Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Working Memory and Information Processing

  • Gregory SpillersEmail author
  • Gene Brewer
  • Nash Unsworth
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_787

Synonyms

Definition

Working memory is an adaptive system for maintaining task-relevant information in an active and accessible state for the purpose of completing complex cognitive and behavioral tasks – hence the term working memory. Despite continued debate over the specific nature of working memory, there are several basic assumptions that all researchers ascribe to its concept: (1) that it is limited in capacity, (2) it is structurally and/or functionally distinct from long-term memory, and (3) specific control processes (such as rehearsal and retrieval) act on the information held within working memory to keep it active for ongoing use.

Theoretical Background

The concept of working memory was borne out of growing dissatisfaction with the earlier concept of short-term memory or short-term store, that is, a system used for the sole purpose of storing some amount of information for a limited time. Researchers felt...

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References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University of GeorgiaAthensUSA