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1.
Mem Cognit. 2018 Nov 26. doi: 10.3758/s13421-018-0878-5. [Epub ahead of print]

From short-term store to multicomponent working memory: The role of the modal model.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK. ab50@york.ac.uk.
2
Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK.
3
School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Abstract

The term "modal model" reflects the importance of Atkinson and Shiffrin's paper in capturing the major developments in the cognitive psychology of memory that were achieved over the previous decade, providing an integrated framework that has formed the basis for many future developments. The fact that it is still the most cited model from that period some 50 years later has, we suggest, implications for the model itself and for theorising in psychology more generally. We review the essential foundations of the model before going on to discuss briefly the way in which one of its components, the short-term store, had influenced our own concept of a multicomponent working memory. This is followed by a discussion of recent claims that the concept of a short-term store be replaced by an interpretation in terms of activated long-term memory. We present several reasons to question these proposals. We conclude with a brief discussion of the implications of the longevity of the modal model for styles of theorising in cognitive psychology.

KEYWORDS:

Long-term memory; Modal model; Philosophy of science; Short-term memory; Working memory

2.
J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2018 Aug;44(8):1312-1316. doi: 10.1037/xlm0000509. Epub 2018 Apr 12.

Is the phonological similarity effect in working memory due to proactive interference?

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of York.

Abstract

Immediate serial recall of verbal material is highly sensitive to impairment attributable to phonological similarity. Although this has traditionally been interpreted as a within-sequence similarity effect, Engle (2007) proposed an interpretation based on interference from prior sequences, a phenomenon analogous to that found in the Peterson short-term memory (STM) task. We use the method of serial reconstruction to test this in an experiment contrasting the standard paradigm in which successive sequences are drawn from the same set of phonologically similar or dissimilar words and one in which the vowel sound on which similarity is based is switched from trial to trial, a manipulation analogous to that producing release from PI in the Peterson task. A substantial similarity effect occurs under both conditions although there is a small advantage from switching across similar sequences. There is, however, no evidence for the suggestion that the similarity effect will be absent from the very first sequence tested. Our results support the within-sequence similarity rather than a between-list PI interpretation. Reasons for the contrast with the classic Peterson short-term forgetting task are briefly discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record.

3.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018 Apr 10. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13634. [Epub ahead of print]

Are there multiple ways to direct attention in working memory?

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
2
Department of Psychology, University of York, Heslington, York, United Kingdom.

Abstract

In visual working memory tasks, memory for an item is enhanced if participants are told that the item is relatively more valuable than others presented within the same trial. Experiment 1 explored whether these probe value boosts (termed prioritization effects in previous literature) are affected by probe frequency (i.e., how often the more valuable item is tested). Participants were presented with four colored shapes sequentially and asked to recall the color of one probed item following a delay. They were informed that the first item was more valuable (differential probe value) or as valuable as the other items (equal probe value), and that this item would be tested more frequently (differential probe frequency) or as frequently (equal probe frequency) as the other items. Probe value and probe frequency boosts were observed at the first position, though both were accompanied by costs to other items. Probe value and probe frequency boosts were additive, suggesting the manipulations yield independent effects. Further supporting this, experiment 2 revealed that probe frequency boosts are not reliant on executive resources, directly contrasting with previous findings regarding probe value. Taken together, these outcomes suggest there may be several ways in which attention can be directed in working memory.

KEYWORDS:

attention; focus of attention; prioritization; probe frequency; probe value; visual working memory

PMID:
29635690
DOI:
10.1111/nyas.13634
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4.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018 Mar 10. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13631. [Epub ahead of print]

Competition for the focus of attention in visual working memory: perceptual recency versus executive control.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of York, York, United Kingdom.
2
School of Psychology, Northeast Normal University, Changchu, China.
3
School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Previous research on memory for a short sequence of visual stimuli indicates that access to the focus of attention (FoA) can be achieved in either of two ways. The first is automatic and is indexed by the recency effect, the enhanced retention of the final item. The second is strategic and based on instructions to prioritize items differentially, a process that draws on executive capacity and boosts retention of information deemed important. In both cases, the increased level of retention can be selectively reduced by presenting a poststimulus distractor (or suffix). We manipulated these variables across three experiments. Experiment 1 generalized previous evidence that prioritizing a single item enhances its retention and increases its vulnerability to interference from a poststimulus suffix. A second experiment showed that the enhancement from prioritizing one or two items comes at a cost to the recency effect. A third experiment showed that prioritizing two items renders memory for both vulnerable to interference from an irrelevant suffix. The results suggest that some but not all items in working memory compete to occupy a narrow FoA and that this competition is determined by a combination of perceptually driven recency and internal executive control.

