Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) developed the Multi-Store Model of memory (MSM), which describes flow between three permanent storage systems of memory: the sensory register (SR), short-term memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM).
The SR is where information from the senses is stored, but only for a duration of approximately half a second before it is forgotten. It is modality-specific, i.e. whichever sense is registered will match the way it is consequently held (for instance, a taste held as a taste).
However, if attended to, sensory information moves into the STM for temporary storage, which will be encoded visually (as an image), acoustically (as a sound) or, less often, semantically (through its meaning). STM is thought to have a capacity of 5-9 items and duration of approximately 30 seconds. This capacity can be increased through ‘chunking’ (converting a string of items into a number of larger ‘chunks’, e.g. number 343565787 to 343 565 787).
Rehearsing information via the rehearsal loop helps to retain information in the STM, and consolidate it to LTM, which is predominantly encoded semantically. Information can be stored and retrieved for up to any duration, and equally has a seemingly unlimited capacity.
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