Up Learn – A Level Psychology (AQA) – Memory
What is the Working Memory Model?
There are two main features of the working memory model… Firstly, the working memory model sees short-term memory as an active store that holds information while it’s being ‘worked on’ and also enables us to manipulate the information. Secondly, the working memory model says that there are multiple components to working memory.
More videos on The Working Memory Model
Last time, we saw three limitations of the multi-store model…
Last time, we saw three limitations of the multi-store model, which were:
First, the model isn’t supported by findings from case studies. The model predicts that damage to the short-term memory store will lead to problems with long-term memory… but case studies show that people can have damage to the short-term memory store without damage to long term memory.
Second, the model is oversimplified; it says that there is only one type of short-term memory… but again, patients show that this isn’t true!
And finally, the model puts too much emphasis on the role of rehearsal in the transfer of information to long-term memory… when there are other ways that information can be transferred to long-term memory.
Patients like KF challenged the multi-store model of memory…
…So, to explain what happened in cases like KF’s accident, psychologists needed a new and improved memory model!
In 1974, researchers called Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch rose to the challenge and came up with the working memory model, which is still accepted to this day as the best model of how memory works!
So, what does the working memory model say?
Rather than totally replacing the multi-store model, you can think of the working memory model as an extension of the multi-store model, that explains the short-term memory store in more detail…
There are two main new features of Baddeley and Hitch’s improved short-term memory store…
First, in Atkinson and Shiffrin’s multi-store memory model, they saw short-term memory as being a passive store that just holds information temporarily until it is transferred into long-term memory.
But Baddeley and Hitch didn’t agree with this.
For instance, if you’re having a conversation with someone and you need to hold in mind what someone is saying to you…
You’re not just passively holding that information in mind.
You have to actively interpret what’s being said and use it to select an appropriate reply…
So Baddeley and Hitch said that short term memory isn’t just a passive store; it’s an active store that enables us to manipulate pieces of information.
And so, to emphasise the active nature of short-term memory, Baddeley and Hitch called their short-term memory store the working memory store.
So the first main feature of the working memory model sees short-term memory as an active store.
The second main feature of the working memory model is that it is a multi-store model.
We’ve seen that Atkinson and Shiffrin’s multi-store model said…
We’ve seen that Atkinson and Shiffrin’s multi-store model said that there was only one short-term memory store.
But evidence from patients like KF suggested that this is not the case, as KF struggled to keep verbal information like word lists in short-term memory, but he could manage to retain visual information in short-term memory…
So, the second main feature of Baddeley and Hitch’s model was that there are multiple different components to working memory, that all store different types of memory, and that could all be separately impaired.
These multiple short-term memory stores explain why patients like KF can have impaired short-term memory without having long-term memory damage:
If only one of the working memory stores is damaged, information can still be held in one of the other working memory stores… meaning that it can then still be transferred into long-term memory!
Baddeley and Hitch suggested that there were four different components to working memory…
We’ll look at the different components of the working memory model next.
But first, to sum up…
So, to sum it up, there are two main features of the working memory model…
Firstly, the working memory model sees short-term memory as an active store that holds information while it’s being ‘worked on’ and also enables us to manipulate the information.
Secondly, the working memory model says that there are multiple components to working memory.