Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin proposed a model in the 1960s to explain how an environmental stimulus can be moved into long-term memory. The model has two key features. First, that memory is stored in three unitary stores: the sensory registers, short-term memory and long-term memory. Second, that the processing of memory is dependent on both attention and rehearsal (see Figure 1).
Sixty years later, the multi-store model is still being taught to psychology students, even though it is generally accepted that the model is overly simplistic and, although supported by laboratory research, it may not reflect how memories are created under uncontrolled conditions. One has to question why students should still learn a model which no longer appears relevant.
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