PAST PAPERS: MEMORY: AQA A-LEVEL PSYCHOLOGY RESOURCES
PSYCHOLOGY AQA A LEVEL UNIT 1: 7182/1
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MODELS OF MEMORY; SHORT-TERM MEMORY AND LONG-TERM MEMORY
- The multi-store model of memory: sensory register, short-term memory and long-term memory. Features of each store: coding, capacity and duration
- Types of long-term memory: episodic, semantic, procedural
- The working memory model: central executive, phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and episodic buffer. Features of the model: coding and capacity
- Explanations for forgetting: proactive and retroactive interference and retrieval failure due to absence of cues
- Factors affecting the accuracy of eyewitness testimony: misleading information, including leading questions, post-event discussion, and anxiety
- Improving the accuracy of eyewitness testimony, including the use of the cognitive interview
SPECIMEN PAPER 1 (AQA A-level Psychology notes)
Read the item and then answer the questions that follow.
An experiment was carried out to test the effects of learning similar and dissimilar information on participants’ ability to remember.
In Stage 1 of the experiment, 10 participants in Group A, the ‘similar’ condition, were given a list of 20 place names in the UK. They were given two minutes to learn the list. 10 different participants in Group B, the ‘dissimilar’ condition, were given the same list of 20 place names in the UK. They were also given two minutes to learn the list.
In Stage 2 of the experiment, participants in Group A were given a different list of 20 more place names in the UK, and were given a further two minutes to learn it. Participants in Group B were given a list of 20 boys’ names, and were given a further two minutes to learn it.
In Stage 3 of the experiment, all participants were given five minutes to recall as many of the 20 place names in the UK, from the list in Stage 1, as they could. The raw data from the two groups is below.
Table 1: Number of place names recalled from the list in Stage 1
What is the most appropriate measure of central tendency for calculating the average of the scores, from Table 1, in each of the two groups? Justify your answer.
Calculate the measure of central tendency you have identified in your answer to question 04.1 for Group A and Group B. Show your calculations for each group.
In Stage 3 of the experiment, several participants in Group A, the ‘similar’ condition, recalled words from the Stage 2 list rather than the Stage 1 list.
Use your knowledge of forgetting to explain why this may have occurred.
Describe and evaluate the working memory model of memory.
SPECIMEN PAPER 2 (A-level Psychology revision notes)
Complete the missing parts of the table, A, B, C and D, in relation to features of the multi-store model of memory.
Bryan has been driving for five years. Whilst driving, Bryan can hold conversations or listen to music with little difficulty.
Bob has had four driving lessons. Driving requires so much of Bob’s concentration that, during lessons, he often misses what his driving instructor is telling him.
With reference to features of the working memory model, explain the different experiences of Bryan and Bob.
A woman is being questioned by a police officer about a heated argument she witnessed on an evening out with friends. The argument took place in a bar and ended with a violent assault. A knife was discovered later by police in the car park of the bar.
‘Did you see the knife the attacker was holding?’, asked the police officer.
‘I’m not sure there was a knife – yes, there probably was,’ replied the woman. ‘I was so scared at the time that it’s hard to remember, and my friends and I have talked about what happened so many times since that I’m almost not sure what I did see.’
Discuss research into two or more factors that affect the reliability of eyewitness testimony. Refer to the information above in your answer.
SPECIMEN PAPER 3 (AQA A-level Psychology revision notes)
Psychologists conducted a case study of Patient X, an individual who developed severe amnesia following a car accident. Patient X has difficulty storing new long-term memories, though his short-term memory and his memory for events that happened before the accident are unaffected.
Evaluate the use of case studies, like that of Patient X, in psychological research.
Briefly explain how the experiences of Patient X could be interpreted as supporting the multi-store model of memory.
The same psychologists conducted an experiment with Patient X where he was given the task of tracking a rotating disc every day for a week. It was found that Patient X’s performance on the task improved with practice, though he had no recollection of ever having done the task, and could not remember the names of the psychologists who conducted the experiment.
With reference to the experiment involving Patient X, outline two types of long-term memory.
Discuss two differences between the types of long-term memory you have outlined in your answer to question 06. [4 marks]
Outline retrieval failure as an explanation for forgetting.
Explain how the cognitive interview is used to improve the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.
2017 (How to revise for A-level Psychology)
Two types of long-term memory are procedural memory and episodic memory.
Explain two differences between procedural memory and episodic memory.
In an investigation into memory, participants were presented with two different lists of words.
After seeing the lists, participants were tested on their ability to recall the words.
