‘Outline and Evaluate the Working Memory Model’

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‘Outline and evaluate the working memory model’
 
The working memory model was proposed by Baddeley and Hitch in 1974. This was an alternative to the multi-store model because they believed it was too simplistic and did not explain how memories are transferred into the long term memory without rehearsal which can be supported by flashbulb memories e.g. the death of princess Diana. The working memory model focuses on the short term memory and suggests that unlike the multi-store model, there is more than one store. Baddeley and Hitch used the term ‘working memory’ to refer to the part of the memory that is active or working. This could be as simple as playing a game, calculating sums or reading a sentence all of which are collecting data to be stored.    The working memory model consists of three parts; these are the central executive, phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketchpad. The central executive controls attention and draws on the other two systems known as the ‘slave systems’. The central executive has a limited capacity; in other words it cannot attend to too many things at once. This is supported by the dual task technique in 1976 where participants were given two tasks to do simultaneously. The first task used the central executive which was a simple sentence verification task e.g. participants were asked to answer true or false when shown the sentence B is followed by A. The second task involved the central executive and the phonological loop where participants had to repeat the word ‘the’ over and over again whilst working out the sentence verification task. The third task used the central executive and the central executive and phonological loop. In this task participants had to say random digits between 1 and 9 whilst completing the sentence. Hitch and Baddeley found that the time taken on task 3 was significantly longer because the task involved using the same component, the central executive making completing the task more difficult. They also found that when different components were used, such as in task 2, the performance was not affected.    The problems with the central executive are that little is known about what it actually does therefore it is difficult to prove its existence since there is no specific information linked to this area like visual or auditory information. Recent research has found that the central executive differs between individuals and it can be easily selectively impaired by brain damage. Baddeley coined the term dysexecutive syndrome (DES) to describe dysfunctions of the central executive  As well as this, many psychologists believe that more research is needed to clarify the precise nature, capacity, and functioning of the central executive as it is not clear whether it forms a single unitary system or consists of separate components. If various functions are used it is suggested that the central executive is responsible for tasks such as timesharing and selective attention.      The second part to the working memory is the phonological loop. This can be further divided into the phonological store and articulatory process. The phonological loop has a limited capacity and deals with auditory information as well as preserving the order of information. The information goes round in a loop-hence the name, and simply holds words you hear, sometimes referred to as the inner ear. It appears that this store is used for learning new words and simply holds auditory data. The information is said to enter this store automatically and the information that is rehearsed prevents decay. There are many findings to support the phonological loop; one is the effect of phonological similarity. Lists of words that are acoustically similar are more difficult to remember than those that are acoustically dissimilar. Semantically similar words seem to have no effect which supports the assumption that verbal information is encoded largely phonologically in working memory.     Another piece of evidence...
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