Throughout the day, people are confronted with many
stimuli; ranging from the visual to the kinesthetic. For people to go about
their lives, the brain needs to encode and retrieve memories. In 1968, Atkinson
and Shiffrin proposed the multi-store memory model that states memory is
composed of the sensory register, short-term store, and the long-term store. Memories
are encoded and strengthened based on their necessity in daily tasks through
rehearsal. They may not be carried into long-term memory as they can face
encoding failure, which is the brain’s inability to create memory links through
interference, repression, and generic cues.

            Long-term
memory for a common object was an experiment performed by Nickerson and
Adams in 1979 concerning the ability of people to recall the visual details of
a penny through various tasks. These tasks were to: draw a penny from memory
alone and then another penny from a list of details, select accurate details of
a penny, choose the correct penny from a group of pennies, and express the
errors within improperly drawn pennies. They discovered that subjects were unable
to perform well in any of the tasks. These results were consistent with the
ideas of long-term memory as people only remember details that are sufficient enough
to distinguish between objects. Consequently, distinct details of a penny are prone
to encoding failure. 

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            Today,
people are surrounded with technology that gives the ability to readily
preserve information when in the past it was more difficult. The results of
this study can be utilized to determine what the human mind deems necessary or
unnecessary in daily life. This could be used to improve technology and
accordingly, the lives of people.

            The aim of this research is to
successfully measure encoding failures and the conditions in which it occurs
for common objects. The common object will consist of a penny which subjects
will be asked to recall visual details through tasks. This is a partial replication
of the study (Nickerson & Adams, 1979) as only two tasks will be performed
to allow for a better focus on specific conditions of encoding failure.