of the store is unlimited and the duration is from 30 seconds to a lifetime the coding of LTM is mainly semantic as information is giving a meaning through elaborative rehearsal.

A strength of the multi-store model theory of memory is that is has made enormous contribution to the understanding of how memory works as it has become almost a framework for other research. Later research have added further research to the original 1968 MSM but the model is still accepted as a valid theory. This is a strength of the MSM because it indicates high explanatory power and therefore strong evidence to how memory works.

Another strength of the MSM theory of how memory works is that there is considerable experimental evidence. For example, studies such as Peterson and Peterson (1959) support the MSM and show that the duration of STM is very different to LTM and therefore they must be separate stores. This is a strength because lab experiment have high control over extraneous variables and provide clear causal evidence, therefore strong evidence for the multi-store model



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