Variation in Working Memory: An Introduction

Andrew R. A. Conway, Christopher Jarrold, Michael J. Kane, Akira Miyake and John N. Towse

in Variation in Working Memory

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195168648
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847297 | DOI:
Variation in Working Memory: An Introduction

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This chapter discusses the ability to mentally maintain information in an active and readily accessible state, while concurrently and selectively processing new information. This is one of the greatest accomplishments of the human mind. It makes possible planning, reasoning, problem solving, reading, and abstraction. Of course, some minds accomplish these goals with more success than do others. Working memory (WM) is the term cognitive psychologists use to describe the ability to simultaneously maintain and process goal-relevant information. WM is a system with multiple components and which carries out several important cognitive functions. The chapter begins with a brief historical overview of WM research, paying close attention to the role played by variation research. It highlights the importance of combining the experimental and differential disciplines in psychology and the benefits of converging operations.

Keywords: human mind; working memory; cognitive psychologists; cognitive functions; variation research; differential disciplines; psychology

Chapter.  9173 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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