Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Research Byte: As Time Goes By: Temporal Constraints in Working Memory

AU Barrouillet, P
Camos, V
AF Barrouillet, Pierre
Camos, Valerie
TI As Time Goes By: Temporal Constraints in Working Memory
AB Working memory is the system devoted to the simultaneous processing and
storage of information needed to perform many cognitive tasks. We
present a theory that assumes that time constraints constitute the main
limitation of working memory. According to our theory, processing and
storage compete for attention, which constitutes a limited resource. As
soon as attention is switched away, memory traces suffer from temporal
decay, but they can be refreshed by bringing them back into the focus of
attention. Because a central bottleneck constrains controlled cognitive
activities that require attention so that they must take place one at a
time, memory traces decline when the central bottleneck is occupied by
processing activities. This results in a sequential functioning of
working memory that alternates between processing and maintenance,
leading to a trade-off between these two activities. We review empirical
evidence of this trade-off and discuss its implications for the increase
in working memory capacity over the course of development.
PY 2012
VL 21
IS 6
BP 413
EP 419

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