Short Term Memory

8 August 2016

Compare and contrast the model of Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) with one major theory of working memory. Human memory is a major area of interest and study within the field of cognitive psychology and has been research intensively and is constantly being studied to establish new findings into the field of human memory. Quinlan & Dyson (2008). Many memory theorists have attempted to give their accounts of human memory systems by suggesting a number of Models in order to attempt to describe human memory in every day life.

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Eysenck & Keane (1997) The following essay compares and contrasts the differences between Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) multi model of memory and the Baddeley & Hitch (2000) revised working memory model of memory. Atkinson & Shriffin (1968) famously developed a model of human memory and tried to describe the human memory system by describing a number of stores which is known as the multi store model approach. The multi store model describes three types of memory store. Sensory stores, short term memory store and long term memory store.

AttentionRehearsal Decay Displacement Inference Figure 1. The multi store model of memory cited from Eysenck & Keane (1997) pg 125. The Atkinson & Shriffin (1969) model describes that the sensory stores are the first basis that a humans receives information into. The model suggests that humans firstly take in information from our sensory stores information from the sensory stores which are then transferred into a human’s short term memory.

From short term memory the model describes that through rehearsal within Short term memory, information is transferred into long term memory, which is then stored and remains permanent over a life time. The sensory stores are where humans take in information from their senses. This can be visual senses (iconic memory), Hearing senses (echoic memory) and Touch senses (Haptic memory).

The sensory buffer which stores information from the senses is only capable of retaining the information for a short period of time, even when the information from a humans senses is not attended to immediately, however it still can be retrieved if done very quickly. Iconic memory has a capacity varying between 0. 3 to 1 second. Echoic memory durations last typically between 3 to 4 seconds. Lastly Haptic memory lasts for around approx 2 seconds. Short term memory, which is also known as working memory, is thought that rehearsal of a specific memory within short term memory can eventually be stored into long term memory.

Short term memory is thought to be able to hold seven points of information. Short term memory was first described by Miller (1966) who strongly believed that a human Short term memory can hold seven chunks of memory or minus two. This has also been added by Simon (1974 cited in Eysenck 2000) who found that Short term memory can hold twenty two words for eight word phases and for unrelated words it was seven.

Long term memory is the permanent memory store where memory is thought to be permanent and has an unlimited capacity. Long term memory is acquired by rehearsal of information from short term memory which remains over a life time unless brain injury or illness effecting memory occur or old age. Baddeley & Hitch (2000) devised their own model of working memory. They criticized Atkinson & Shriffin multi store model with regards to the simplicity that their model applied to their beliefs on Short term memory.

They did agree to some element that in order to retain information into long term memory it had to be rehearsed in short term memory, although they proposed that it was much more complex than the multi store model attempted to explain. There first model by Badley & Hitch of working memory was devised in 1974 and with recent research it has been improved and had various items added to it and has kept it in line with modern research into the area of human memory. Figure 2. Working memory model cited from Quinlan & Dyson (2008) pg 382

The working memory model of Baddeley & Hitch explains that rehearsal only takes place in the phonological loop and does not place as much emphasis on rehearsal within short term memory compared to the multi store model of Atkinson & Shriffin Baddeley & Hitch attempted to expand the model put forward to Atkinson & Shrifin as they believed that there was more elements of human memory. They described three components to their working memory model, the central executive, the phonological loop, visual spatial sketchpad and the most recent in 2000 the episodic buffer.

The central executive is thought to be the most important component of the model, with both the phonological loop, visual spatial sketchpad and episodic buffer being termed as slave systems for the central executive. Eysenck (2000). The Central executive is described as being the driving force and manages the whole working memory system. It is thought that the Central executive manages all the other components within the working memory system which controls where attention is drawn to. The Central executive is thought to deal with all cognitive activities, which can control doing two things at once, more than one schema can be activated.

This was derived from the Norman & Shallice model (1986 cited in Quinlan & Dyson 2008) and has the ability to place working memory into long term memory. However it must be noted that the Central executive has a limited capacity, which is hard to measure its capacity. Eysenck & Keane (1997) The phonological loop is a system that deals with speech and all verbal materials that a human is exposed to and is useful for such things such as remembering digits of a telephone number when just told it by a form of rehearsal such as repeating the numbers in your head.

It has been referred to as the inner voice as it stores words that are planned to be spoken. Quinlan & Dyson (2008). The phonological loop is divided into two separate parts, the phonological store and the articulatory control system. The phonological store is part of the model that is able to retain spoken information for approx two seconds. articulatory control system rehearses information from the phonological store. This part of the model with regards to rehearsal is similar to Broadbents (1958 cited in Quinlan & Dyson 2008).

Information can be lost at this point if not gone through the rehearsal process. The model attempts to describe that short term forgetting can happen from trace decay. The visual spatial sketchpad is part of the model that process visual information which is stored in short term memory. It can hold information such as colour, shapes of objects and sizes. This has been termed the ‘inner eye’ Gross (2001). The visual spatial sketchpad is thought to process spatial movement planning. Logie (1995).

An example could entail knowing the route to drive to a shopping centre and planning where to park your car, knowing that the car park is behind the shopping centre. A third component was added to the original model which was termed the episodic buffer. The episodic buffer is a form of store which backs up and links with different components of working memory and long term memory McLeod (2008). The episodic buffer takes in information from various ways such as verbal and visual and formed of a multi- dimensional coding and can be retrieved when needed.

