Working Memory Model 12 Mark Question

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Give a brief account of and evaluate the working memory model of the human memory. The working memory model was made and used by Baddeley and Hitch. They used it to refer to the part of the memory that is used when a person is working on a complex task which requires information to be stored as you go along. Baddeley and Hitch thought that short – term memory (STM) wasn’t just one store but had a number of different stores. The working memory model is made from 4 different components; Central Executive, Phonological Loop, Visio – Spatial Sketchpad, and the Episodic Buffer. The Central Executive is the key component of the working memory model. Its function is to direct attention to specific tasks, deciding at any time how resources are allocated to tasks. The ‘resources’ are the 3 other components that are known as the slave systems. Data arrives from the senses, or the long term memory. The central executive has a very limited capacity; meaning that it cannot attend to too many things at once. As an example, the central executive works similarly to the people in the control tower at the airport. There are not many people there, and they focus their attention on the most important tasks, like; the planes that are taking off and landing. Nevertheless if a problem occurs in relation to a routine task, they are ready to take control. They keep an eye on everything that is going on and deal with the tasks that require attention. Evidence for the central executive, shows Bunge et al used fMRI to figure out what part of the brain was more active when participants did two tasks; reading a sentence and recalling the last word in each sentence. He discovered that the same brain areas were active in either dual- or single- task conditions, yet there was major activation in the dual task condition showing that higher attention demands were mirrored in brain activity.

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