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The format in which information is stored in the various memory stores



The amount of information that can be held in a memory store



The length of time information can be held in memory


Short Term Memory

The limited capacity memory store. Acoustic coding, Capacity is 7 plus minus 2, Duration is up to 30 seconds


Long Term Memory

The permanent memory store. Semantic coding, unlimited capacity, memories can be stored for up to a lifetime


Multi-Store-Model (MSM)

A representation of how memory works in terms of three stores called sensory register, short-term memory and long-term memory. It also describes how information is transferred from one store to another, how it is remembered and how it is forgotten


Sensory Register

The memory store for each of out 5 senses such as vision (iconic store) and hearing (echoic store). Coding in the iconic store is visual and on the echoic store it is acoustic. The capacity of sensory registers is huge (millions) and information lasts for a very short time (less than half a second)


Episodic Memory

A long-term memory store for personal events. It includes memories of when the events occurred and of the people, objects, places and behaviours involved. Memories from this store have to be retrieved consciously and with effort


Semantic Memory

A long-term memory store for our knowledge of the world. This includes facts and our knowledge of what words and concepts mean. These memories usually need to be recalled deliberately


Procedural Memory

A long-term memory store for our knowledge of how to do things. This includes our memories of learned skills. We usually recall these memories without making a conscious or deliberate effort


Working-Memory Model (WMM)

A representation of short-term memory. It suggest that STM is a dynamic processor of different types of information using sub-units coordinated by a central decision making system


Central Executive

The component of the WMM that co-ordinates the activities is the three subsystems in memory. It also allocates processing resources to those activities


Phonological Loop

The component of the WMM that processes information in terms of sound. This includes both written and spoken material. It's divided into the phonological store and the articulatory process


Phonological Store

Part of the PL which stores the information that you hear


Articulatory Process

Part of the PL which allows maintenance rehearsal to occur


Visuo-Spatial Sketchpad

The component of the WMM that processes visual and spatial information in a mental space often called our "inner eye"


Episodic Buffer

The component of the WMM that brings together material from the other subsystems info a single memory rather that separate strands. It also provides a bridge between working memory and long term memory



Forgetting because one memory blocks another, causing one or both memories to be distorted or forgotten


Proactive Interference

Forgetting occurs when older memories, already stored, disrupt the recall of newer memories. The degree of forgetting is greater when the memories are similar


Retroactive Interference

Forgetting occurs when newer memories disrupt the recall of already stored older memories. The degree of forgetting is greater when the memories are similar


Retrieval Failure

A form of forgetting. It occurs when we don't have the necessary cues to access memory. The memory is available but not accessible unless a suitable cue is provided



A "trigger" of information that allows us to access a memory. Such cues may be meaningful or may be indirectly linked by being encoded at the time of learning


Eyewitness Testimony

The ability of people to remember the details of events, such as accidents and crimes, which they observe themselves. Accuracy of EWT can be affected by anxiety, leading questions and misleading information


Misleading Information

Incorrect information given to the eyewitness after the event. It can take many forms, such as leading questions and post event discussion between co-witnesses and/or other people


Leading Question

A question which, because of the way it is phrased, suggests a certain answer


Post-Event Discussion

PED occurs when there is more than one witness to an event. Witnesses may discuss what they have seen with other co-witnesses or with other people. This may influence the accuracy of each witness's recall of the event



A state of emotional and physical arousal. The emotions includes worried thoughts and feelings of tension. Physical changes include an increased heart rate. Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations, but can affect the accuracy and detail of EWT


Cognitive Interview

A method of interviewing eyewitnesses to help themretrieve more accurate memories. It uses four main techniques, all based on well established knowledge of human memory.