Saturday, January 28, 2012






The influential three stage of theory of memory (Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968) assumes that we humans have a three stage memory store that meets our need to store information for different lengths of time.



Some information needs to be stored in memory for only brief periods of time, whereas other information must be tucked away permanently. For example, when we look at a cookbook to see how much wine to add to the chicken cacciatore, we need to remember that bit of information for only a few seconds. However, you must remember you social security number or your sister’s name for your entire lifetime.



Sensory Register


The first stage in memory – the sensory register- is a very brief one, designed to hold an exact image of each sensory experience until it can be fully processed. For visual information, this snapshot fades very quickly, probably lasting about one-quarter of a second in most cases. For auditory information, a vivid image of what we heard is retained for about the same length of time, one quarter of a second (Cowan, 1987), but a weaker, “echo” is retained for up to 4 seconds.



Short-term Memory


When a bit of information is selected for further processing, it’s transferred into short-term memory, or STM. It’s not necessary to intentionally transfer information to STM; generally, just paying attention to the information is enough to transfer it. Once information has been transferred to short-term memory, a variety of control processes may be applied. Rehearsal and chunking are two important examples of these control processes.


Rehearsals in Short-Term Memory: (Overcoming STM’s Limited Life Span)


In general, information is lost from STM in less than half a minute unless it’s renewed and it is often lost in only a few seconds.

Fortunately, information can be renewed in STM by mental repetition, or rehearsal of the information.


Humans have a preference for transforming information into sounds, or acoustic codes.


Long-term Memory


We retrieve information from LTM using cues. Information is primarily stored in LTM in terms of its meaning, or semantic codes.


Information stored in LTM is not just durable but actually appears to be permanent. If memories in LTM are indeed permanent, this means that forgetting occurs in LTM not because the memory is erased but because we are unable to retrieve it for some reason.


Web References



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