Working memory for cross-domain sequences

Simon Farrell*, Klaus Oberauer

*Corresponding author for this work

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

8 Citations (Scopus)


How is information from different content domains bound together into a representation of the whole sequence? Several theories predict that mixing information from different domains specifically impairs the ordering of information from different domains, whereas ordering within domains might be enhanced. In contrast, domain-general modelsin which items from different domains are simply assumed to be less confusablepredict that mixing items from different domains enhances ordering, as the list items will on average be less confusable. The results of an experiment showed an overall advantage for mixed over pure lists in ordering information, supporting the domain-general viewpoint. Simulations with a representative domain-general modelthe start-end model of Henson [(1998). Short-term memory for serial order: The start-end model. Cognitive Psychology, 36, 73-137] showed that the model gave a satisfactory account of the data. Together, the data and simulations lend evidence to the idea that a domain-general mechanism is responsible for ordering stimuli from different domains, and that domain-specific effects are attributable to the relative similarity of item representations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2014

Structured keywords

  • Memory


  • Working memory
  • Similarity
  • Serial recall
  • Episodic buffer


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