What is Atkinson & Shiffrin's multistore memory?

1 Answer
Oct 7, 2016

Here's what I've got. Been quite awhile since I've studied this, yet I hope this can be of some help.


The Atkinson-Shiffrin model (Also known as the multi-store model) is a model of memory proposed by Richard Atkinson and Richard Shiffrin (1968) The model asserts that human memory has three separate components.

  1. A Sensory register Where sensory information enters memory.

  2. A short term store (Also known as working memory or short-term memory) which receives and holds input from the sensory register and the long-term store.

  3. A long term store Which is where information which has been stored and transferred to the short-term store where it can be manipulated or attended to.

In Sensory Register there are two main types of memories here. Iconic memory which is associated with the visual system, and has been researched the most out of the sensory registers. Yet this memory is only limited to the field of vision. Thus as long as a stimulus has entered the field of vision there is no limit of the amount of visual information iconic memory can hold at one time. Something of note here is sensory registers do not allow for further processing of information, thus iconic memory only holds information such as shape, size, colour and location.

And the second main type in Sensory Register is Echoic memory Which refers to information that is gained by the auditory system. As with Iconic, echoic memory only holds superficial aspects of sound, namely pitch, tempo, and rhythm. It is generally cited as normally having a duration of between 1.5-5 seconds dependent on context. Yet in some cases it has been shown to last up to 20 seconds with the absence of competing information.

Just like with Sensory Register, there are also only two main types of memories within the Short term store Those being Duration and Capacity

Duration As with sensory memory the information that enters short term memory decays and is normally lose, yet the information here has a longer duration, roughly 18-20 seconds, yet depending on the modality this could be as long as 30 seconds.