KEYWORDS:

focus of attention; prioritization; visual working memory

PMID:
29524359
DOI:
10.1111/nyas.13631
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5.
Dev Psychol. 2018 Feb;54(2):240-253. doi: 10.1037/dev0000427. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

The limits of visual working memory in children: Exploring prioritization and recency effects with sequential presentation.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Leeds.
2
Department of Psychology, University of York.

Abstract

Recent research has demonstrated that, when instructed to prioritize a serial position in visual working memory (WM), adults are able to boost performance for this selected item, at a cost to nonprioritized items (e.g., Hu, Hitch, Baddeley, Zhang, & Allen, 2014). While executive control appears to play an important role in this ability, the increased likelihood of recalling the most recently presented item (i.e., the recency effect) is relatively automatic, possibly driven by perceptual mechanisms. In 3 Experiments 7 to 10 year-old's ability to prioritize items in WM was investigated using a sequential visual task (total N = 208). The relationship between individual differences in WM and performance on the experimental task was also explored. Participants were unable to prioritize the first (Experiments 1 and 2) or final (Experiment 3) item in a 3-item sequence, while large recency effects for the final item were consistently observed across all experiments. The absence of a priority boost across 3 experiments indicates that children may not have the necessary executive resources to prioritize an item within a visual sequence, when directed to do so. In contrast, the consistent recency boosts for the final item indicate that children show automatic memory benefits for the most recently encountered stimulus. Finally, for the baseline condition in which children were instructed to remember all 3 items equally, additional WM measures predicted performance at the first and second but not the third serial position, further supporting the proposed automaticity of the recency effect in visual WM. (PsycINFO Database Record.

PMID:
29154649
DOI:
10.1037/dev0000427
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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6.
J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2017 Nov;124(11):1489-1501. doi: 10.1007/s00702-017-1783-y. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

Effects of transcranial direct current stimulation on the auditory mismatch negativity response and working memory performance in schizophrenia: a pilot study.

Author information

1
Clinical Neuroelectrophysiology and Cognitive Research Laboratory, University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, 1145 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON, K1Z 7K4, Canada.
2
School of Psychology, University of Ottawa, 136 Jean-Jacques Lussier, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada.
3
Schizophrenia Program, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, 1145 Carling Ave, Ottawa, ON, K1Z 7K4, Canada.
4
Clinical Neuroelectrophysiology and Cognitive Research Laboratory, University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, 1145 Carling Ave., Ottawa, ON, K1Z 7K4, Canada. verner.knott@theroyal.ca.

Abstract

Cognitive impairment has been proposed to be the core feature of schizophrenia (Sz). Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive form of brain stimulation which can improve cognitive function in healthy participants and in psychiatric patients with cognitive deficits. tDCS has been shown to improve cognition and hallucination symptoms in Sz, a disorder also associated with marked sensory processing deficits. Recent findings in healthy controls demonstrate that anodal tDCS increases auditory deviance detection, as measured by the brain-based event-related potential, mismatch negativity (MMN), which is a putative biomarker of Sz that has been proposed as a target for treatment of Sz cognition. This pilot study conducted a randomized, double-blind assessment of the effects of pre- and post-tDCS on MMN-indexed auditory discrimination in 12 Sz patients, moderated by auditory hallucination (AH) presence, as well as working memory performance. Assessments were conducted in three sessions involving temporal and frontal lobe anodal stimulation (to transiently excite local brain activity), and one control session involving 'sham' stimulation (meaning with the device turned off, i.e., no stimulation). Results demonstrated a trend for pitch MMN amplitude to increase with anodal temporal tDCS, which was significant in a subgroup of Sz individuals with AHs. Anodal frontal tDCS significantly increased WM performance on the 2-back task, which was found to positively correlate with MMN-tDCS effects. The findings contribute to our understanding of tDCS effects for sensory processing deficits and working memory performance in Sz and may have implications for psychiatric disorders with sensory deficits.