In comparing and contrasting both of the models, they differ with regards to the process of short term memory the multi store memory model only describes two memory stores, whereas the working memory model describes short term memory is part of different subsystems and not as straight forward that the multi store memory model proposes. Both models can be termed as being similar in certain aspects and interestingly both of the models support different brain damaged patient’s case studies. Patient HM was unable to transfer short term memory into long term memory after his hippocampus was removed.

He could remember information from the past before the removal of his hippocampus from his long term memory. However at present he can remember new information for only a short amount of seconds. Pinel (2006) The case of HM supports Atkinson & Shriffin’s multi store model. In comparison brain damaged patient KF who had a bad motor bike accident could remember more visual stimuli compared to auditory stimuli. Pinel (2006) This supports the model of Baddeley & Hitch who describe that the phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketch pad is formed of two parts for short term memory.

The Atkinson & Shriffin model has been criticized for being far too simple, as the model suggests that short term and long term memory form singularly. However research into this area has established that both short term and long term memory are more complicated and not as straight forward as the model suggests. Baddeley & Hitch (1974) attempted to explain that short term memory is not one single store, it is more complicated and is actually composed of different components, including the central executive, the visuo- spatial pad, phonological loop and the episodic buffer.

The Baddeley & Hitch working memory model is more up to date compared to the Atkinson & Shriffin multi store model and has all the advantages of the work of recent researchers, whereas the Atkinson & Shriffin model has not been updated in recent years and they could potentially be more informative with regards to the complexity of Short term memory, to make the model not so simplistic. Perhaps if they were to devise the multi store model again, with all the updated research on short term memory it may have some changes and not be so straight forward and more valuable.

The Atkinson & Shriffin model has also suggested that in order to gain information into long term memory, rehearsal is required in order to transfer short term memory into long term memory. As we are able to hold information into long term memory that has not been rehearsed such as swimming. As on the other hand information that has been rehearsed such as reading notes for examination revision is not always able to be recalled.

Also various other types of long term memory have been found including episodic, procedural and semantic. Mc Leod (2007) The Atkinson & Shriffin model has also been extremely criticised for being a one way liner model, whereas the Baddeley & Hitch working memory model is not a one way liner model. However the working memory model has been criticised with regards to the central execuitive, as there is not a lot of evidence on how it works. It has also been pointed out that the central executive is extremely hard to measure.

Eysenck & Keane (1997) It also has been noted that it is unitary and research has found from studies of individuals that have Had the removal of cerebral tumour that it consists of two components Eslinger & Damasio (1985 cited in Eysenck & Keane 1997). Baddeley & Hitch’s working memory model mainly focuses on the process of memory, whereas the Atkinson & Shriffin model can be accused of only focusing on attention and rehearsal and ignores the elements of memory process and instead only concentrates on the structure of memory.

Both the Atkinson & Shriffin multi store model and Baddeley & Hitch working memory model provide valuable accounts of Human memory, however the main difference between the two models is the factor of short term memory. Baddeley & Hitch provide a more in depth complex explanation of short term memory compared to Atkinson & Shriffin account of short term memory. The main difference between the two models is that multi store model describes short term memory as a temporary passive store, which does not process information, whereas the working memory model believe that short term memory has a passive storage which activate processing.

The multi store model describes the sensory store an attention system rather than a storage store as information not attended to is lost. In comparison the working model describe information as short term memory activated and not as straight forward as the multi store memory describes i. e. it hold information long enough in order for the information to be processed in order to use it. Both the multi model of memory and working model of memory agree that short term information can be derived from long term memory.

The working memory model describes that information can be stored for approx 2 seconds whereas the multi working model of memory describe that if information is not rehearsed it can last to approx 20 seconds. The multi store model of memory describe short term memory having a being able to hold seven items or minus two and when rehearsed stored into long term memory. Although the working model with regards to short term memory describe that the amount of information is down to the timing of recalling information

The Atkinson & Shriffin has been very valuable in generating a large amount of interest into memory research, which leads to the deviation of the working memory model. In comparison the Working memory model is also a valuable model and has also generated a large amount of research and interest in the area of human memory, which has lead to other models being proposed. Both models have been valuable and starting point for researchers to study memory in various memory experiments.

There are other memory models which have been devised by different cognitive psychologists but the multi working memory model and the working memory model are the most influential in the area of memory Atkinson & Shriffin multi store memory is widely used for experiments. Quinlan & Dyson (2008). The serial position effect has been found on various studies which support the notion of the multi store memory model. Gershberg & Shimura (1994) conducted two studies into the serial position effect.

They found that when participants were tested straight after a word list without a delay, words presented at the end of the list were remember more than words presented at the middle. This was also found by Murdock (1962 cited Eysenck 200) who found that items on a list were recalled better from the end and the beginning. This supports the notion of the multi store model that rehearsal in short term memory is transferred into long term memory. It has been pointed out that the working model of memory has many advantages over the multi store model of memory.

Both models have support from research; the multi store memory model is backed up by research into short term memory and amnesic patients and brain surgery patients. The working memory model has support from research investigating the dual- task technique. The dual- task technique is by where more than one task is preformed at the same time which suggests that individual tasks use separate components of short term memory. This was found by Kellog who found that participants were able to perform two different tasks at the same time. i. e.

Using two different sub parts of short term memory (1996 cited in Craig et al 1996). In conclusion the Baddeley & Hitch working memory model is much more informative with regards to fully describing how memory works compared to the Atkinson & Shriffin model, which can be deemed as more basic in comparison. The multi store memory model is valuable starting point for investigators who want to use a basic model for their research whereas the working memory model is valuable for researchers who want to base their research on a more detailed complex model.

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