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An investigation into the processing systems of working memory.

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Introduction

An investigation into the processing systems of working memory The working memory model (WMM) was put forward by Baddeley and Hitch, 1974, to overcome some of the shortcomings of the multi store model of memory (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968). A main criticism of the MSM is that it oversimplifies memory, and particularly views memory as a passive process. Evidence from amnesiac patients suggests that there are more than one type of short term and long-term memory store. For example the case study of KF who suffered brain damage as a result from a motorcycle accident. He had no problem with his long-term memory but his short-term memory was damaged. He could only remember two digits on a digit span test where on average people normally remember around seven. His forgetting of visual stimuli was not as bad as his forgetting of auditory letters and digits. This suggests that there are different stores for verbal material and acoustic material. Another case study that supports the WMM is Clive Wearing his short term and his long-term memory were damaged. ...read more.

Middle

"The tree flew up into the birds"). When the participants were prevented from using the articulatory loop by saying something meaningless repeatedly, their ability to decide whether sentences were meaningful was reduced because they could not re-examine the sentences repeatedly. This suggests there are two separate components involved in reading, the articulatory loop and the primary acoustic store. Den Heyer and Barret (1971) gave their participants a grid in which letters were placed in some cells. This was displayed for ten seconds. Then one group was given a verbal task (resisting a poem) and the other group a special task to complete. They were then asked to recall the original grid. Recall of the letters was more disrupted by the verbal task where as recall of the positions was disrupted by the special task. This is evidence that the letters are stored acoustically and the positions are stored visually. The study can also explain the problems experienced by KF. Because KF's short term forgetting of auditory letters and digits was much greater than his forgetting of visual stimuli, this suggests that his articulatory loop was damaged but because he could still remember visual stimuli it would mean that his Visuo-spatial scratch pad was not damaged. ...read more.

Conclusion

It has limited capacity, but this capacity has not been measured accurately. The central executive does not rely on any manner of receiving information such as sound or vision it is used in many different processing operations but no one knows the precise details of its functioning. It is over simplistic to have a single central executive. Also the Visuo-spatial store has not been explored in as much depth as other slave systems. The aim of the current investigation is to replicate Den Heyer and Barratt, 1971, experiment and investigate whether there are separate stores for verbal/phonological information, and for visual-spatial information. It is suggested that if doing a visual task interferes with one's memory of visual-spatial information, but not phonological information, and vice versa, then this provides evidence for there being at least two separate STM stores. Research Hypothesis: I would predict that doing a visual task while processing spatial information would interfere with the participant's results. This is because the Visuo-spatial sketch pad is being used for two different activities therefore its attention is limited for two instead of just one. Null Hypothesis: I will predict that if my research hypothesis is wrong then the participants' results will not be affected when doing a visual task. ...read more.

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