KEYWORDS:

Auditory discrimination; Event-related potentials (ERPs); Mismatch negativity (MMN); Schizophrenia; Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS); Working memory

PMID:
28864916
DOI:
10.1007/s00702-017-1783-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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7.
Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2018 Jul;71(7):1561-1573. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2017.1341537. Epub 2018 Jan 1.

Remember some or remember all? Ageing and strategy effects in visual working memory.

Author information

1
1 School of Psychology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
2
2 Department of Psychology, University of York, York, UK.

Abstract

Recent research has indicated that visual working memory capacity for unidimensional items might be boosted by focusing on all presented items, as opposed to a subset of them. However, it is not clear whether the same outcomes would be observed if more complex items were used which require feature binding, a potentially more demanding task. The current experiments, therefore, examined the effects of encoding strategy using multidimensional items in tasks that required feature binding. Effects were explored across a range of different age groups (Experiment 1) and task conditions (Experiment 2). In both experiments, participants performed significantly better when focusing on a subset of items, regardless of age or methodological variations, suggesting this is the optimal strategy to use when several multidimensional items are presented and binding is required. Implications for task interpretation and visual working memory function are discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Visual working memory; ageing/aging; binding; encoding; strategy/strategies

PMID:
28812424
DOI:
10.1080/17470218.2017.1341537
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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8.
J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2017 Sep;43(9):1677-1693. doi: 10.1037/xhp0000413. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

Executive and perceptual distraction in visual working memory.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, University of Leeds.
2
Department of Psychology, University of York.

Abstract

The contents of visual working memory are likely to reflect the influence of both executive control resources and information present in the environment. We investigated whether executive attention is critical in the ability to exclude unwanted stimuli by introducing concurrent potentially distracting irrelevant items to a visual working memory paradigm, and manipulating executive load using simple or more demanding secondary verbal tasks. Across 7 experiments varying in presentation format, timing, stimulus set, and distractor number, we observed clear disruptive effects of executive load and visual distraction, but relatively minimal evidence supporting an interactive relationship between these factors. These findings are in line with recent evidence using delay-based interference, and suggest that different forms of attentional selection operate relatively independently in visual working memory. (PsycINFO Database Record.

PMID:
28414499
PMCID:
PMC5560518
DOI:
10.1037/xhp0000413
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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9.
Atten Percept Psychophys. 2016 Oct;78(7):2164-75. doi: 10.3758/s13414-016-1106-7.

Executive control of stimulus-driven and goal-directed attention in visual working memory.

Author information

1
Northeast Normal University, Changchun, China.
2
University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
3
University of York, York, UK.
4
University of York, York, UK. graham.hitch@york.ac.uk.

Abstract

We examined the role of executive control in stimulus-driven and goal-directed attention in visual working memory using probed recall of a series of objects, a task that allows study of the dynamics of storage through analysis of serial position data. Experiment 1 examined whether executive control underlies goal-directed prioritization of certain items within the sequence. Instructing participants to prioritize either the first or final item resulted in improved recall for these items, and an increase in concurrent task difficulty reduced or abolished these gains, consistent with their dependence on executive control. Experiment 2 examined whether executive control is also involved in the disruption caused by a post-series visual distractor (suffix). A demanding concurrent task disrupted memory for all items except the most recent, whereas a suffix disrupted only the most recent items. There was no interaction when concurrent load and suffix were combined, suggesting that deploying selective attention to ignore the distractor did not draw upon executive resources. A final experiment replicated the independent interfering effects of suffix and concurrent load while ruling out possible artifacts. We discuss the results in terms of a domain-general episodic buffer in which information is retained in a transient, limited capacity privileged state, influenced by both stimulus-driven and goal-directed processes. The privileged state contains the most recent environmental input together with goal-relevant representations being actively maintained using executive resources.

