Working Memory Model- PSYA1

Outline of working memory model, evidence and evaluation.

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  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 26-03-12 10:48

Outline of WMM

  • Designed by Baddeley and Hitch (1974) the WMM is an alternative to the MSM which they saw as understanding the complexity of the STM.
  • Has several sperate but connected parts, unlike it's single store in MSM.
  • it is an active system and allows us to work things through, e.g. mental arithmetic.
  • Capacity is limited e.g. complex mental arithmatic of more than a few numbers is generally difficult to do 'in your head'.  

PTO for diagram.

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Diagram of WMM


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What The Stores Do

Central Executive- 'manages' the system. Decides what needs to be done and when. Intergrates activites of other stores.

Phonological Loop- is an auditory store, rehearsing information to prevent loss and decay. It has 2 parts:

  • the phonological store which is the 'inner ear'. this deals with the perception of all sounds and in particular, speech.
  • the articulatory loop which is the 'inner voice'. The voice inside us- Baddeley (1986) says it rehearses sounds for up to 2 seconds. We can hold as much info here as we can rehearse in 2 seconds.

Visuo- Spatial Sketchpad- the 'inner eye'. This organises info visually, as you if you would by sketching them out on paper. The mental 'rough paper' that you might use when doing mental arithmetic.  

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  • Farah et al (1988)- some brain damaged patients are good at spatial but not visual tasks- this is evidence that we have a visual and spatial system.
  • Brain scans show that different parts of the brain become active when different types of tasks are presented to people. This is evidence for the different components detailed in WMM.
  • Short words are recalled better than long words (the word- length effect). This is evidence for the limited capacity of the phonological loop, since more short wods can fit in it that long.
  • Baddeley and Hitch (1976) showed that if we do two tasks at the same timethat both need the same part of the system, then performance on the task will suffer.
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  • There is little evidence for the role of the central executive as most research is done on other components.
  • Engle (1994) points out that there are individual differences in skills like reading, spelling and writing which are thought to be related to working memory function. The WMM does not make it clear why there should be individual differences- it is over simplistic.
  • The relationship between working memory and LTM are not clear. It is not explained how working memory communicates with, draws info from and sends info to LTM.  
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