The levels-of-processing theory of memory is different from the three stage model of memory. The levels-of-processing model relates memory to mental processing. According to this theory, our ability to remember data is directly related to the degree to which our brains have processed that data. For example, if you hear a new word and only process the sound of the word, then your memory of that word won’t be as strong as someone who has processed both the sound and the meaning of that word. Someone who has processed the sound and the meaning of the word, but hasn’t heard the word in context won’t remember the word as well as someone who has processed sound, meaning and typical contextual usage. This theory suggests that the way to remember information is to interact with that information in as many ways as possible.
The three stage model of memory suggests three different kinds of memory. Sensory memory lasts only a fraction of a second. It’s the lingering feeling of a touch on your skin or the fading after-image when you close your eyes. It’s the memory of your sensory organs after the sensation is gone. Short term memory lasts around 15 seconds. Long term memory lasts indefinitely. The three stage model does not offer any mechanisms as to how data is stored in these various memory compartments.