When tested immediately, participants found it more difficult to recall the words from List A in the correct order.
When tested after 30 minutes, participants found it more difficult to recall the words from List B in the correct order.
Using your knowledge of coding in memory, explain these findings.
Outline and evaluate research (theories and/or studies) into the effects of misleading information on eyewitness testimony.
2018 (Psychology A-level revision)
A researcher investigated the working memory model using a laboratory experiment. Forty students from a local college volunteered to take part.
In Condition A, 20 students performed the following two tasks at the same time:
- mentally counting backwards from 100
- tracking coloured shapes on a computer screen.
In Condition B, 20 different students performed the following two tasks at the same time:
- mentally counting backwards from 100
- reading a poem out loud.
The researcher predicted that the performance of students in Condition A would be better than the performance of students in Condition B.
Name the two components of working memory that would be involved in the performance of the tasks in Condition A.
Mentally counting backwards from 100
Tracking coloured shapes on a computer screen
Briefly explain two ways in which the working memory experiment described above could be improved.
Discuss one strength of the working memory model.
Describe the cognitive interview.
Aaron was upset as he left the Spanish exam. In the unfamiliar room and full of nerves, his mind had gone completely blank. He was regretting studying both French and Spanish because he was sure he had mixed up lots of the words.
Outline one explanation of forgetting. How might this explanation account for Aaron’s poor performance in the Spanish exam?
Briefly evaluate the explanation of forgetting you have outlined in your answer to the question above.
2019 (A-level Psychology revision)
Which two of A, B, C, D and E are associated with the cognitive interview technique?
Shade two boxes only.
A Alter the perspective
B Change the speaker
C Match the direction
D Remove the context
E Reverse the order
Evaluate the cognitive interview as a way of improving the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.
Most PIN codes are 4 digits long and are easy to remember. In contrast, mobile phone numbers are 11 digits long. Most people would not be able to remember a friend’s new mobile phone number unless they were able to say it to themselves several times without interruption.
Discuss the multi-store model of memory. Refer to the information above in your answer.
2020 (AQA A-level Psychology revision)
Which type of long-term memory would be most associated with the following?
Write the correct type of long-term memory in the spaces provided.
Stored with reference to contextual information, e.g. time and place [1 mark]
Difficult to describe in words [1 mark]
Knowing the meaning of a word [1 mark]
A researcher investigated retrieval failure using an independent groups design.
In Condition A, 10 participants learnt 30 words and recalled them in the same room.
In Condition B, another 10 participants learnt the same 30 words in one room and recalled them in a different room.
The results for Condition B are shown below.
The researcher decided to use the mean to analyse the results.
State one advantage of an independent groups design.
Suggest a more appropriate measure of central tendency for this data set and explain why it would be more appropriate.
Another explanation for forgetting is interference.
Using an example, explain what is meant by retroactive interference.
Danielle was walking down the high street when she witnessed a crime. A young man attacked an elderly woman. After a struggle, the man ran away with the woman’s handbag. Danielle and another couple of witnesses stayed with the woman until the police arrived.
Explain how the police could use the cognitive interview to help Danielle’s recall of the event.
Outline and evaluate research into duration in memory.
2021 (AQA A-level Psychology revision guide)
Apart from the central executive, name and briefly outline two other components of the working memory model.
Evaluate the central executive as part of the working memory model.
Natasha had studied a lot for her A-level Drama performance, mostly practising lines from a play alone in her room. However, once on stage in front of her teacher and the examiners, Natasha struggled to remember her lines. Instead, she kept quoting lines from a different play she had once learnt for GCSE.
Discuss retrieval failure and interference as explanations for forgetting. Refer to Natasha’s drama performance in your answer.
2022 (A-level Psychology resources)
Briefly outline one way in which researchers have investigated the capacity of short-term memory.
Briefly outline one way in which researchers have investigated the duration of short-term memory.
A student showed participants a film of a car accident. After watching the film, each participant was asked to write down what they had seen. The student was surprised to see that the descriptions of the accident were quite different.
The student’s psychology teacher suggested that the participants’ recall might be improved by using cognitive interview techniques.
Suggest two cognitive interview techniques that could be used to improve participants’ recall of the film.
Rory is talking with his grandparent and playing a game on his phone at the same time. The game involves matching blocks of the same colour to complete vertical and horizontal lines. It is only when his grandparent asks him to describe his route to school that Rory puts down his game so he can concentrate fully on his answer.
Discuss the working memory model. Refer to Rory’s behaviour in your answer.