Alternatives to the MSM:

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The working memory model emphasises active processing, it is essentially a model of STM. There are 4 components: The Central Executive (which has limited storage capacity and can store information briefly), the visuo-spatial scratchpad which deals with visual and spatial memory (known as the inner eye) e.g. size, shape and colour. Also the phonological loop (which is made up of 2 components: the phonological store - the inner ear and the articulatory store - the inner voice). Finally, the episodic buffer which is essentially the general store, it integrates information from the central executive and LTM.

Baddeley et al (1973) found that participants found it very difficult to complete a visual tracking task as well as an imagery task at the same time, but were able to carry out the visual tracking task. This suggests that the tracking and imagery tasks were competing for the limited resources of the visuo-spatial scratchpad, whereas the tracking task and the verbal task didn't use the same resource. This supports the idea of 2 separate units of STM - the visuo-spatial scratchpad and phonological loop.

Further evidence to support the working memory model comes from case studies of amnesia. KF had an impaired memory for verbal information but not for visual information or meaningful sounds. This can be explained in terms of damage to the phonological loop only. The case study of KF and the findings of research using the dual task method cannot be explained by the multi-store method. Evidence also comes from PET scans which show that there is activity in different parts of the brain corresponding with the four different systems in the working memory model.

The model explains a


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