Cognitive Approach: Multi-Store Model Flashcards

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a cognitive process used to encode, store, and retrieve information


Multi-Store Model

Proposed by Atkinson and Schiffrin; proposed that human memory consists of three memory stores: sensory memory, short term memory, and long term memory.

each store is a unitary structure and has its own characteristics in terms of duration and capacity


Sensory Memory

Receives information through the sensory stores

  • sensory memory has a large capacity, but a very brief duration
  • info held only lasts for fractions of a second
  • attention is required from info to move from sensory memory to short-term memory
  • Attention: information that is not tended to decays and is forgotten


Short-Term Memory

Where we hold information we are currently paying attention to

  • has a capacity of 7+/- 2 chunks of information at once, Millers magic number (1956)
  • capacity can be increased through chunking: converting a string of items into a number of larger chunks
  • information held in short-term memory only last for approximately 30 seconds
  • information in short-term memory only enters long-term memory through rehearsal
  • If rehearsal does not occur; information if forgotten and lost through displacement or decay


Long-Term Memory

Place for storing large amounts of information for indefinite periods of time

  • has unlimited duration and capacity
  • elaborative rehearsal is the process of relating information to prior knowledge, making the information meaningful, thus making it easier to store for a longer period of time.
  • retrieval of information from long-term memory may be impossible at times, the memory is intact, but unreachable, so in turn forgotten

There are two types of long-term memory: explicit memory and implicit memory


Explicit Memory

Information that can be intentionally and consciously recalled; you have to consciously work to remember


Implicit Memory

Our unconscious, automatic memory; do not have to actively recall



  • Simple explanation and model
  • Easy to test
  • Research supports assertions of separate stores



  • Reductionist approach to explain memory
  • Doesn't account for other factors involved in memory formation
  • rehearsal is not enough to explore transfer of information into long-term memory


Study Used

Clanzer and Cunitz (1966): serial position effect