Working Memory : The State Of Memory

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Working Memory describes the state of memory we are actively engaged with. It performs the functions of receiving, temporarily holding and manipulating information (Baddeley, 2010). To assess memory psychologists have found it helpful to define their theories as models. Atkinson and Shiffrin ‘s 1968 Stage Model of Memory defined 3 main components of memory systems; sensory memory from perception of experience that becomes short-term memory (STM), which through rehearsal loads more permanent connections as long term memory (LTM) (Andrade, 2001). Digit span a test where a sequence of digits is heard and then repeated back, was often used to measure the capacity of STM. The average people usually reach before error is 7 digits (Baddeley,…show more content…
The primacy effect was thought to provide evidence of the rehearsal process that gets incoming information from STM to LTM. (Andrade, 2001) Problems began to arise for the Stage Model of Memory. Warrington and Shallice were studying patients in neuropsychology and found a patient KF who had the reverse effects to HM of the ability to make long-term memories whereas his digit span was around two (Andrade, 2001). It made Baddeley question the idea of STM feeding the LTM. Further experiments of the recency effect and interference by Tzeng (1973) cited by Andrade (2001) suggested there might be an alternative explanation other than STM disposition. Baddeley and Hitch’s Working Memory Model was published in 1974 in response to the limitations of the Stage Model. The theory of Working Memory saw processing and storage contained in the present activated memory (Andrade, 2001). Digit span interspersed with a simple comprehension task had revealing results. The digit span of 1, 2 or 3 had hardly any impact on the accuracy or speed of the comprehension task whereas 6 digits impacted in terms of slower speed but not as much as predicted. (Baddeley 2010). Baddeley thought this showed that WM was capable of more than verbal short-term storage and there must be at least another component that handled reasoning; the central executive (Andrade, 2001). The WMM first comprised of 3 components, the central executive controlling two sub systems, the phonological
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