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Example Answers for Memory: A Level Psychology, Paper 1, June 2018 (AQA)


Last updated 13 Aug 2018

Here are a series of suggested answers for the Memory questions in AQA A Level Psychology Paper 1 (June 2018)

Memory: Q4 [2 Marks]

  • Mentally counting backwards from 100: The phonological loop (the articulatory control process).
  • Tracking coloured shapes on a computer screen: Visuo-spatial sketchpad (inner scribe).

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Memory: Q5 [4 Marks]

One way in which this memory experiment could have been improved is by using a more diverse sample. The current sample consists of students and therefore lacks population validity, as it may not apply to a wider non-student population. Therefore, the researcher could have recruited participants from other locations (e.g. places of work) to include a greater range of ages/occupations, to help improve the generalisability of the results.

A second way in which this memory experiment could have been improved is by using a repeated measures design, rather than an independent measures design. The individual differences of the participants in conditions 1 and 2 may bias the results, as some of the participants might have naturally better working memories. By using a repeated measures design (where all of the participants take part in condition 1 and 2), the researcher could eliminate individual differences, thereby increasing the internal validity of the experiment.

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Memory: Q6 [4 Marks]

One strength of the working memory model is that it is supported by research from case studies, for example, the case study of Patient KF who was injured in a motorcycle accident. Following his accident, KF was able to recall stored information from his long-term memory; however, he had issues with his short-term memory. He was able to remember visual images, including faces, but was unable to remember sounds (acoustic information). This suggests that there are at least two components within short-term memory, one component for visual information and one for acoustic information. The research into KF supports the working memory model and the idea of two slave systems, the phonological loop and the visuo-spatial sketchpad, therefore providing support to the working memory model and the idea of a multi-component short-term memory system.

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Memory: Q7 [6 Marks]

The Cognitive Interview includes four key components: Context reinstatement (CR), Report everything (RE), Recall from changed perspective (CP) and Recall in reverse order (RO).

CR is when a person mentally recalls the context of the event. For example, a person might recall the time of day, the weather, who they were with, or even their feelings. These details can then act as a trigger, to help the person recall more information. RE is when a person recalls every detail they can remember, even those that may seem trivial. The idea is that these small details might act as a trigger to help the person recall more important information. CP is when a person considers the event from someone else’s point of view. For example, they might consider what the offender saw. Finally, RO is where a person recalls the events in reverse chronological order.

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Memory: Q8 [4 Marks]

One explanation of forgetting is retrieval failure due to the absence of cues, which can include physical cues (e.g. the room) and psychological cues (e.g. a person’s emotional state).

The encoding specificity principle argues that memory is most effective when information that was present at the time of coding is also present at the time of retrieval. For Aaron, he was sitting his Spanish exam in an ‘unfamiliar room’, rather than the classroom where he had been taught the language meaning that context-dependent failure will have occurred, as he was unable to use the cues in the room to trigger his memory of the language.

Furthermore, Aaron’s emotional state will have also affected his recall. In the exam, Aaron was ‘full of nerves’ which means that he was in a different emotional state to when the learning took place, and so state-dependent forgetting is likely to have occurred.

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Memory: Q9 [4 Marks]

There is research support for the effect of state-dependent retrieval failure, which occurs when an individual’s emotional state at the time of learning is different from their emotional state at the time of recall. For example, Goodwin et al. (1969), asked male volunteers to remember lists of words when they were either drunk or sober. The participants were then asked to recall the words 24 hours later, in either a drunk or sober state. The results show that words learned when drunk were better recalled when drunk, and words learnt when sober were better recalled when sober. These results support the idea of state-dependent forgetting and demonstrate the power of ‘state’ on recalling information.

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