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Working Memory

 

Explanations > Memory > Working Memory

Description | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

The working memory is a system by which conscious processing of senses and memories take place,

Baddeley, A.D. and Hitch, G.J. (1974) proposed a model including a central processing executive, an articulatory loop and a visuo-spatial scratch-pad.

The central processing executive has no sensory basis and is used when working with cognitively demanding activities. It directs attention, inwards or outwards, and controls cognitive processing of items in the working memory.

The articulatory (or phonological) loop includes a passive store and active process that is used for such as speech processing. Words that you are going to say, for example, get rehearsed here.

The scratch-pad holds dimensional information, allowing you to understand visual information. This includes placing objects relative to one another and to you. Thus a sofa may understood as being to your left side and of medium size, with a half-hidden coffee table behind it.

Discussion

The classic model of short-term memory has limitations in that it is simply a set of slots that take no notice of processing or sense type. This model of working model extends memory into an active, rather than passive, component, where memories and thinking are inextricably connected.

Baddeley continued to develop this model, such as in Baddeley (1986) and Baddeley (1990).

So what?

When working with memories, consider the impact of how it is being processed now rather than just what it is.

See also

Baddeley, A.D. and Hitch, G.J. (1974). Working Memory. In G.H. Gower (Ed), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol 8). London: Academic Press

Baddeley, A.D. (1986). Working Memory, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Baddeley, A.D. (1990). Human memory: Theory and practice. Hove, UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

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