The Information Processing Model of Memory:
The diagram below shows an overview of the Information Processing Model of Memory (often known as the "three-box model of memory" because it depicts memory as made up of three box-like levels.
It is important to understand that in order for you to learn information, the information must first be processed through sensory memory, which receives information that you read or hear. Then it has to make it through your short term (or working) memory. In order for you to remember information for more than 30 seconds, it must be moved all the way to long term memory for storage. However, when you actually want to think about or use that information, it must be brought back to the middle level of memory, working (or short term) memory. Concious thought is roughly equivalent to working memory, and we think, speak, solve problems, and answer questions using the resources of working memory. In order to have a good memory, then, we must have efficient processes and strategies for moving information from sensory memory all the way to long term memory for storage. Then we must also have a way to find that information in long term memory and bring it back to working memory when we need to use the information.
In subsequent pages, we will go through the important characteristics of each level of memory.
I suggest that you print out this page and keep it for reference.
This page was last revised on 09/09/2008.