AQA and the multi-store model

In the January 2011 Unit 1 exam there was a question related to the multistore model (question 4). I was somewhat concerned to find the following comment in the report on the exam

‘A number of answers suggested that the concepts of maintenance and elaborative rehearsal were part of the MSM. Maintenance and elaborative rehearsal were introduced by Craik and Lockhart (1972) as a way of criticising the MSM which had simply relied on ‘rehearsal’ as a means of transferring information to LTM.’

In our Complete Companions we have included elaborative rehearsal in the model because the model was updated in subsequent years. See for example here, I quote from page 3:

What probably confused many people was that Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) presented in their original paper a model that focused on rehearsal but that did assume some storage in LTS as a function of the length of the rehearsal period. As a result, rehearsal came to be viewed as the mechanism for transfer of information from STS to LTS. In later analyses (Shiffrin, 1975), this aspect was clarified by replacing the terms “rehearsal” and “coding” with “maintenance rehearsal” and “elaborative rehearsal”, respectively. Maintenance rehearsal has the primary function of keeping the information in a readily accessible state while elaborative rehearsal has the primary function of storing information in LTS. Hence, according to the two-store model, it is not the amount of rehearsal per se that determines recall, but rather the amount of elaborative rehearsal.

People often seem to forget that academics do respond to criticisms and make changes to their theories/models. This fluidity of theoretical models should not be penalised in exams.




One thought on “AQA and the multi-store model

  1. I have had a full and thoughtful response from AQA – but the upshot is that they will take my points into account. In future questions on the multi-store model the MS will include the following:-
    “Candidates may describe the original (1968) version of the model or include later additions such as maintenance rehearsal and elaborative rehearsal.”

    They point out that the MS for June 2011 relating to a question on working memory included the following: “Candidates may describe the original 1974 version of the model or include later additions such as the episodic buffer.”

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