The Modal Model of Episodic Memory

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The modal model is comprised of three main components namely short-term memory, sensory register, and long-term memory. Short-term memory ability is a kind of scratch pad for short term remembrance of information that has been processed in the brain. The brain retains certain information in an active and accessible state for a short time. The sensory register is immediate for the memory that is stored in the brain. It may be defined as the ultra-short-term memory that registers sensory information through the five common senses (smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight). Long-term memory is the last stage of the dual memory model. It is proposed in the famous Atkinson-Shiffrin memory model in which information can be retained for indefinite periods of time. Episodic memory is a matter of retrieving the record of a previous experience that is stored in ones mind.

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Short-term memory is the active capacity for retaining but not processing small amounts of information that are readily available for short periods. For instance; composing this essay, the brain retains certain pieces of information to complete this task and will dismiss the information as soon as the task is completed. However, the information can be stored in the brain if one makes an effort to remember hence it is transferred to the long-term memory. This transfer of information can be enhanced by mental repetition of a particular piece of information and associating it with the previously acquired knowledge. Personal motivation can be significant in that the obtained information can be related to a keen interest and is most likely to be retained for an unlimited period. The central executive part of the brain that is located in the prefrontal cortex is significant in both the short-term and working memory. However, the prefrontal cortex works hand in hand with the other parts of the cortex to extract information for brief times. It is an essential element of the brain, and any damage to it may cause a deficit to short-term memories.

The Baddeleys working memory model is also composed of three components namely the central executive, the phonological loop, and the visuo spatial sketchpad. The central executive part of the brain acts as a supervisory system and manipulates the flow of information to and from its slave brain systems (phonological loop and the visuo spatial sketchpad). Both the slave systems perform as the centers for short-term storage of information. The central executive is responsible for the regulation of cognitive processes such as the binding of information into coherent episodes, shifting between retrieval strategies and tasks, selective attention and inhibition of information, and coordinating both the phonological loop and the visuo spatial sketchpad. This enables it to intervene when the cognitive processes of the brain go astray.

The phonological loop mainly stores the verbal content that is acquired through the listening of verbal information. It mainly consists of a short-term phonological store and an articulatory rehearsal component. Verbal information is automatically processed into phonological codes immediately it enters the phonological store. This process is enhanced by silent articulation hence the facilitation of encoded information. The phonological loop uses the store to remember verbal information in the temporal order through the looping process. For instance; in early childhood education, the phonological loop helps the young learners to remember what they are taught. The visuo spatial sketchpad stores all the visio spatial data. The sketchpad works simultaneously with the phonological loop for the manipulation of both the auditory and visual stimuli. A brain has a single storage for immediate information processing and can only retain a maximum of seven pieces of information. Failure to encode any of the seven pieces of information may result in a permanent loss of information.

An experiment was conducted to determine memory of a traffic accident, and it involved two cars and three witnesses. The three witnesses were required to give accounts on what had transpired before the collision and were asked questions regarding the crash. The estimated speed at which the cars were moving was altered by the witnesses' choice of words. This was due to the different questions asked during their accounts. When a response is altered, it automatically results in biased information thus misleading people from the actual information. Also; when the memory is changed, it changes an individual's perception concerning an important event.

Both Loftus and Palmer have been concerned with how subsequent information can affect eye witnesss account on a particular accident event. Often, the majority of eye witnesses give misleading information when they fail to incorporate both visual and wording of questions concerning their testimonies. These results strongly support the reconstructive views of memory as frequently the eye witnesses help to give clear descriptions of the events that led to the occurrence of an accident. It is possible for a person to misremember a crucial event. An individual may give an account concerning an important event and fail to remember the same information while giving a similar account on the same. This is because we tend to give the second account based on our first account and not from the original event.

Episodic memory is the construction of a mental replay of a previous experience from a reconstructive view. This is mainly caused by traumatic and emotional events hence people are overwhelmed by their emotions thus forgetting some crucial parts of the information. From the experiment, it is clear that the witness perceptions may be biased by the questions they are asked while giving their accounts to a particular event.

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