This week is week 11! My first semester will be over in about a month. Gonna be busy.
I’ll lead off with brain class homework this time. One of the chapters we had to read was apparently written for fucking brain surgeons so it was pretty hard to digest. Ugh. This is the second shortest homework I’ve turned in so far.
1. Logie and Duff (2007) investigates the relationship between processing and memory span. What is memory span and what do they find about its role in working memory?
Working memory span is “immediate memory” as it functions alongside cognitive processing. It is essentially the extent to which we are able to both process and immediately recall that processed information. Logie and Duff (2007) found that processing and memory, when working together in a combined task of verifying arithmetic sums and recalling the solutions, was only slightly more demanding than each task performed individually (p. 122-124). Similar results were also found in a related experiment that was slightly modified, suggesting that the brain has separate resources that serve both memory and processing which can run concurrently without any significant performance deficit (p. 126-128). This stands in stark contrast to Barrouillet and Camos (2001) who posited that processing and memory were a single resource where one function’s allocation would detract from the performance of the other (as cited in Logie and Duff, 2007, p. 120). If our brains are truly wired to both process and recall simultaneously, then it would stand to reason that actively integrating context into learning might be one of the reasons that this is possible.
2. Martin and Hamilton (2007) propose a model of working memory that has striking differences from the original model proposed by Baddeley. On what evidence do they propose their new model?
Of the three components of working memory outlined by Baddeley and Hitch (1974, as cited in Martin and Hamilton, 2007, p. 183), it seems that the item most directly challenged by Martin and Hamilton is the phonological loop. Martin and Hamilton point to numerous cases that contradict the phonological loop’s proposed purposes in the fact that prose is easier to recall than unrelated words and that various STM patients have demonstrated comprehension of complex sentences despite severe short-term memory loss (p. 184). As an alternative to Baddeley and Hitch’s working memory theory, Martin and Hamilton propose a model of STM wherein language processing functions through separate semantic and phonological components. The logic of this separation can be seen in patients whose semantic short-term memory deficits cause difficulties in recognizing the anomaly in a sentence such as ‘She saw the green, bright, shining sun, which pleased her,’ but not in a similar sentence where the position of the adjectives was changed, as in ‘The sun was bright, shining, and green, which pleased her’ (p. 185). Changing the position of the word green, the anomaly, allowed the semantically-challenged patients to identify it correctly, but no such pattern was seen in patients whose short-term memory deficits were phonological in nature. Likewise, Freedman, Martin, and Biegler (2004) found that semantic STM patients were at a great disadvantage in comparison with phonological STM patients when asked to name two semantically-related pictures in a single phrase (as cited on p. 186). Read more…