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      Working Memory: Theories, Models, and Controversies

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      Annual Review of Psychology

      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          I present an account of the origins and development of the multicomponent approach to working memory, making a distinction between the overall theoretical framework, which has remained relatively stable, and the attempts to build more specific models within this framework. I follow this with a brief discussion of alternative models and their relationship to the framework. I conclude with speculations on further developments and a comment on the value of attempting to apply models and theories beyond the laboratory studies on which they are typically based.

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          Most cited references 78

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          Word length and the structure of short-term memory

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            The nature of individual differences in working memory capacity: active maintenance in primary memory and controlled search from secondary memory.

            Studies examining individual differences in working memory capacity have suggested that individuals with low working memory capacities demonstrate impaired performance on a variety of attention and memory tasks compared with individuals with high working memory capacities. This working memory limitation can be conceived of as arising from 2 components: a dynamic attention component (primary memory) and a probabilistic cue-dependent search component (secondary memory). This framework is used to examine previous individual differences studies of working memory capacity, and new evidence is examined on the basis of predictions of the framework to performance on immediate free recall. It is suggested that individual differences in working memory capacity are partially due to the ability to maintain information accessible in primary memory and the ability to search for information from secondary memory. ((c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved).
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              Working memory: a view from neuroimaging.

               J Jonides,  Mark Smith (1997)
              We have used neuroimaging techniques, mainly positron emission tomography (PET), to study cognitively driven issues about working memory. Two kinds of experiments are described. In the first kind, we employ standard subtraction logic to uncover the basic components of working memory. These studies indicate that: (a) there are different working-memory systems for spatial, object, and verbal information (with the spatial system localized more in the right hemisphere, and the verbal system more in the left hemisphere); (b) within at least the spatial and verbal systems, separable components seem to be responsible for the passive storage of information and the active maintenance of information (with the storage component being localized more in the back of the brain, and the maintenance component in the front); and (c) there may be separate components responsible for processing the contents of working memory (localized in prefrontal cortex). In our second kind of experiment we have focused on verbal working memory and incrementally varied one task parameter-memory load-in an effort to obtain a more fine-grained analysis of the system's operations. The results indicate that all relevant components of the system show some increase in activity with increasing memory load (e.g., the frontal regions responsible for verbal rehearsal show incremental increases in activation with increasing memory load). In contrast, brain regions that are not part of the working-memory system show no effect of memory load. Furthermore, the time courses of activation may differ for regions that are sensitive to load versus those that are not. Taken together, our results provide support for certain cognitive models of working memory (e.g., Baddeley, 1992) and also suggest some distinctions that these models have not emphasized. And more fundamentally, the results provide a neural base for cognitive models of working memory.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Psychology
                Annu. Rev. Psychol.
                Annual Reviews
                0066-4308
                1545-2085
                January 10 2012
                January 10 2012
                : 63
                : 1
                : 1-29
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, University of York, York YO10 5DD, United Kingdom; email:
                Article
                10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100422
                21961947
                6024bb76-0143-4876-83d2-5b7006808fb0
                © 2012

                Social policy & Welfare, Medicine, Psychology, Engineering, Public health, Life sciences

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