Working Memory and Human Cognition

Synopsis

This new volume in the Counterpoints series compares and contrasts different conceptions of working memory, generally recognized as the human cognitive system responsible for temporary storage of information. The book includes proponents of several different views. Robert Logie discusses the theoretical and empirical utility of separating working memory into an articulatory loop, a phonological store, and a visuo-spatial sketchpad into visual and spatial subsystems. Patricia Carpenter provides evidence for a process view of working memory, arguing that both task-specific processing and general processing capabilities can account for the full range of working memory phenomena. She focuses on findings from reading comprehension and memory tasks suggesting that working memory is used to represent the set of skills and strategies necessary for complex tasks, while retaining residual capacity for use as a storage buffer. Lynn Hasher argues in favor of the new inhibitory model, with evidence drawn from the literature on aging and pathology that demonstrates parallels between memory disorders and normal memory functioning. Randall Engle addresses the issue of whether working memory resources are required for retrieval of information or whether that task is relatively automatic. Engle's empirical studies, in turn, bear directly on the positions of Carpenter, Hasher, and Logie. As interest in working memory is increasing at a rapid pace, an open discussion of the central issues involved is both useful and timely. This work serves this purpose for a wide audience of cognitive psychologists and their students.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Robert H. Logie
  • Ellen R. Stoltzfus
  • Lynn Hasher
  • Randall W. Engle
  • John T. E. Richardson
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1996