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Flashcards in Working memory capacity & executive attention Deck (39):

Who created the Working Memory Model?

Baddeley (2000)


What components are involved in the WMM?

- visuo-spatial sketchpas
- episodic buffer
- phonological loop


What type of info does the visuo-spatial sketchpad relay into LTM?

Visual semantics


What type of info does the episodic buffer relay into LTM?

Episodic LTM


What type of info does the phonological loop relay into LTM?



What types of studies provide evidence of separation of the stores?

1. Dual task studies
2. Neuropsychological data


What dual task studies have been conducted?

Farmer, Berman & Fletcher (1986) had pps do a verbal task & a spatial reasoning task at the same time --> performance was impaired on one/both (both tasks required the same memory systems)


What are the differences between patients KF, PV & ELD?

Patient KF & PV - intact spatial memory & LTM, low digit span

Patient ELD - intact digit span, impaired spatial memory


Which brain area was damaged in patients KF & PV?

They had damage to their verbal memory store --> caused a low digit span


Which brain area was damaged in patient ELD?

Damage to their spatial memory store --> caused impaired spatial memory


What does each slave store require for info to be retained in them?

Maintenance and/or rehearsal


What is Engle's (2001) view on WM span?

Our WM span is a score, not a fixed capacity

WM capacity = our capacity of relevant STMs + attention


What problems are associated with 'simple' span scores?

Although digit span is included in the WAIS test, it doesn't correlate highly with other cognitive abilities --> implies that the ability to recall verbal strings isn't important

Baddeley (2000) found that 'loading' the WM sub-systems doesn't significantly impair cognitive performance. We perform worse when we are doing 2 spatial/verbal tasks but it doesn't collapse our ability to do anything else.

Beaman (2007) studied patients KF & PV & found that there were quite cognitively competent in real-world tasks --> implies that something else is going on which allows them to do these tasks


Give examples of WM tests.

1. Reading span task
2. Operation span task


What does the reading span task predict? What do participants do in the task?

Predicts reading comprehension abilities & our performance in the real world

1. Pps read a sentence with a cue word at the end
2. Pps make a decision about each sentence - e.g. "is it grammatically correct?"
3. Eventually pps are asked what the cue words were


What is the operation span task?

Conceptually similar to the reading span task but no RC is involved

Pps solve simple maths sums & there is a cue word at the end of each sum


Voegel, McCollough & Machizawa (2005) compared people with high WM capacity & low WM capacity. What did they find?

High WM capacity - better at representing only relevant items in the display

Low WM capacity - inefficiently encode & maintain info about irrelevant items present in the display


What skills do simple span tasks?

Processing? Recognition? Recall?

Simple span tasks require recall but no other processing


What skills do complex span tasks?

Processing? Recognition? Recall?

Complex span tasks require processing of other info before recall


What is executive attention?

Memory representations are maintained in an active state in the presence of interference

We may remember cue words despite doing maths sums as well


Differences in complex WM scores reflect differences in EA.

Which researcher/s found this?

Kane & Engle (2002)


Individual differences in EA reflect differences in the ability to prevent attention focus from being distracted.

Which researcher/s found this?

Engle et al. (1999)


Individual differences in EA reflect differences in secondary memory search.

Which researcher/s found this?

Unsworth & Engle (2007)


What did Hasher & Zacks (1988) find regulates WM contents? What does it determine as a result?

Inhibitory capacity regulates WM contents & therefore determines WM capacity


Individual differences in EA reflect differences in inhibitory capacity.

Which researcher/s found this?

Hasher & Zacks (1988)


What did Awh & Vogel (2008) find that individual differences in WM reflected?

Individual differences in WM reflect differences in efficiency in filtering relevant from irrelevant info


According to Awh & Vogel (2008), which area of the brain acts as a filter (to filter relevant info from irrelevant)?

The basal ganglia acts as a filter


What claims did Engle (2002) make about WM capacity?

- WM capacity is separate from STM
- WM capacity is a component of fluid intelligence
- WM capacity represents a domain-free limitation in the ability to control attention


When did Engle (2002) claim that WM capacity is important?

WM capacity is important when interference leads to retrieval of response tendencies that conflict with the current task


In which tasks are individual differences in WM capacity reflected in?

- antisaccade tasks
- stroop task
- proactive interference task
- dichotic listening task


What does the antisaccade task predict?

Antisaccade tasks predict our eye movements


How does WM span affect performance on the Stroop task?

Pps with high WM span are less vulnerable to Stroop task interference


What does the proactive interference task measure?

How much interference you get from something you have already learnt to something you need to remember


How does WM span affect the amount of intrusive thoughts a person has?

Brewin & Beaton (2002) - people with higher WM spans are less susceptible to intrusive thoughts


How does WM span affect performance on dichotic listening tasks?

Conway, Cohen & Bunting (2001) - pps with high WM span are less likely to spot their own name on an unattended channel (better able to ignore it)


What is the irrelevant sound effect?

Irrelevant (unattended) background sounds can impair performance on STM tasks


Ellermeier & Zimmer (1997) found that the presence of background noise...

...disrupted serial recall & other related tasks

Pps made 30-50% more errors (interferes with WM)


Beaman (2004) compared pps with high WM & low WM. Pps did a recall task with irrelevant background noise OR no noise.
What did he find?

Pps with high WM recalled more info than pps with low WM


In the second phase of Beaman's (2004) study, pps heard speech that was related OR unrelated to the info that they were trying to remember.
What did he find?

Both high WM pps & low WM pps were affected when they heard speech related to the info they were trying to remember

Beaman (2004) thought pps with high WM would be able to resist