Visuo-Spatial Working Memory and Individual Differences

Visuo-Spatial Working Memory and Individual Differences

Visuo-Spatial Working Memory and Individual Differences

Visuo-Spatial Working Memory and Individual Differences

Synopsis

In this timely and comprehensive text, Cesare Cornoldi and Tomaso Vecchi describe their recently developed experimental approach to the investigation of visuo-spatial cognition, based upon the analysis of individual differences. A review of the most influential theoretical advances in the study of visuo-spatial cognition is presented, including both critical analysis and comparisons between the distinct approaches. In addition, the authors describe recent research into memory for spatial configurations, mental manipulation and the active integration of visuo-spatial information. This includes studies on the effects of congenital blindness on mental imagery abilities, developmental and age-related modifications, gender effects, and the role of genetic syndromes in determining visuo-spatial abilities. The authors draw together these distinct areas of research and integrate the findings within an innovative framework of working memory. This text will be a valuable resource for advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students of psychology, as well as researchers in the fields of cognitive psychology, neuropsychology and neuroscience.

Excerpt

The concept of working memory has acquired a crucial role within cognitive psychology. Its importance resides in the fact that the human mind cannot operate without the support of a temporary memory system, holding and processing information to carry out cognitive tasks. Successes and failures in many activities could then be due to, respectively, an efficient or weak functioning of working memory. In this volume we have examined the specific characteristics of the visuo-spatial component of working memory, assumed to be critical in a variety of human activities like perception, action, imagery, or orientation. Our effort was directed towards two main goals. The first goal was to explore the organization and features of visuo-spatial working memory within the more general framework of the working memory system. The second goal was to examine the implications of visuo-spatial working memory limitations in the study of specific populations who, for different reasons, are differentially affected by them. These two goals are strictly interconnected, justifying our approach to the study of working memory from an individual differences perspective. To this aim, we then integrated empirical data, mostly deriving from our own studies, in order to provide an updated overview of this field of research.

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