Getting the multi-store model right

In the new edition of The Complete Companion (which is now on sale if you haven’t had your copy!) we have presented an updated diagram of the multi-store model which may confuse some people because it is different to the one given in some books – for a reason. The model was first proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968, consisting of only two stores – short- and long-term memory. The third store – sensory memory – was added later. This early model is often shown with information being lost through forgetting (as shown below).


In 1971 Atkinson and Shiffrin produced a slightly different diagram, indicating how information is retrieved from memory – via the short term store, as shown below. No mention was made of forgetting.


Work by Craik and Lockhart on the levels of processing (e.g. 1972) led to a refinement of the concept of ‘rehearsal’. Craik and Lockhart distinguished between simple maintenance rehearsal and more complex or ‘deep’, elaborative rehearsal which may be necessary for enduring long-term memories. This more recent formulation is given in The Complete Companion as shown below.

page 8 - The multi-store model