Working memory model

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  • Created by: 070998
  • Created on: 28-04-16 17:26

Phonological loop - phonological store and articul

  • The phonological loop deals with auditory information.
  • Consists of a passive storage system called the phonological store, which is linked to an active rehearsal system called the articulatory control system.
  • The phonological store is like an inner ear; it is a temporary store for short sequences of words or digits which are held as a memory trace until they fade. Visually presented language can also be transformed into phonological code by silent articulation (reading) and placed in the phonological store.
  • The other component is the articulatory control system, it is like a verbal rehearsal loop that repeats acoustically coded items sub-vocally for a brief period of 1.5 to 2 seconds to prevent them from fading away.
  • Study into the capacity of the phonological loop - Baddeley et al. Showed participants lists made up of 5 words for brief amounts of time, and then asked them to write the words down in the same order. One condition was monosyllabic words and the next was polysyllabic words. Shorter words are remembered better - this is called the word length effect.
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Central executive

  • It is the most important component in the model and is responsible for controlling and monitoring the slave systems.
  • Used when problem solving, setting task goals and deciding how and when to act etc.
  • Has a very limited storage capacity but is modality free - it can process different types of incoming sensory information.
  • This enables it to allocate tasks to the other slave components.
  • It also has the ability to gather and co-ordinate information from the LTM.
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Visuo-spatial sketchpad: visual cache and inner sc

  • The visuo-spatial sketchpad is a limited capacity, temporary memory system for holding visual and/or spatial information. The sketchpad is thought to consist of a passive visual store called the visual cache which deals with objects and features. 
  • This is linked to an active inner scribe that acts as a visual rehearsal mechanism which deals with locations and movements in space and also rehearses and transfers information from the visual cache to the central executive.
  • Brain imaging studies have also provided evidence for separate spatial and visual systems. Todd and Marois showed that there was more activity in the left half of the brain when people were carrying out visual working memory tasks compared to when people were carrying out spatial tasks.
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Brooks: big E experiment

  • Aim : to investigate the different components of the working memory.
  • Procedure consisted of asking participants to study a large letter E that was presented between two lines. In condition 1 participants were asked to close their eyes and then visualise the shape. Starting at the bottom of the left corner of the shape participants have to imagine drawing the line of the shape until they finish at the bottom right point. They are asked to say 'yes' out loud (phonological loop) when any of the points of the shape meet the line and no when they don't. In condition 2, participants were requuired to repeat the task but instead had to point to the appropriate yes/no label.
  • Findings: results showed that it was more difficult for participants to perform the second part of the task because the two spatial tasks interfered with each other. However, the first task used different parts of the STM, the visuo-spatial sketchpad and the articulatory loop.
  • Conclusion: Brooks concluded that the STM was made up of different components that carry out different functions.
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Episodic buffer

  • Has a limited capacity of about four chunks
  • It can access and assimilate information from a number of areas.
  • It allows the sub-systems to interact and so takes the role as an intermediary between the slaves systems.
  • The episodic buffer can be regarded as a general storage facility that holds and combines information from the visuo-spatial sketchpad, the phonological loop, the central executive and the long-term memory.
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