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Evaluate The Working Memory Model

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Evaluate the Working Memory


Human memory is a complex cognitive structure, which can be defined in many ways. One would argue that memory is 1.) The mental function of retaining information about stimuli, event, images, ideas, etc. after the original stimuli is no longer present. 2.) The hypothesized storage system in the mind that holds this information is so retained. A clear distinction is made between different types of memory systems and can be divided into subclasses.

The first model of the human memory was proposed by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968. They introduced two different memory systems first, named after their capacity: Short Term Memory and Long Term Memory. Soon after they added a third memory store and called it Sensory Memory. These memory stores are all said to be operating in different ways and are supposedly located in different areas of the brain, thus investigating their features requires different techniques, and yet another one is used to actually establish that there is a difference.

Sensory memory is associated with auditory and visual senses, information that we are incessantly bombarded with enters the human information processing system along different channels ending its journey in either our Iconic Memory - memory that deals with visual information - or our Echoic Memory - memory that records all heard information. Sperling (1960) set up a visual task to measure the Iconic memory; participants had to recall the number of letters they have seen. He presented the participants with 3 rows of 4 letters for 50 milliseconds; they claimed to have seen more letters. Sperling presumed this happened because the visual information has got forgotten before it could have reached the Iconic Memory Store. Information in Iconic Memory degenerates within 0.5 seconds (Sperling, 1960). Treisman (1964) conducted his study on Echoic Memory. Participants were played the same message into both of their ears and asked to concentrate only on one of the messages (MESSAGE 1) at all times. When MESSAGE 1 was 2 seconds ahead of the other one the participant had no problem identifying the messages being the same. Therefore Treisman assumed that the information is ignored in our echoic system for about 2 seconds.

Long Term Memory is virtually unlimited, and holds all the information that permamently got transferred into the memory store. There is no known way to establish whether forgotten information is actually lost or if forgetting due to faliure retreival. Orne (1984) studied bringing back forgotten memories with hypnosis, but it didn't work in all the cases, some patients "memories" did not cohere with reality.

In this paper I attempt to assess the Short Term Memory System (or more recent term Working Memory Model) in more depth, furthermore I will be aming to evaluate how working memory works, what happens to our working memory when different types of diseas infect it, what kind of limitations does the Working memory have.

Working Memory Store

Baddeley and Hitch (1974) created a new terminology and called it Working Memory Store, and started to explore its mechanism. Since the beginning they come far. Baddeley (2001) introduced the four well known elements of the Working Memory Model. The central executive is the key componenet of our working memory, also has two "slave elements" which are the phonological loop and the visuo-spatial sketchpad.

The central executive is like an attention system, a real multipurpose element of the working memory system. To establish this statement, Baddeley carried out a study in 1996 with his fellow colleges (Emslie, Kolodny, Duncan). Their participants had to keep one to eight figures in their memory and make up chains of digits by chance. It was hypothesized that the central executive would be hassled as the number of figures increased.

The phonological loop is known for organising words into the order they are presented in. Baddeley (1975) found that participants recall shorter words better than longer ones, and he called it the word length effect. His study on word length effect comprised that participants had to read out as many words as they could than recall it.

On the other hand the visuo-spatial sketchpad displays visulal and spatial information. All three elements has limited capacity, therfore if two tasks are from the same elements - like reading a paper and trying to have a conversation at the same time - (phonological loop) are used they cannot be carried out properly. But if the tasks are form different elements it could be performed together.

The forth element is the episodic buffer that again controlled by the central executive; holds a combination of different information from the phonological loop, the visuo-spatial sketchpad and the Long Term Memory.

Disease in the Working Memory Store

Working memory has been significant in mental work, and thinking. Baddeley (1996)



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