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Working out how working memory works: evidence from typical and atypical development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1747-1767
Number of pages21
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number9
Early online date19 Aug 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Jun 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2016
DatePublished (current) - 2 Sep 2017


Working memory is an extremely influential concept within experimental psychology, with, at the time of writing, over 90 papers with this term in their title published in this journal alone since 2000. One reason for this interest is that measures of working memory tend to be strong correlates of important indices of real world function. In addition, at first sight working memory appears to be a relatively simple concept to understand. However, despite this apparent simplicity, explaining working memory performance is not straightforward. In this paper I address this challenge, with a particular focus on the development of working memory performance in children; both children developing typically and those experiencing atypical development. I specifically highlight the multiple constraints on working memory performance, and how these constraints inter-relate. I then consider the broader theoretical implications of each of these constraints for current accounts of working memory and its development.

    Research areas

  • working memory, development, short-term memory, processing speed, forgetting, rehearsal

    Structured keywords

  • Memory

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    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 508 KB, PDF document


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