Modeling working memory: An interference model of complex span

Klaus Oberauer*, Stephan Lewandowsky, Simon Farrell, Christopher Jarrold, Martin Greaves

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

203 Citations (Scopus)

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-819
Number of pages41
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Structured keywords

  • Memory

Keywords

  • Working memory
  • Computational modeling
  • SHORT-TERM-MEMORY
  • IMMEDIATE SERIAL-RECALL
  • GENERAL FLUID INTELLIGENCE
  • LATENT-VARIABLE APPROACH
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • PHONOLOGICAL SIMILARITY
  • PROACTIVE-INTERFERENCE
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • SELECTIVE INTERFERENCE
  • MAINTENANCE REHEARSAL

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