This essay addresses the working memory model which was proposed by Baddeley and Hitch (1974 in Smith & Kosslyn, 2007) as a response to Atkinson and Shiffrins (1968 in Smith, 2007) multi-store model. According to Baddely and Hitch the multi-store model failed to explain most of the complexities of the human memory and viewed it as being too simplistic. They argued that the short term memory store must have more components rather it being a single inflexible store as suggested previously by Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968). The working memory model is therefore an enhancement of the multi store model. According to Baddeley and Hitch working memory is a limited- capacity system that stores and processes information.
Researchers such as Logie, Baddeley and Bunge generally agree that the short-term memory is made up of a number of components or subsystems. The working memory model has replaced the idea of a unitary store short-term memory as suggested by the multistore model. The working memory model explains a lot more and in a lot more detail than the multistore model. It makes sense a range of tasks- verbal reasoning, comprehension, reading, problem solving and visual and spatial processing, it also applies to real life tasks such as reading which involves the phonological loop subsystem, problem solving which involves the central executive and navigation which involves the visual and spatial subsystem. The Working Memory Model is supported by
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Atkinson’s and Shiffrin’s (1968) multi-store model was extremely successful in terms of the amount of research it generated. However, as a result of this research, it became apparent that there were a number of problems with their ideas concerning the characteristics of short-term memory. Building on this research, Baddeley and Hitch (1974) developed an alternative model of short-term memory which they called working memory. Baddeley and Hitch (1974) argued that the picture of short-term memory (STM) provided by the Multi-Store Model is far too simple. According to the Multi-Store Model, STM holds limited amounts of information for short periods of time with relatively little processing. It is
Research has shown that there is “greater activation in the left inferior frontal and medial temporal lobes” (Stanford, 2006, p. 208) during the encoding of words which were later remembered as compared to those which were forgotten. The sensations perceived by sensory nerves are decoded in the hippocampus of the brain into a single experience (Mastin, 2010). The hippocampus analyses new information and compares and asssociates it with previously stored memory (Mastin, 2010). Human memory is associative in that new information can be remembered better if it can be associated to previously acquired, firmly consolidated information (Mastin, 2010). The various pieces of information are then stored in different parts of the brain (Mastin, 2010). Though the exact method by which this information is later identified and recalled has yet to be discovered, it is understood that ultra-short term sensory memory is converted into short term memory which can then later be consolidated into long term memory (Mastin, 2010).
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Short term memory refers to a memory system that stores a limited amount of information in conscious awareness for a brief period of time, (McLeod, 2007). Short term memory is integral to cognitive activities such as reading, comprehension & problem solving & language as without it we would be unable to recall the beginning of a sentence by the time we reach the end of it, nor e.g. perform simple mental mathematical calculations (Hedden,et al, 2004). Interestingly because language , reading and problem solving occur sequentially (Hedden,et al, 2004) , information stored in short term memory is stored and retrieved sequentially.( McLeod, 2007) for example, when asked to recall the 3rd digit in a numeric sequence, one would go through the sequence in the order that it was heard in order to retrieve the 3rd digit in a numerical sequence, one would go through the sequence in the order that it was heard to retrieve the 3rd digit.
Burgess and Hitch (1999) added to and tested the original model of the phonological loop. They created multiple lists: one with the combination of short and long words, one with short words, and one with long words. Burgess and Hitch predicted that the short list would have a higher recall rate, while the long list would take longer to memorize. However, the mixed list would take less time to recall but longer time to memorize (Burgess & Hitch,1999).
The multi-store model of memory (eg, Atkinson and Shiffrin 1968) claims the memory can be sectioned into three distinctive parts: sensory store, short-term store (STM) and long-term store (LTM). Eysenck and Keane (2005:190) states that data is first encountered by the sensory store, then depending on the attention given, is processed to the STM and finally - if rehearsed - continues to the LTM.
Baddeley (2001) suggests a working memory system which consists of four components; a modality-free central executive, a phonological loop which holds information in speech based form, a visuo-spatial sketchpad and an episodic buffer which is the temporary storage system that holds and integrates information from the phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and long-term memory (Eysenck & Keane, 2005).
