The Working Memory Model

Memory models : WMM

Brief overview

Strengths / weaknesses



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Basic overview - 3 points to rememeber

o Developed by Baddeley and Hitch in 1974 as they questioned the existence of a single STM store, arguing the STM was more complex than just a temporary store

o it is an active, complex system as oppose to the MSMs passive, unitary STM

o it both stores and manipulates information, using its four stores. It was originally three stores, but the episodic buffer was added later by Baddeley and Lewis

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The central executive - 6 points to remember

o the 'filter component' of the model, sort of like a 'manager.'

o it allocates information to inputs and directs the operation of other components.

o It has a limited capacity but can process ANY type of info

o it focuses and switches attention between different inputs, coordinates sub-systems and connects working memory with LTM.

o it's a flexible store that can process info in any sensory modality in a variety of different ways and can even store info for breif periods.

o BADDELEY discovered that participants found it had to make lists of random numbers and letters, suggesting the two tasks were competing for the CE. This supports the idea that it has a limited capacity

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The phonological loop - 6 points to remember

o one of the 'slave systems.' this is a temporary store that deals with auditory info and is mainly acoustic

o It is similar to the rehersal system in the MSM with a limited capacity determined by the amount of info

o it is further subdivided to the phonological store and auditory process.

o the phonological store (or the inner ear) stores words heard for a few seconds and the articulatory loop (the inner voice) which allows words that are heard or seen to be stored through rehersal by silently repeating them. It has a limited capacity of 3-4 items.

o BADDELEY reported on WORD LEGNTH EFFECT where participants recalled more short words in serial order than longer words, suggesting the capacity of the PL is set by how long it takes to say words than the actual numbers of words

o functional imaging studies have identified the phonological store within Wernicke's area and the articulatory process in Broca's area.

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The Visuo-spatial scratchpad - 5 points to remembe

o the second 'slave system' aka the 'inner eye' and it handles non phonological info

o it is a tempory store for visual and spatial info and the relationships between them - it is a store for what items are and where they are located

o it helps people navigate and interact with their environment, with info being rehearsed and encoded through the use of 'mental pictures'

o GATHERCOLE AND BADDELEY found participants had difficulty following a point of light and describing angles on a hollow letter F because both tasks involved using the VSS.

o other participants had no difficulty following the light and performing a verbal task as both involve the VSS and PL, indicating the VSS is a separate slave system.

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The episodic buffer- 3 points to remember

o the third 'slave system' and added in 2000 by Baddeley as the model needed a general store to operate properly.

o the Slave systems deal with processing and temporary storage of specific types of info and the CE has no storage capacity and so the EB is a limited capacity store integrating info from all the stores, as well as from the LTM.

o ALKHALIFA found problem solvers using sequentially presented info were superior to those whose info was presented in a parallel fashion, suggesting that the total WE capacity exceeds that of PL and VSS, and so showing that it existed.

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Popular study - Hunt 1980 - 5 points to remember

o AIM- investigate evidence for a limited capacity central executive

o METHOD- repeated measures design and participants performed a psychomotor task which was guiding a lever between two points with only thumb and forefinger and at the same time, completed an intelligence task consisting of spatial patterns.

o RESULTS- as the problems became more difficult on the intelligence task, performance on the psychomotor task deteriorated

o CONCLUSION - Hunt interpreted the detoration of performance as evidence that both tasks were making use of CE and competing for its limited capacity.

o EVALUATION- unlikely to take place together in the real world, so it lacks ecological validity and although it is intended that the two tasks are using the same central component, couldn't it be e VSS in use?

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Practical applications of WMM (AO2) - 5 points to

o many practical applications for children with learning difficulties relating to impairments of the WM.

o ALLOWAY (2006) recommends several methods to help these children focus-

o use brief and simple instructions so the child doesn't forget what they are doing

o break instructions down into individual steps

o repeat instructions frequently

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AO2 evaluation of WMM - strengths- 4 points to rem

o there is strong evidence to support most of the components of the model, especially real life support from brain damage cases

o the WMM is more plausible than the MSM as it demonstrates STM in terms of temporary storages and active processing

o The continuing development of this model reflects the shift from seeing 'memory' as one activity to being able to distinguish an array of different kinds of memory

o the model is still being researched into, and has provided a valuable insight to the complexity of short term processes.

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AO2 evaluation of WMM - limitations- 4 points to r

o there is little evidence for the role of the CENTRAL EXECUTIVE so it's exact role remains unclear

o WMM concerns itself only with the STM and so is not a comprehensive model of memory

o There are METHODOLOGICAL PROBLEMS with the research and some key evidence from the WM comes from serious case studies who have suffered serious brain damage, so before and after comparisons can't be made and such an injury is traumatic which may change behaviour.

o much evidence is derived from LAB studies which may give a detailed insight into memory but it can't be generalised to real life situations

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