Verbal Learning and Memory: Does the Modal Model Still Work?

Alice F. Healy, Danielle S. McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on recent research concerning verbal learning and memory. A prominent guiding framework for research on this topic over the past three decades has been the modal model of memory, which postulates distinct sensory, primary, and secondary memory stores. Although this model continues to be popular, it has fostered much debate concerning its validity and specifically the need for its three separate memory stores. The chapter reviews research supporting and research contradicting the modal model, as well as alternative modern frameworks. Extensions of the modal model are discussed, including the search of associative memory model, the perturbation model, precategorical acoustic store, and permastore. Alternative approaches are discussed including working memory, conceptual short-term memory, long-term working memory, short-term activation and attention, processing streams, the feature model, distinctiveness, and procedural reinstatement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-172
Number of pages30
JournalAnnual Review of Psychology
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Memory models
  • Primary memory
  • Secondary memory
  • Sensory memory
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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