Up Learn – A Level Psychology (AQA) – Memory
Evaluating the Working Memory Model
Whether you are evaluating a theory or model in memory, you can score evaluation points by evaluating the method of supporting studies… Laboratory studies have high control but low ecological validity. Case studies have higher ecological validity but low generalisability. Brain imaging studies are correlational.
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In memory, there is a huge emphasis on theories and models, such as the working memory model and the multi-store model.
When you’re asked to evaluate a theory, or some research studies, you can gain some easy evaluation marks by referring to the relationship between theories and research.
For instance, when you are evaluating a theory, you can refer to memory studies that support it.
Or, if you’re evaluating research studies, you can explain how they have informed theories and models of memory.
Now, whether you are asked to evaluate a theory or a model, you can also gain some easy evaluation marks by evaluating the method of supporting studies.
Studies of memory are divided into 3 main types:
First, there are laboratory studies and these have high control but low ecological validity.
There are also case studies, which have higher ecological validity but may not generalise to the larger population.
Finally, there are brain imaging studies and these are correlational. They show us which parts of the brain are active during a particular task. However, we can’t be sure that this is brain activity is what causes our behaviour in the task!
Even if the question asks you to evaluate a model or theory, you can use these evaluation points in your answer.
To do this, you would need to state that the research supporting this theory or model consists of a certain type of study, and then give an example of one.
You would then need to demonstrate why this is important by explaining what effect this has on the theory.
For example, laboratory experiments have low ecological validity. This weakens support for the theory because it suggests that it might only explain how memory works in artificial settings instead of everyday life.
Now, it’s your turn!
Try writing an evaluation paragraph about brain imaging studies being correlational.
We have started our paragraph by clearly stating the limitation.
Then, we have explained the limitation, using an example. We have also included language from features of science – “cause and effect”.
Finally, we have explained why this is a problem; it means that brain imaging studies are limited in what they can tell us!
So, to sum up…
Whether you are evaluating a theory or model in memory, you can score evaluation points by evaluating the method of supporting studies…
Laboratory studies have high control but low ecological validity.
Case studies have higher ecological validity but low generalisability.
Brain imaging studies are correlational.