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Review on Working Memory

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Working memory is a part of the human memory system with a limited capacity. Working Memory’s job is holding temporarily information for processing. Working memory refers to information storage without manipulation. About working memory’s capacity is generally considered as a limited capacity. Miller in 1956 suggested “ magical number seven” as a capacity of working memory. He called elements “ chunks”, he claimed that information capacity of young adults is around seven chunks and he said elements are doesn’t matter are digits, letters, words or any other category but later research revealed that category is matter, capacity is depends on the category of chunks, like may be eight for digits, seven for letters and six for words.

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About working memory’s measures can be tested by some tasks. For an example Daneman and Carpenter invented the “reading span” task in 1980. Subjects read sentences usually between two and six then they are going to try remember the last word of the sentences, then they are repeated back the words in correct order. About aging effect on working memory is, the capacity of working memory is gradually decrease when we are getting older, of course after childhood because the working memory capacity is gradually increases on childhood. About the importance of working memory, If we didn’t have a working memory, we don’t have a long-term memory too because all the information in the long-term memory is directing by working memory.

When we are going to talk about structure of working memory there are different models of working memory so first of all, the most accepted one is Baddeley and Hitch’s The Multicomponent Model, They introduced the multicomponent model in 1974. In the first model has three components; the central executive, the phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad. The central executive is responsible for carrying info between other components and control the center of sorts. Phonological loop responsible for storing the basicly sounds and repeats oneself again and again. Visuospatial sketchpad responsible for storing the visual and spatial information, spatial part is responsible for the locations. They present this model as a “slave system” the central executive as a supervisior and the other two the phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad components as slaves.

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In 2000, Baddeley updated the model because their model failed to explain result of various experiments and he add the fourth component as a episodic buffer. The other model is working memory as part of long term memory, this model is introduced by Ander Ericsson and Walter Kintchs they called “long-term working memory” and define as a “retrieval structures”. In their model working memory is not a separate system from long term memory.

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