Exam-style Questions: Human Memory

  1. Outline one difference between short-term and long-term memory.

    (Marks available: 3)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 1

    You have probably chosen to write about differences in either encoding, capacity or duration. Any one of these would credit you with marks. The more accurate and detailed your answer, the more marks you got.

    The following table gives you an example:

    3 marks Short-term memory has a duration of about 15 to 30 seconds, as shown by the Brown-Peterson technique. Long-term memory has an indefinite duration (for example, lifetime).
    2 marks Short-term memory has a brief duration, whereas long-term memory can last forever.
    1 marks Short-term memory is shorter than long-term memory.

    (Marks available: 3)

  2. Describe one research study into the nature of forgetting in long-term memory.

    (Marks available: 6)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 2

    You could have written about any one piece of research into forgetting in long-term memory; either research into retrieval-failure or interference, for example. This research includes tip-of-the-tongue experiments and proactive and retroactive inhibition - just make sure it relates to long-term memory!

    The following table gives you a mark scheme:

    5-6 marks Detailed description of aim, method, results, conclusions and implications of study.
    3-4 marks Description of study lacks detail and/or some aspects of study are omitted.
    1-2 marks Simple or anecdotal description of forgetting in long-term memory.

    (Marks available: 6)

  3. To what extent has memory research improved the accuracy of eyewitness testimony?

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 3

    For the best marks, you must refer to actual research studies (for example, reconstructive memory and the work of Loftus) and weigh up their strengths and limitations. You could also include the applications of this research (for example, police interview techniques).

    The following table gives a break down of the marks:

    11-12 marks You have identified a range of research studies and explained how they have been applied to improve the testimony of eyewitnesses. You have thoroughly discussed the value of these studies and pointed out their strengths and weaknesses. It is important to have expressed ideas and arguments clearly.
    9-10 marks You have used relevant research studies and have shown a very good grasp of how they are applied to improve eyewitness testimony. Your essay is very well organised.
    7-8 marks You have used relevant research studies and carried out a good analysis to explain how eyewitness testimony can be improved. A few details have been omitted. Your essay is well organised.
    5-6 marks You have been limited in your use of research studies to explain how eyewitness testimony can be improved. Your essay is reasonably well organised.
    3-4 marks You have mentioned how to improve eyewitness testimony but have been vague about the research studies and theories.
    1-2 marks You have not addressed the issues in the question. Your answer is confused and barely mentions the accuracy of eyewitness testimony.

    (Marks available: 12)

  4. To what extent does psychological research show that obedience is the product of situational factors rather than personality traits?

    (Marks available: 12)

    Answer

    Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 4

    For the best marks, you must refer to actual research studies (for example, reconstructive memory and the work of Loftus) and weigh up their strengths and limitations. You could also include the applications of this research (for example, police interview techniques).

    The following table gives a break down of the marks:

    11-12 marks You have identified a range of research studies and explained how they show that obedience is the product of situational factors rather than personality traits. You have thoroughly discussed the value of these studies and pointed out their strengths and weaknesses in relation to demonstrating situational or personality factors. It is important to have expressed ideas and arguments clearly.
    9-10 marks You have used relevant research studies and have shown a very good grasp of how they show that obedience is the product of situational factors rather than personality traits. Your essay is very well organised.
    7-8 marks You have used relevant research studies and carried out a good analysis to explain what obedience studies have shown. A few details have been omitted. Your essay is well organised.
    5-6 marks You have been limited in your use of research studies to explain what obedience studies have shown. Your essay is reasonably well organised.
    3-4 marks You have mentioned what obedience studies have shown but have been vague in your answer.
    1-2 marks You have not addressed the issues in the question. Your answer is confused and barely mentions what obedience studies have shown.

    (Marks available: 12)