Baddeley’s Model of Working Memory

Working memory.
Baddeley A.
Medical Research Council, Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Science. 1992 Jan 31;255(5044):556-9.

The term working memory refers to a brain system that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for such complex cognitive tasks as language comprehension, learning, and reasoning. This definition has evolved from the concept of a unitary short-term memory system. Working memory has been found to require the simultaneous storage and processing of information. It can be divided into the following three subcomponents: (i) the central executive, which is assumed to be an attentional-controlling system, is important in skills such as chess playing and is particularly susceptible to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease; and two slave systems, namely (ii) the visuospatial sketch pad, which manipulates visual images and (iii) the phonological loop, which stores and rehearses speech-based information and is necessary for the acquisition of both native and second-language vocabulary.

Working memory: looking back and looking forward.
Baddeley A.
Department of Psychology, University of York, York YO10 5DD, UK.
Nat Rev Neurosci. 2003 Oct;4(10):829-39.

The concept of working memory proposes that a dedicated system maintains and stores information in the short term, and that this system underlies human thought processes. Current views of working memory involve a central executive and two storage systems: the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad. Although this basic model was first proposed 30 years ago, it has continued to develop and to stimulate research and debate. The model and the most recent results are reviewed in this article.


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