A Guide To The “Levels of Processing Model of Memory”

What is the Levels of Processing Model of Memory?

Information is also processed from one level to another for analysis, called levels of processing developed by Fergus Craik and Robert Lockhart in 1972. It involves three levels of processing of incoming information to reach long-term memory. The levels are:

  • Perception
  • The structural or physical outlook
  • The meaning level of input


Perception involves the awareness of the environment. In the first information processing level of perception, the environmental input is transferred to the structural level.

The Structural Level

The structural level is the deeper level, which involves the processing of the physical characteristics of an object only. For example, the bag is blue and square. The processing process goes on a more complex level of processing with additional physical characteristics such as the bag has three, four folders.

The Meaning Level of Input

In the third level, meaning involves elaborative and maintenance rehearsal, adding meaning to a deeper level of processing as we try to know more about it. For example, the bag is made up of skin, what skin, synthetic, whether it is the one we want to buy at the moment. This helps us to examine and compare it with other bags and with information already stored in memory.

We do not automatically progress from one level to another, we need a certain time for processing. It depends upon how much and what level of the inquiry spend on it. For example, if an individual is introduced to us, we may not be able to remember him later, because the cues related to him (that is, his name, occupation, addresses, etc.) were not rehearsed when the memory was stored. The physical cues are less meaningful unless more meaningful cues are present at deeper levels of processing.

The time of processing is not important as the depth of processing. The deeper the level of processing of the information, the deep is the storing of memory. Critics have asserted that the term level of processing is quite confusing and is not clearly specified. The objective measurement of the term should be mentioned (Baddeley, 1998). The assumptions of the level of processing model need verification to its various concept, and ideas to explain memory processes.

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