Back to Projects Page | Back to Main Page


Verbal Working Memory

Verbal working memory has long been understood through the "Phonological Loop" model, one part of the Working Memory theory proposed by Alan Baddeley. Although it is a parsimonious explanation that captures many of the major trends of the empirical data, it is not specified sufficiently well enough to evaluate whether the claims associated with the theory actually predict the magnitude of various effects.

Using the EPIC architecture, we have developed explicit models of the phonological loop, and achieved several insights. First, we found that in order to correctly recall lists of words, phonological traces of those words must remain for between 4 and 10 seconds, much longer than 2 seconds that is frequently claimed. Second, we have determined that internally generated memory traces have different mnemonic properties than traces generated externally (through perceptual processes). Third, we have revealed that the executive processes involved in maintaining a phonological loop are quite substantial, and that the "simple memory span" task is actually complex.

Using these insights to guide further empirical and theoretical work, we have also developed measures of two of the most critical predictors of verbal memory ability; phonological similarity and word length. These advances allow data to be more precisely analyzed in the context of the phonological loop model.

We have also have begun to explore the properties of the VWM by formulating neural-network models of the storage and maintenance of symbolic verbal information.

For More Information:

  • Krawitz, A., Mueller, S. T., Kieras, D. E., & Meyer, D. E. (2004). Executive control operations for updating verbal working memory. Poster presented at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, 2004.

  • Mueller, S. T., Seymour, T. L., Kieras, D. E., & Meyer, D. E. (2003). Theoretical implications of articulatory duration, phonological similarity, and phonological complexity on verbal working memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 1353-1380.

  • Mueller, S. T. (2002). The Roles of Cognitive Architecture and Recall Strategies in Performance of the Immediate Serial Recall Task. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

  • Mueller, S. T., Seymour, T. L., Krawitz, A., Kieras, D. E., & Meyer, D. E. (2001). Implications of Articulatory Duration and Phonological Similarity effects in Working Memory. Poster Presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, 2001.

  • Mueller, S. T., & Meyer, D. E. (2001). Insights about Verbal Working Memory and Serial Recall enabled by Precise quantitative measurement of phonological dissimilarity.Poster Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Psychology, 2001.

  • Mueller, S. T., & Meyer, D. E. (2001) A neural network model of verbal working memory based on transient activation patterns. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, 2001.

  • Mueller, S. T., Seymour, T. L., Glass, J., Kieras, D., & Meyer, D. (2000). Components of Cognitive Control in Verbal Working Memory Revealed by Computational Modeling with the Executive-Process Interactive-Control (EPIC) Architecture Poster Presented at the Cognitive Aging Conference 2000.

  • Meyer, D. E., Mueller, S. T., Seymour, T. L., & Kieras, D. E. (2000). Brain Loci of Temporal Coding and Serial-Order Control for Verbal Working Memory Revealed by Computational Modeling and Focal Lesion Analysis of Memory-Span Performance. Poster Presented at the Annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, 2000.

  • Meyer, D. E., Kieras, D. E., Mueller, S., & Seymour, T. (1999). Benefits of Computational modeling for cognitive neuroscience studies of verbal working memory. Poster presented at the Annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, 1999.

  • Kieras, D. E., Meyer, D. E., Mueller, S., & Seymour, T. (1998). An EPIC Computational Model of Working Memory. Poster presented at the 39th Annual meeting of the Psychonomics Society.

  • Kieras, D. E., Meyer, D. E., Mueller, S., & Seymour, T. (1999). Insights into working memory from the perspective of the EPIC architecture for modeling skilled perceptual-motor performance. In P. Shah & A. Miyake (Eds.) Models of Working Memory: Mechanisms of Active Maintenance and Executive Control, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


    Back to Projects Page | Back to Main Page
    http://www.umich.edu/~bcalab/vwm.html