1.1 BACKGROUND: Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1901) was the first to carry out
research into memory. He carried out extensive series of studies but all his
studies were done on himself. He took a ASSOCIATIONIST approach (believed
that memory rests on the association of ideas). First to suggest that memory
consists of more than one system/store (STM and LTM). He also established the
PRIMARY EFFECT and the RECENCY EFFECT.
1.1.1 STUDY EBBINGHAUS (1885): He wanted to establish how quickly information is
forgotten over time. He did this by reading a long list of nonsense syllables and
tried to recall them. He noted down how many items he could remember and
repeated the procedure until he could recall the complete list. Then he looked at
how quickly the items were forgotten. The results showed that with successive
trials, the rate of the forgetting decreased. To conclude, Immediate forgetting is
the loss of material from STM and the gradual forgetting is from LTM.
1.1.2 AO2: Criticised, as if done today it would be done
on numerous participants as it can't be
REPRESENTATIVE of the population so it can't be
generalised as RELIABLE. Importantly, the use of
CVCs (CONSONANT-VOWEL-CONSONANT) are
questioned as they have low ECOLOGICAL
1.2 FREDERICK BARTLETT (1886-1969): He
challenged the ASSOCIATIONIST standpoint in his
book (Remembering (1932)) as he saw that
memories were not an exact copy of the material
that had been remembered , but rather as a
RECONSTRUCTION of the original information
(which might not be accurate). This is called the
CONSTRUCTIVIST approach. He set the pattern for
future research as he stressed that memory should
be investigated using meaningful material.
2 SHORT TERM MEMORY
2.1 CAPACITY: SPAN MEASURE is
used to establish the capacity of
STM. MILLER (1956) stated 'The
magical number seven, plus or
minus: some limits on our capacity
for processing information'.
Basically, most people could only
repeat back 7 +/- 2 items. The 'items'
could be numbers, letters, words or
tones. Capacity of STM can be
INCREASED by using 'CHUNKING'
which was also explained by
MILLER. CHUNKING refers to putting
two or more pieces of information
together to form one unit of
2.2 DURATION: On average duration time is 30
SECONDS. Information can be held longer using
rehearsal. Duration can be tested using the
2.2.1 PETERSON AND PETERSON (1959): Aim was to establish the
duration of STM when rehearsal is prevented. Participants heard a
trigram and were asked to recall immediately what they heard, or
after a set of retention intervals. During the period before recall,
they were asked to count backwards in 3s from a specified number.
Counting was to prevent MAINTENANCE REHEARSAL. The results
showed after the 3-second delay, recall was high but decreased as
retention interval lengthened.
2.3 ENCODING: From research we
know that information is put
into STM in an ACOUSTIC
form. VISUAL encoding is also
possible. Investigated by
2.3.1 CONRAD (1964): Aimed to establish the form in which information is encoded
into STM. Participants were shown six letters from B C F M N P S T V X. They
were asked to write them down as they appeared. Presentation was fast so they
had to be held in STM. Errors were analysed. Results showed that participants
made ACOUSTIC CONFUSION ERRORS (e.g. 'P' instead of 'B' or 'V'). To
conclude, even when information is presented visually, encoding is acoustic.
3 LONG TERM MEMORY
3.1 DURATION: Can be 30 seconds (like STM) or up to
indefinitely (such as your name). Rehearsal can be used
to hold it longer.
3.2 CAPACITY: Is not know but it seems that there is no
upper limit to the amount we store.
3.3 ENCODING: Appears to be largely
SEMANTIC (information is put into LTM in
terms of its meaning). Investigated by
3.3.1 BADDELEY (1966): Aimed to establish and compare the forms of encoding of information. Participants were given short
lists of words to recall (these included words that were ACOUSTICALLY similar and SEMANTICALLY similar). Also control
lists that were dissimilar. Participants were asked to recall lists immediately or later (STM OR LTM). Results showed that
when STM recall, there was confusion between ACOUSTICALLY similar words but not SEMANTICALLY. Opposite result
for LTM. To conclude, confusion supports ideas that encoding in STM is acoustic and in LTM is semantic.