Verbal short term memories encode and represent information in a phonological form in immediate memory. This was highly supported by Baddeley and Hitch’s (1974) working memory model. Baddeley and Hitch introduce the “phonological (articulatory) loop”, a mechanism in the short term memory which helps in the retention of verbal information temporarily. (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). As these mechanisms are heavily dependent on the phonological systems, they have brought about inefficiencies in memory encoding bringing about various effects which includes phonological similarity effect ( difficulty in recall due to similar sounding words), word length effect (recall to be more difficult with long words than short words), the unattended speech effect
Research evidence for the working model of memory varies. Case studies of brain damaged patients support this model a lot. The case study of KF - a brain damaged patient with no problem with long term learning but some aspects of his immediate memory were impaired. This has proven that the working model of memory was right when suggesting that short term store works independently of long term store. In addition to evidence supporting this model, Baddeley and Hitch did a research on making participants do two tasks using the same or different components. Task one occupied the central executive, task two either involved the articulatory loop or both the central executive and the articulatory loop. Speed on task one was the same whether using the articulatory loop or no extra task. This shows that doing two tasks that involve the same component causes difficulty. It also suggested that when two different components are used, performance is not affected.
7). The Sensory memory could be compared to a sorting table of information. Everything collected by our senses from the environment around us is dumped onto a sorting table known as Sensory Memory. This information does not stay there long, only a few seconds before it is saved into our short-term memory if it is valuable or discarded if it is not. Once in the short-term memory the information needs to be repeated to be remembered and moved into the long-term memory. This process is known as memory consolidation, rehearsal or consciously repeating information is a requirement for long-term memory retention. Otherwise, the information is lost after twenty seconds in the short-term memory. The long-term memory is limitless in its capacity to store information, it holds memories from just a few minutes ago, to years and years ago. As an example, if I were studying for a mid-term exam, I would use a three-step process to retain the information. First, I would read the information start to finish, highlighting information I found interesting or pertinent to lessons objectives. Thus, I am taking the information in though my sensory memory and recognizing that I want to retain it. Second within the twenty seconds the information is in my short-term memory I repeat the information by highlighting it. Thus, through rehearsal the information is consolidated and moved into long term memory. Lastly, I would put the information on flash cards using my own words, for more repetition, to assist me in the recognition and recall of the information during the
As for the evidence of the working memory system, two British researches, Alan Baddley and Graham Hitch, have proposed a model in how to explain the working memory system. They have suggested that the system contains many different parts, and that the main working part of the system is the central executive. This central part is able to delegate tasks for the low-level “assistants” to handle, since these assistants are not able to actually analyze a situation on their own. The articulatory rehearsal loop is one of the assistances that allows a person to remember, and is the most beneficial in many ways. This assistant allows you to recall information that is previously stated by repetitively stating the information in our head, which is known as subvolcalization, or silent speech. Furthermore, Baddley and Hitch’s model suggest that we are able to see the existence of this working memory through “sound-alike” errors, because our bodies rely on this rehearsal loop or memory to recall information. In a study, there was a control group which was given a normal digit-span test. In the other group, people were asked to perform concurrent articulation when they took the test. Although this concurrent articulation is not difficult, it does affect the use of the articulatory loop and decreases the memory. With that being said, manipulation of a
Baddeley and Hitch determined that this working memory should be divided into three parts based on the type of information it processes. The first part, deemed the central executive area, acts as a boss sending data to the other areas while dealing with cognitive tasks such as problem solving on its own. The visuo-spatial area stores and processes visual information and is responsible for navigation. Finally, the phonological loop stores and processes written and spoken materials and would be responsible for memorizing a telephone number. The phonological loop is further broken down into two parts, the phonological store, which holds spoken information, and the articulatory control process, which is used to store verbal information from the phonological store. In 2000, based on a failure to explain experimental results, Baddeley decided to add the fourth part called the episodic buffer. This component is responsible for communication between long-term and episodic (short-term) memory and serves as a backup (Mcleod, 2008). Working memory and short-term memory are often interchanged, however working memory commonly includes the active processes in the brain that make up the short-term memory, while the term short-term memory solely refers to the brain’s ability to temporarily store