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working memory

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According to a theory put forward by the English psychologists Alan (David) Baddeley (born 1934) and Graham J(ames) Hitch (born 1946) in a book chapter in 1974, a temporary store for recently activated items of information that are currently occupying consciousness and that can be manipulated and moved in and out of short-term memory. It consists of a central executive and two buffer stores, called the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad, its functions are carried out largely in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, and it is tested in a variety of organisms by means of delayed- response tasks and tests of object permanence. In 2000, Baddeley proposed a third buffer store, called the episodic buffer, providing limited-capacity storage for integrated episodes or scenes using multiple codes. See also dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. WM abbrev. [The term was first used by the US psychologist George A(rmitage) Miller (born 1920) and co-authors in a book entitled Plans for the Structure of Behavior (1960, p. 65) to denote a unitary memory store for action plans, and the Canadian-born US psychologist John R(obert) Anderson (born 1947) subsequently used it to denote a declaratory memory store (see ACT*). The term appeared again in the book Human Problem Solving (1972) by the US cognitive scientists Allen Newell (1927–92) and Herbert A(lexander) Simon (1916–2001) shortly before being used by Baddeley and Hitch to denote their multi-component model.]

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