There are several models of memory. Atkinson and Shiffrin memory model suggests a distinction between a Short-Term Store (STS) and a Long-Term Store (LTS) of information (Raaijmakers & Shiffrin, 2002). However, it has been criticized for being too simplistic and assuming that the only possible way to store information in long-term memory is rehearsal.
The SAM theory holds that during storage, information is appears in ‘memory images’, which encompass item, associative and contextual information. The amount and type of information stored is defined by coding processes in elaborative rehearsal. The REM (Retrieving Effectively from Memory) model views memory as an optimal decision making system. Associative network models assume that memory functions due to spreading of activation over a network of interconnected nodes (Raaijmakers & Shiffrin, 2002).
Working memory model suggests that memory encompasses the central executive (an attentional control system) and two subsidiary slave systems, namely the visuo-spatial sketchpad (responsible for holding and processing spatial data) and the phonological loop (responsible for manipulating auditory and speech data) (Baddeley, 1998).
There are several concepts the term ‘memory’ encompasses. An example is category knowledge which is acquired by cumulating knowledge from different examples and being able to place these examples in appropriate categories (Knowlton & Squire, 1993). Category knowledge has been also reported to be enhanced by encounters with atypical objects and in case when object recognition is self-directed (Bjorklund, 1988). The process of finding a pattern for organizing knowledge is referred to as elaboration. It is believed to be one of the alternatives to rehearsal as a way of storing information in long-term memory, together with organization, distinctiveness, and effort.
Baddeley, A. (1998). Working Memory. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences – Series III – Sciences de la Vie, 321(2-3), pp. 167-173.
Bjorklund, D.F. (1988). Acquiring a Mnemonic: Age and Category Knowledge Effects. Journal of experimental child psychology, 45, pp. 71-87.
Knowlton, B.J., ; Squire, L.R. (1993). The Learning of Categories: Parallel Brain Systems for Item Memory and Category Knowledge. Science, 262, pp. 1747-1749.
Raaijmakers, J.G.W., ; Shiffrin, R.M. (2002). ‘Models of Memory.’ In H. Pashler ; D. Medin (Eds.), Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental Psychology, Third Edition, Volume 2: Memory and Cognitive Processes (pp. 43-76). New York: Wiley.