Working Memory Course Work Sample

Working memory is the memory model, originally formulated Baddeley and Hitch (1974) and subsequently improved Baddeley (1986). The main assumptions of this model :

1. Concept of short-term memory should be replaced by the concept of “working memory system.”

2. This concept is more functional, as related to the active handling and temporary storage of information.

3. Working memory is viewed as a complex multicomponent system, not as a separate storage unit.
According to this model, the system working memory consists of three major components. This is the central executive unit, the phonological loop (sometimes called the articulatory loop) and visual-spatial album. Central executive unit is considered as the control center of attention, switching attention to various stimuli and observe the actions of other components. Phonological loop is subdivided into articulatory control system where the information is repeated in the form of speech, and phonological repository containing information of the speech input in a short period of time (with 1,5-22).

Because of their functions, these two components are also called “inner voice” and “inner ear”. Visual-spatial album designed for the processing of visual stimuli, which may be either direct (through visual perception), or recovered from long-term memory in the form of visual images. Since the various tasks using different components of working memory, it is possible to combine complex tasks (such as reading or problem-solving) with articulatory tasks (such as repetition), without sacrificing performance. The main advantage of this model is that it considers the short-term storage and active processing of information within a single theoretical explanation. Unfortunately, the most important of its component – the executive unit – we have the least information. Furthermore, the model of working memory does not explain how the role of the central executive unit may vary as a result of daily practice and experience. Baddeley was a supporter of a flexible approach to the problem, making a distinction between conscious and automatic data processing.

According to Jones D.M., “the strength of Baddeley’s model is its ability to integrate a large number of findings from work on short-term and working memory. Additionally, the mechanisms of the slave systems, especially the phonological loop, have inspired a wealth of research in experimental psychology, neuropsychology, and cognitive neuroscience.”


Jones, D. M.; Macken, W. J.; Nicholls, A. P. (2004). “The phonological store of working memory: is it phonological and is it a store?”. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 30: 656–674. doi:10.1037/0278-7393.30.3.656.
Baddeley A, Della Sala S (October 1996). “Working memory and executive control” (PDF). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 351 (1346): 1397–403.

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