KEYWORDS:

Attention; Executive control; Visual working memory

PMID:
27142524
DOI:
10.3758/s13414-016-1106-7
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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10.
Mem Cognit. 2015 Jan;43(1):133-42. doi: 10.3758/s13421-014-0448-4.

What does visual suffix interference tell us about spatial location in working memory?

Author information

1
Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK, r.allen@leeds.ac.uk.

Abstract

A visual object can be conceived of as comprising a number of features bound together by their joint spatial location. We investigate the question of whether the spatial location is automatically bound to the features or whether the two are separable, using a previously developed paradigm whereby memory is disrupted by a visual suffix. Participants were shown a sample array of four colored shapes, followed by a postcue indicating the target for recall. On randomly intermixed trials, a to-be-ignored suffix array consisting of two different colored shapes was presented between the sample and the postcue. In a random half of suffix trials, one of the suffix items overlaid the location of the target. If location was automatically encoded, one might expect the colocation of target and suffix to differentially impair performance. We carried out three experiments, cuing for recall by spatial location (Experiment 1), color or shape (Experiment 2), or both randomly intermixed (Experiment 3). All three studies showed clear suffix effects, but the colocation of target and suffix was differentially disruptive only when a spatial cue was used. The results suggest that purely visual shape-color binding can be retained and accessed without requiring information about spatial location, even when task demands encourage the encoding of location, consistent with the idea of an abstract and flexible visual working memory system.

PMID:
25030081
DOI:
10.3758/s13421-014-0448-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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11.
J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2014 Aug;40(4):1665-1678. doi: 10.1037/a0037163. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Executive and perceptual attention play different roles in visual working memory: evidence from suffix and strategy effects.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, North East Normal University.
2
Department of Psychology, University of York.
3
Department of Psychology, Soochow University.
4
Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds.

Abstract

Four experiments studied the interfering effects of a to-be-ignored "stimulus suffix" on cued recall of feature bindings for a series of objects. When each object was given equal weight (Experiment 1) or rewards favored recent items (Experiments 2 and 4), a recency effect emerged that was selectively reduced by a suffix. The reduction was greater for a "plausible" suffix with features drawn from the same set as the memory items, in which case a feature of the suffix was frequently recalled as an intrusion error. Changing payoffs to reward recall of early items led to a primacy effect alongside recency (Experiments 3 and 4). Primacy, like recency, was reduced by a suffix and the reduction was greater for a suffix with plausible features, such features often being recalled as intrusion errors. Experiment 4 revealed a tradeoff such that increased primacy came at the cost of a reduction in recency. These observations show that priority instructions and recency combine to determine a limited number of items that are the most accessible for immediate recall and yet at the same time the most vulnerable to interference. We interpret this outcome in terms of a labile, limited capacity "privileged state" controlled by both central executive processes and perceptual attention. We suggest further that this privileged state can be usefully interpreted as the focus of attention in the episodic buffer.

PMID:
24933616
DOI:
10.1037/a0037163
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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12.
Neuropsychologia. 2014 Jul;59:74-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.04.013. Epub 2014 Apr 28.

Item-location binding in working memory: is it hippocampus-dependent?

Author information

1
Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK. Electronic address: r.allen@leeds.ac.uk.
2
Institute of Child Health, University College London, UK.
3
Department of Psychology, University of York, UK.

Abstract

A general consensus is emerging that the hippocampus has an important and active role in the creation of new long-term memory representations of associations or bindings between elements. However, it is less clear whether this contribution can be extended to the creation of temporary bound representations in working memory, involving the retention of small numbers of items over short delays. We examined this by administering a series of recognition and recall tests of working memory for colour-location binding and object-location binding to a patient with highly selective hippocampal damage (Jon), and groups of control participants. Jon achieved high levels of accuracy in all working memory tests of recognition and recall binding across retention intervals of up to 10s. In contrast, Jon performed at chance on an unexpected delayed test of the same object-location binding information. These findings indicate a clear dissociation between working memory and long-term memory, with no evidence for a critical hippocampal contribution to item-location binding in working memory.

KEYWORDS:

Binding; Hippocampus; Long-term memory; Working memory

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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13.
J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2014 Nov;40(6):1499-509. doi: 10.1037/xlm0000002. Epub 2014 Feb 24.

