A Process View of Short-Term Retention
In this chapter, the authors present the notion that the phenomena of memory are best attributed to one short-term or primary memory mechanism. They suggest that the various characteristic features of short-term retention may be due to several different features of a general memory system. The general notion of depth of processing was retained, but the original idea that processing involves a necessary and inevitable series of stages was largely abandoned. The processes of attention are seen as regulating the analyses performed on the input—processing will be apparently “preattentive” or “automatic” when little processing is required and when the stimulus is more complex but is highly familiar. The authors describe some classic characteristics of short-term retention in terms of the present model. The phenomenon of limited capacity is a function of the limited-capacity processor operating within the cognitive structures.