Chapter

The Executive Is Central to Working Memory: Insights from Age, Performance, and Task Variations

Patricia A. Reuter-Lorenz and John Jonides

in Variation in Working Memory

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195168648
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847297 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168648.003.0010
The Executive Is Central to Working Memory: Insights from Age, Performance, and Task Variations

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This chapter briefly describes inhibitory functions and the effects that variations in their efficiency can have on performance on a number of tasks with an emphasis on speed of processing and working memory. Executive processing is required in any working memory task just so long as information must be stored longer than a passive trace is retained. Any attentional process required during working memory engages a good part of the same neural machinery involved when information needs to be manipulated. Studies of monkeys and humans appear to converge on the idea that frontally mediated processes are critical for establishing more resilient representations in working memory. Studies of aging have also revealed the integrality of attentional and executive processing operations to tasks that are viewed as requiring only storage.

Keywords: inhibitory functions; working memory; executive processing; attentional process; neural machinery

Chapter.  13638 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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