Evidence for two attentional components in visual working memory.

Author information

1
University of Leeds.
2
University of York.

Abstract

How does executive attentional control contribute to memory for sequences of visual objects, and what does this reveal about storage and processing in working memory? Three experiments examined the impact of a concurrent executive load (backward counting) on memory for sequences of individually presented visual objects. Experiments 1 and 2 found disruptive concurrent load effects of equivalent magnitude on memory for shapes, colors, and colored shape conjunctions (as measured by single-probe recognition). These effects were present only for Items 1 and 2 in a 3-item sequence; the final item was always impervious to this disruption. This pattern of findings was precisely replicated in Experiment 3 when using a cued verbal recall measure of shape-color binding, with error analysis providing additional insights concerning attention-related loss of early-sequence items. These findings indicate an important role for executive processes in maintaining representations of earlier encountered stimuli in an active form alongside privileged storage of the most recent stimulus.

PMID:
24564541
DOI:
10.1037/xlm0000002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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14.
Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2013;66(10):1881-7. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2013.828314. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Raven's matrices and working memory: a dual-task approach.

Author information

1
a Department of Psychology , University of York , York , UK.

Abstract

Raven's Matrices Test was developed as a "pure" measure of Spearman's concept of general intelligence, g. Subsequent research has attempted to specify the processes underpinning performance, some relating it to the concept of working memory and proposing a crucial role for the central executive, with the nature of other components currently unclear. Up to this point, virtually all work has been based on correlational analysis of number of correct solutions, sometimes related to possible strategies. We explore the application to this problem of the concurrent task methodology used widely in developing the concept of multicomponent working memory. Participants attempted to solve problems from the matrices under baseline conditions, or accompanied by backward counting or verbal repetition tasks, assumed to disrupt the central executive and phonological loop components of working memory, respectively. As in other uses of this method, number of items correct showed little effect, while solution time measures gave very clear evidence of an important role for the central executive, but no evidence for phonological loop involvement. We conclude that this and related concurrent task techniques hold considerable promise for the analysis of Raven's matrices and potentially for other established psychometric tests.

PMID:
23981295
DOI:
10.1080/17470218.2013.828314
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
15.
Acta Psychol (Amst). 2012 Sep;141(1):122-32. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.06.007. Epub 2012 Aug 11.

Working memory and individual differences in the encoding of vertical, horizontal and diagonal symmetry.

Author information

1
University Sapienza of Rome, Department of Psychology, Rome Italy. clelia.rossi-arnaud@uniroma1.it

Abstract

Previous studies, using a modified version of the sequential Corsi block task to examine the impact of symmetry on visuospatial memory, showed an advantage of vertical symmetry over non-symmetrical sequences, but no effect of horizontal or diagonal symmetry. The present four experiments investigated the mechanisms underlying the encoding of vertical, horizontal and diagonal configurations using simultaneous presentation and a dual-task paradigm. Results indicated that the recall of vertically symmetric arrays was always better than that of all other patterns and was not influenced by any of the concurrent tasks. Performance with horizontally or diagonally symmetrical patterns differed, with high performing participants showing little effect of concurrent tasks, while low performers were disrupted by concurrent visuospatial and executive tasks. A verbal interference had no effect on either group. Implications for processes involved in the encoding of symmetry are discussed, together with the crucial importance of individual differences.

PMID:
22889674
DOI:
10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.06.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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16.
Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2012;65(12):2369-83. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2012.687384. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

Feature binding and attention in working memory: a resolution of previous contradictory findings.

Author information

1
Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. r.allen@leeds.ac.uk

Abstract

We aimed to resolve an apparent contradiction between previous experiments from different laboratories, using dual-task methodology to compare effects of a concurrent executive load on immediate recognition memory for colours or shapes of items or their colour-shape combinations. Results of two experiments confirmed previous evidence that an irrelevant attentional load interferes equally with memory for features and memory for feature bindings. Detailed analyses suggested that previous contradictory evidence arose from limitations in the way recognition memory was measured. The present findings are inconsistent with an earlier suggestion that feature binding takes place within a multimodal episodic buffer Baddeley, ( 2000 ) and support a subsequent account in which binding takes place automatically prior to information entering the episodic buffer Baddeley, Allen, & Hitch, ( 2011 ). Methodologically, the results suggest that different measures of recognition memory performance (A', d', corrected recognition) give a converging picture of main effects, but are less consistent in detecting interactions. We suggest that this limitation on the reliability of measuring recognition should be taken into account in future research so as to avoid problems of replication that turn out to be more apparent than real.

