Book T of C
Chap T of C
Like all influential models and theories, the Atkinson-Shiffrin model attracted many criticisms. Here are some of them.
What were objections to the Atkinson-Shiffrin model?
1. The sensory stores are sensory systems, not memory systems as most people think of the term "memory."
2. The three-box model suggests that there is nothing in between short-term and long-term memory. However, evidence shows that information can reside somewhere between the extremes of active attention and long-term storage. Memories can be "warmed up" but outside of attention. In other words, intermediate levels of activation are possible.
3. The three-box model implies that there is just one short-term system and just one long-term system. In reality, there are many memory systems operating in parallel (for example, different systems for vision, language, and odor memory). Each has short-term and long-term operations.
4) The Atkinson-Shiffrin model does not give enough emphasis to unconscious processes. Unconscious activation is shown with a tentative, dotted arrow. Modern researchers find that unconscious and implicit forms of memory are more common than consciously directed memory processes.
In short, the old Atkinson & Shiffrin has its limitations. However, it is still a useful scheme, in part because every researcher is familiar with it and uses it as a foil (a sort of negative reference point) for proposing new ways of looking at memory.
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Copyright © 2007 Russ Dewey