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Modeling working memory: an interference model of complex span


Oberauer, Klaus; Lewandowsky, Stephan; Farrell, Simon; Jarrold, Christopher; Greaves, Martin (2012). Modeling working memory: an interference model of complex span. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19(5):779-819.

Abstract

This article introduces a new computational model for the complex-span task, the most popular task for studying working memory. SOB-CS is a two-layer neural network that associates distributed item representations with distributed, overlapping position markers. Memory capacity limits are explained by interference from a superposition of associations. Concurrent processing interferes with memory through involuntary encoding of distractors. Free time in-between distractors is used to remove irrelevant representations, thereby reducing interference. The model accounts for benchmark findings in four areas: (1) effects of processing pace, processing difficulty, and number of processing steps; (2) effects of serial position and error patterns; (3) effects of different kinds of item-distractor similarity; and (4) correlations between span tasks. The model makes several new predictions in these areas, which were confirmed experimentally.

Abstract

This article introduces a new computational model for the complex-span task, the most popular task for studying working memory. SOB-CS is a two-layer neural network that associates distributed item representations with distributed, overlapping position markers. Memory capacity limits are explained by interference from a superposition of associations. Concurrent processing interferes with memory through involuntary encoding of distractors. Free time in-between distractors is used to remove irrelevant representations, thereby reducing interference. The model accounts for benchmark findings in four areas: (1) effects of processing pace, processing difficulty, and number of processing steps; (2) effects of serial position and error patterns; (3) effects of different kinds of item-distractor similarity; and (4) correlations between span tasks. The model makes several new predictions in these areas, which were confirmed experimentally.

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90 citations in Web of Science®
94 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Working memory . Computational modeling
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:13 Jul 2012 13:39
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:53
Publisher:Psychonomic Society
ISSN:1069-9384
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-012-0272-4
PubMed ID:22715024

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