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Describe and Evaluate the Working Memory Model (WMM)

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Introduction

Describe and Evaluate the Working Memory Model (WMM) The WMM is a model of short term memory which was developed from experimentation and observation. The WMM consists of 3 main stores, the central executive, the phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketchpad. The central executive can store information for a brief period of time and has limited capacity, it is required to perform a number of tasks such as focus and switch attention, co-ordinate the sub-systems and connect working memory with LTM. The phonological loop is divided into two components, a phonological store which holds auditory memory traces for a few seconds before they fade and an articulatory rehearsal process which is essentially sub-vocal speech and ha a limited capacity of about 3-4 items.. ...read more.

Middle

Patient 'LH' had more difficulty with visual tasks than spatial tasks, which probably means that there is a different part of the brain controlling these things. Another example is 'KF', whose forgetting of auditory stimuli was higher than visual stimuli. In the working memory model, verbal rehearsal is noted as one way to encode and store information, but there are other routes too such as visual stimuli and the episodic buffer. The model integrates a large number of research findings. As well as studies on brain damaged patients, there is also experimental evidence which supports the model, for example Baddeley and his colleagues' word-length effect which supports the phonological loop, and a number of studies have found different brain regions to activate when people carry out tasks involving the different components of working memory. ...read more.

Conclusion

The components of the model may as yet be too simple, and do not explain the full range of day-to-day phenomena, for example, some things we're pretty good at remembering, unless someone starts talking to us while were trying to remember it. The central executive is poorly understood. Since there are only modest correlations between people on different executive functions, and since some people can lose some executive functions but keep others, it's highly unlikely that the CE is one unitary construct. Without knowing how the CE is broken down, it's very difficult to come up with hypotheses to test the model further, and to know how these subsections relate to each other and the other parts of the model. Finally, researchers do not yet have a detailed understanding of how the episodic buffer combines information from the other parts of the model, and from long-term memory. ...read more.

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