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Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume 4, Issue 11, 1 November 2000, Pages 417-423

doi:10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01538-2 | How to Cite or Link Using DOI
Copyright © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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The episodic buffer: a new component of working memory?
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Alan BaddeleyE-mail The Corresponding Author
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 8 Woodland Road, Bristol UK BS8 1TN. tel: + 44 117 928 8541 fax: +44 117 926 8562

Available online 25 October 2000. 


In 1974, Baddeley and Hitch proposed a three-component model of working memory. Over the years, this has been successful in giving an integrated account not only of data from normal adults, but also neuropsychological, developmental and neuroimaging data. There are, however, a number of phenomena that are not readily captured by the original model. These are outlined here and a fourth component to the model, the episodic buffer, is proposed. It comprises a limited capacity system that provides temporary storage of information held in a multimodal code, which is capable of binding information from the subsidiary systems, and from long-term memory, into a unitary episodic representation. Conscious awareness is assumed to be the principal mode of retrieval from the buffer. The revised model differs from the old principally in focussing attention on the processes of integrating information, rather than on the isolation of the subsystems. In doing so, it provides a better basis for tackling the more complex aspects of executive control in working memory.

Article Outline

1. Problems for the current model
1.1. The phonological loop: limits and limitations
1.2. Prose recall
1.3. The problem of rehearsal
1.4. Consciousness and the binding problem

2. The episodic buffer

2.1. How is the buffer implemented biologically?
2.2. So what's new?

3. Some outstanding issues



Trends in Cognitive Sciences
Volume 4, Issue 11, 1 November 2000, Pages 417-423
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