PMID:
22670689
DOI:
10.1080/17470218.2012.687384
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
17.
Annu Rev Psychol. 2012;63:1-29. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100422. Epub 2011 Sep 27.

Working memory: theories, models, and controversies.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of York, United Kingdom. ab50@york.ac.uk

Abstract

I present an account of the origins and development of the multicomponent approach to working memory, making a distinction between the overall theoretical framework, which has remained relatively stable, and the attempts to build more specific models within this framework. I follow this with a brief discussion of alternative models and their relationship to the framework. I conclude with speculations on further developments and a comment on the value of attempting to apply models and theories beyond the laboratory studies on which they are typically based.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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18.
J Intellect Disabil Res. 2012 Feb;56(2):157-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2011.01444.x. Epub 2011 Jul 5.

Working memory in Down syndrome: is there a dual task deficit?

Author information

1
Department of Developmental and Socialization Psychology, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. silvia.lanfranchi@unipd.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recent studies have shown that individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are poorer than controls in performing verbal and visuospatial dual tasks. The present study aims at better investigating the dual task deficit in working memory in individuals with DS.

METHOD:

Forty-five individuals with DS and 45 typically developing children matched for verbal mental age completed a series of verbal and visuospatial working memory tasks, involving conditions that either required the combination of two tasks in the same modality (verbal or visual) or of cross-modality pairs of tasks.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

Two distinct deficits were found in individuals with DS: impairment in verbal tasks and further impairment in all dual task conditions. The results confirm the hypothesis of a central executive impairment in individuals with DS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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19.
J Cogn Neurosci. 2011 Dec;23(12):3855-61. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_00066. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

Working memory and the hippocampus.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of York,Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK. ab50@york.ac.uk

Abstract

A number of studies suggest an important role for the hippocampus in tasks involving visuospatial or relational working memory. We test the generality of this proposal across tasks using a battery designed to investigate the various components of working memory, studying the working memory performance of Jon, who shows a bilateral reduction in hippocampal volume of approximately 50%, comparing him to a group of 48 college students. We measure performance on four complex working memory span measures based on combining visuospatial and verbal storage with visuospatial or verbal concurrent processing as well as measuring Jon's ability to carry out the component storage and processing aspects of these tasks. Jon performed at a consistently high level across our range of tasks. Possible reasons for the apparent disparity between our own findings and earlier studies showing a hippocampal deficit are discussed in terms of both the potential differences in the demands placed on relational memory and of the proposed distinction between egocentric and allocentric visuospatial processing.

PMID:
21671734
DOI:
10.1162/jocn_a_00066
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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20.
J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2011 May;37(3):688-705. doi: 10.1037/a0022527.

How does processing affect storage in working memory tasks? Evidence for both domain-general and domain-specific effects.

Author information

1
School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 12a Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TU, England. c.jarrold@bristol.ac.uk

Erratum in

  • J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2011 May;37(3):765.

Abstract

Two studies that examine whether the forgetting caused by the processing demands of working memory tasks is domain-general or domain-specific are presented. In each, separate groups of adult participants were asked to carry out either verbal or nonverbal operations on exactly the same processing materials while maintaining verbal storage items. The imposition of verbal processing tended to produce greater forgetting even though verbal processing operations took no longer to complete than did nonverbal processing operations. However, nonverbal processing did cause forgetting relative to baseline control conditions, and evidence from the timing of individuals' processing responses suggests that individuals in both processing groups slowed their responses in order to "refresh" the memoranda. Taken together the data suggest that processing has a domain-general effect on working memory performance by impeding refreshment of memoranda but can also cause effects that appear domain-specific and that result from either blocking of rehearsal or interference.

PMID:
21319919
DOI:
10.1037/a0022527
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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