Chapter Summary

• Structure of memory. According to the multi-store theory, there are separate sensory, short-term, and long-term stores. There is strong evidence to support the notion of various qualitatively different memory stores, but this approach provides a very oversimplified view. For example, multi-store theorists assumed there are unitary short-term and long-term stores, but the reality is more complex.

• Working memory. Baddeley replaced the unitary short-term store with a working memory system consisting of three components: an attention-like central executive; a phonological loop holding speech-based information; and a visuo-spatial sketchpad specialised for spatial and visual coding. This working memory system is of relevance to non-memory activities such as comprehension and verbal reasoning. It is becoming less clear that the central executive and visuo-spatial sketchpad can be regarded as unitary systems.

• Memory processes. Craik and Lockhart (1972) focused on learning processes in their levels-of-processing theory. They (and their followers) identified depth of processing (i.e., extent to which meaning is processed), elaboration of processing, and distinctiveness of processing as key determinants of long-term memory. Insufficient attention was paid to the relationship between the processes at learning and those at the time of test. Other problems are that the theory is not explanatory, that it is hard to assess the depth of processing, and that shallow processing can lead to very good long-term memory.

• Theories of forgetting. Some theorists have argued that forgetting occurs because of the spontaneous decay of memory traces over time. However, there is very little direct support for this theory. Fraud argued for the importance of repression, in which threatening material in long-term memory cannot gain access to consciousness. There is evidence of a repression-like phenomenon in the laboratory, and some adults who suffered childhood abuse seem to recover repressed memories. Strong effects of proactive and retroactive interference have been shown in the laboratory, but it is not clear that the conditions required to show large interference effects occur often in everyday life. Most forgetting is probably cue-dependent, and the cues can be either external or internal (e.g., in mood-state-dependent memory). The cue-dependent approach has been extended to explain forgetting over time in the context-change theory.

• Theories of racall and recognition. Several theories of retrieval have considered recall and recognition. There has been much controversy as to whether the processes involved in recall and recognition are basically similar. Two-process theorists focused on differences between these two kinds of memory tests, whereas Tulving with his encoding specificity principle argued that the informational overlap between retrieval environment and memory is crucial for both recall and recognition. Recall sometimes occurs in a direct fashion, whereas at other times it occurs in an indirect fashion resembling problem solving. In similar fashion, recognition sometimes occurs mainly on the basis of familiarity, and sometimes it involves conscious recollection. There is 110 simple relationship between recall and racognition.

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