The Levels of Processing Model as an Explanation of Memory

The Levels of Processing Model as an Explanation of Memory

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The Levels of Processing Model as an Explanation of Memory

Craik and Lockhart believe that the memory is one single unit and
cannot be broken down into short-term memory and long-term memory. The
idea is that our ability to remember depends on how deeply we process
and encode information. We process information in three different
depths, from shallow to very deep. The shallowest level of processing
involves the structural pattern of a word or number (what the word or
number looks like). As we recognise a continual pattern of what the
word sounds like, we process it more deeply. It is only when we can
give meaning to the word that we will be at the deepest level of
processing. This kind of processing leaves the most lasting memory
trace.

Craik and Lockhart's research supports the level of processing model
as they showed that words that were processed because of their
meanings were remembered far better than words that were processed
because of the way they look. They believe there are two kinds of
rehearsal - Maintenance rehearsal and Elaborative rehearsal.
Maintenance rehearsal involves the simple repetition of something,
which leads to it being processed to an intermediate level.
Elaborative rehearsal involves thinking about something and working on
it, which leads to deep processing and better recall. This means that
the most important way of remembering is to think about the thing we
want to remember.

The research of Craik and Lockhart changed the direction of memory
research. They showed that the encoding and processing of information
was not just a simple and straightforward process. Craik and Tulving's
research confirmed this theory by finding that elaborative rehearsal
was a better way of encoding and processing information than any
other. This theory has lead to hundreds of experiments, much of which
support the theory that semantic research is the best way to process
information into memory. The model also has practical applications
that work such as suggesting ways to improve our memory.

However, there are more criticisms and limitations than support for

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this model of memory.

Words that require deeper processing also require more effort to
process. It could be the processing that increases remembering
abilities. Deeper processing also takes much more time and it could be
the amount of time that passes which increases recall and not
rehearsal. The model doesn't explain why deeper processing helps
improve memory; it just states that it does. Eysenck argues against
the material that is used to test the shallow processing. He believes
it is not distinctive and that is why it is not remembered as well.

The levels of processing model also makes no distinction between
short-term memory and long-term memory yet most research done has
shown that two separate memory stores do exist.

Bransford et al found distinctiveness of material to be a more
effective memory predictor than depth of processing.

The concepts of depth, elaboration, distinctiveness and rehearsal are
difficult to measure and define and so no research will prove 100%
that any of these help memory.

Atkinson and Shiffrin's multi store model separates the long-term and
the short-term memory stores and most researchers have found there to
be two different memory stores and so is more reliable than Craik and
Lockhart's levels of processing model. However, this model does not
give any insight into memory strategies such as shortened terms people
use to remember things. They also do not offer any other way of
information entering long-term memory other than through short term
memory. Shallice and Warrington used a case of a motorcycle accident
victim to question Atkinson and Shiffrin's multi store model. The
victim's short-term memory was affected and he could only remember two
new things at a time, but yet they still managed to enter his
long-term memory.

Baddeley and Hitch suggested the working memory model where
information had several different ways of being encoded into long-term
memory. This model is more stable than the multi store and levels of
processing model. The only problem with this model is it only offers
views on the short-term memory store and offers no insight into
long-term memory. Yet it does have practical applications, in
particular helping us to understand how children learn to read and
write.

I don't believe the levels of processing memory model is as effective
as Baddeley and Hitch's working memory model, yet it does offer some
information on how we can improve our memory.
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