MEMORY - The Working Memory Model (WMM)

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  • The Working Memory Model (WMM)
    • Definitions
      • WMM - an explanation that sees STM as an active store holding several pieces of info simultaneously
      • CENTRAL EXECUTIVE (CE) - component of the WMM that oversees and co-ordinates the components of working memory
      • PHONOLOGICAL LOOP (PL) - component of WMM that deals with auditory info
      • VISUO-SPATIAL SKETCHPAD (VSS) - component of WMM that deals with visual info and the physical relationship of items
      • EPISODIC BUFFER - component of WMM. Serves as a temp store of integrated info from the CE, PL, VSS and LTM
    • Central Executive (CE)
      • acts as a filter to determine which detected info is paid attention to
      • processes info in all sensory forms
      • directs info to slave components and collects responses
      • limited capacity, can only cope effectively with 1 piece of info at a time
      • attains balance between tasks when attention needs to be divided (talking whilst driving)
      • allows us to switch attention between different inputs of info
      • Research
        • BADDELEY ('96) - PPs found it difficult to generate lists of random numbers while simultaneously switching between numbers and letters on a keyboard. Two tasks both competing for CE resources
        • D'ESPOSITIO ('95) - using fMRI scans, prefrontal cortex activated during verbal and spatial tasks performed simultaneously but not when performed separately
      • Evaluation (A03)
        • little is known about CE - not clear how it works or what it does
        • CE probably better understood as a component controlling the focus of attention rather than being a memory store (unlike PL and VSS that are specialised memory stores)
    • Phonological Loop (PL)
      • deals with auditory info
      • limited capacity determined by the amount of info that can be spoken out loud in 2 secs
      • mainly acoustic store, confusion with similar sounding words
      • BADDELEY divided PL into 2 separate parts: primary acoustic store (PAS) and the articulatory process (AP)
        • PAS (inner ear) stores words recently heard
        • AP (inner voice) keeps info in PL through sub-vocal repetition, linked to speech production
      • Research
        • TROJANI % GROSSI ('95) - brain damage case affecting functioning of PL but not VSS, suggests PL to be a separate store
        • BADDELEY ('75) - word length effect - PPs recalled short words in serial order better than long words. Supports idea of capacity dependent on how long it takes to say the word, rather than number of words
      • Evaluation (A03)
        • PET scans different brain areas activate when doing verbal / visual tasks - PL & VSS = separate stores
        • PL = strongly associated with the evolution of human vocal language - development of slave system as producing a significant increase in the short-term ability to remember vocalisations
          • helps learning of more complex language (grammar and expressing meaning)
    • Visuo-spatial sketchpad (VSS)
      • VSS (inner eye) handles non-phonological info, temp store for visual and spatial items and rels between them
      • helps individs to navigate around and interact with their physical environment - info being coded and rehearsed through the use of mental pics
      • LOGIE - sub-dividing store into visual cache (VC) and inner scribe (IS)
        • VC - stores visual material about form and colour
        • IS -spatial rels and rehearses and transfers info to the VS and CE
      • BADDELEY ('93) - PPs found it difficult to simultaneously track a moving light and describing angles on a letter F - both tasks = VSS. Other PPs found it easier to track the light and do a verbal task (tasks = PL and VSS). Supports there being 2 separate systems
      • ZHAO (2004) - more interference between 2 visual tasks than between a visual and spatial task. Supports existence of separate VC and IS
      • PET scans show brain activity in left hemisphere with visual tasks and activity in right hem with with spatial info. Supports idea of separate VC and IS
      • studies of VSS (& PL) often feature dual-task. However, actual tasks performed are often not encountered much in everyday life - lack mundane realism
    • Episodic Buffer
      • BADDELEY (2000) added new slave system, episodic buffer as model needed general store to operate properly
      • PL & VSS deal with processing and temp store of specific types of info but could have limited capacity
      • CE has no storage capacity so can't contain items relating to visual and acoustic properties
      • EB introduced as system that can temporarily store info combined together from CE, PL, VSS and LTM
      • PRABHAKARAN (2000) - fMRI scans show greater right-frontal brain activity for combined spatial and verbal info. But greater posterior activity for non-combined info
      • ALKHALIFA (2009) - patient with severly impaired LTM who demonstrated STM capacity of up to 25 items, far exceeding the capacity of both the PL and the VSS. Suggests existence of the EB, which holds items in working memory until they are recalled
    • Car driving analogy
      • CE = the driving instructor. They direct all of the info, attain the balance of attention during driving
      • PL = Siri. Deals with auditory info that stores the words just said to it (PAS) and repeats them (AR) in order to give you an answer
      • VSS = the sat-nav. Helps you to navigate around and interact with your physical environment. Stores info about the form and colour of the land (VC), the spatial outlook of the land and transfers info to driving instructor (IS)
      • EB = the learner. They have to process and temporarily store all the info given to them by the diff systems in order to drive the car

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