Characteristics of Memory systems

Characteristics of Memory systems

Several views exist regarding the structure of memory and its operation. One termed the multiple store approach, views memory as being composed of three distinct storage registers (sensory, short term long term) which differ in capacity, storage duration, and functioning. A second perspective which has been quite popular is that is only one memory and distinct storage registers do not exist in a physical sense. Different storage registers appear to exist because different levels of processing are involved. That is, stimuli can receive shallow sensory processing such as analysis of the basic characteristics of anew acre e.g. four door long has large trunk, etc. However, the same stimuli might also receive deeper cognitive processing by the consumer. This involves the consumer in elaborating on what the information means to him. For example, the shape of a care may lead the consumer to consider how many people it can seat comfortably how much luggage it can hold, how fast it might go, and how good it fuel economy might be. Different levels of processing exist because humans have limited processing capacity to allocate across a variety of incoming stimuli. Also, information receiving deep levels of processing will enjoy a more complex and longer lasting memory, while shallow processing is likely to result in only temporary storage.

A third conception of memory called the activation model also makes use of the single memory store concept. In this currently popular view, consumers are seen as having one large memory store but at any given time only a portion of that memory can be activated into what we might think of as working memory that is available for use by to consumer. The result is that at any moment only a fraction of memory can be used by the consumer. Consequently the reaming portions which are not activated will not be available to recall material held in memory or to help process incoming information.

Information the consumer confronts often serves to activate portions of memory that hold material related to the situation at hand. For example, when viewing a sporty looking care the consumer is likely to activate memory elements related to sports attributes such as style, performance etc. Information about other sports cars is also likely to be activated. Since this information is related to additional material the consumer also holds in memory the other information is also likely to be activated. The chain reaction type of activation across related memory elements is termed spreading activation. Of course what memory elements are actually related is determined by the consumer’s personal experience. Also, with incoming information will not stay active unless effort is expended to maintain it.

It has been argued that although these three models of memory are distinct in terms of their emphasis they are not necessarily incompatible. For example, one could view short term in the multiple store model as that part of memory which is being activated and performing a certain functions at a given level of processing. Other points of commonality can also be found. Therefore although there are limitations in taking the multiple store view point, for purposes of exposition we shall discuss memory in terms of this model. We must be careful to note, however, that each component should not be viewed as a physically separate entity but as a distinct process or functioning of memory which has certain unique characteristics.


As everyone’s experience has demonstrated material that consumers have learned is not always readily retrievable by them. Some information such as popular brand names or the location of merchandise in a super market is easily remembered. Other information appears to end up lost, or at least it does not appear to be readily obtainable. This focuses on the structure and operation of consumers’ memory. The discussion picks up where we left off in the information processing. Here we are concerned with the storage and retrieval of information after it has been acquired and has undergone initial processing.

Memory processes are of considerable importance to the understanding of consumers. Basically this is so because to a large extent, consumers act on the basis of their cognitions, or their knowledge or beliefs about the world. These cognitions are stored in memory and they influence how incoming stimuli are interpreted. They also form the basis for attitudes behavioral intentions and brand choice which is treated. On a more concrete level of Illustration consider the goal of marketers who strive to have consumers retain their brand name or information about it. The challenge is great when one realizes that tens of thousands of different brands are advertised on a national or regional scale in the United States alone. In every sense, each of these brands as well as many local ones, vie for a prominent place on consumers’ memory.