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Flashcards in Working Memory Deck (27)
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What is working memory?

Tasks where we need to temporarily store information while processing new information while we perform further processing


Examples of working memory

Understanding a spoken language
Performing mental arithmetic involving simple steps
Phone numbers


What is the multi modal model of memory? Atkinson and shiffren

Believes that incoming information is held by 2 stores
Attended information is passed to the short term store, unattended information is lost via decay
Short term store capacity reflects digit span (7)
Rehearsed information is encoded in long term store


How is information passed through to the long term store?



What processes does the short term store perform?



What are the 2 sensory stores?

Iconic store - visual
Echoic store - touch, auditory


Evidence for the multi modal model of memory

Patient KF suffered brain damage due to a road accident. He had impaired short term memory for digit span (2 digits) but intact long term memory. Supports separate short term and long term memory systems. However, contradicts the short term system and short term memory system used for both working memory processes as well as storage because patient only had a problem with storage and not processes - these weren’t impaired


What does the multi modal model of memory believe about memory?

It is a processing system as well as a storage


Working memory modal - baddeley and hitch

Proposed a new working memory modal
System of temporary storage systems supporting the real time processes required for completing complex tasks
There are 3 systems - phonological loop, central executive and visuospatial scratch pad
Consists of two limited capacity space systems
The central executive controls these


What are the 3 parts of the working model?

Visuo spatial scratch pad
Central exective


What are the two limited capacity slave systems?

Phonological which stores speech information

Visuo spatial sketch pad which stores spatial and visual information


What is the phonological loop?

Processing verbal information (holding words in memory as we process what someone is saying to us, or as we prepare to say something)
Consists of 2 parts


What type of information does the phonological store access?

Auditory information has direct access and is maintained through rehearsal

Verbal information (writing) has indirect access via articulatory rehearsal - doesn’t go straight in, have to write it down, say it out loud and rehearse it for it to go in to long term memory


What is the process of rehearsal called?

Articulatory rehearsal - converts visual information (writing) to auditory information

Maintains auditory information via rehearsal


Evidence for the phonological store

Phonological similarity effect
Irrelevant speech effect
Word length effect
Articulatory suppression


Phonological similarity effect

Memory for phonologically similar consonants or words is inferior for phonological dissimilar words

This shows that information is stored phonologically - effect occurs for both auditory and visual presentation of stimuli, showing that information is converted to a phonological code for storage


Irrelevant speech effect

Memory for visually presented consonants or digits is impaired by the simultaneous presented of speech

Shows that speech and visually presented digits are using the same system - even though showed visually, can’t not process them, shows they were converted to phonological code


Word length effect

Memory for short syllables is better than memory for long

Shows articulatory rehearsal has a limited capacity - around 2 seconds - it is a piece of ribbon, can only remember a certain amount, only remember a small amount of long words

Memory span is also linked to speech rate - the quicker we vocalise items, the more we can rehearse within 2 seconds


Articulatory suppression

Memory is impaired when participants required to simultaneously repeat a word out loud and the word length disappears

This shows that memory can be impacted when we prevent rehearsal

Phonological similarity effect also disappears when ppts repeat a word out loud simultaneously- shows visual stimuli must be rehearsed to be converted to phonological code


Visuo spatial sketch pad

Dual tasks performed at the same time can be used to disassociate separate processing systems - if using different systems, memory shouldn’t be impaired

Evidence - digit span impaired by a verbal, but not a visual secondary task, visual span impaired by a visual but not a verbal secondary task. Shows separate systems for verbal and visual memory


Evidence for the visuo spatial sketch pad

Corsi block tapping task
Phillips matrix task


Corsi block tapping task

Experimenter taps out a sequence on 9 randomly arranged blocks, which the participant then copies
Spatial memory declines with the sequence size - measures spatial memory span
Shows a limited capacity system for storing spatial information


Phillips matrix task

Participants recall locations of a pattern of coloured cells in a grid
Visual memory declines with number of cells that a participant has to remember and can be used to measure visual memory span

Shows a limited capacity storage for visual information


Visuo sketchpad further evidence

Some patients have impaired spatial span but intact visual span and other patients have impaired visual span and intact spatial span - shows separate systems

Patient 1 - can do corsi but not Phillip matrix and vice Versa


What is the central executive?

A control system:
Focus attention
Divide attention among tasks
Switch attention from one task to another
Interface with long term memory

Evidence for the central executive comes from observations that dual tasks show impaired performance compared to single tasks


Problems with the working memory modal

Articulatory suppression reduces but doesn’t eliminate digit span for visual stimuli - must be being stored somewhere

Some amnesiacs show immediate recall for complex information, beyond limited capacity of existing systems (eg prose)

It is unclear how information from different modalities and from long term memory is bound and stored

It is unclear how rehearsal operates outside of articulatory rehearsal


Episodic buffer

The model of working memory adapted to include episodic buffer - limited capacity storage for chunks or episodes
Integrates information from different modalities and longer term memory - combines the information