A resource model of phonological working memory

AbstractThe classic Baddeley and Hitch (1974) model divides working memory into domain-specific subsystems and a shared, domain-general central executive, which plays a role in allocating resources to items stored in the subsystems. The nature of this resource—in particular, its quantization (discrete vs. continuous) and the flexibility of its allocation—has been studied extensively in the visual domain, with evidence from experiments using continuous response measures providing support for models with flexibly and continuously divisible resources. It remains unclear, however, whether similar mechanisms mediate the division of resources in phonological working memory. In this paper, we show that, despite representational differences between visual and auditory processing, continuous measures can also be employed for studying phonological working memory. Using such measures, we demonstrate that the principles of resource division in visual and phonological processing are indeed similar, providing evidence for a domain-general mechanism for allocating working memory resources.

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