Exploring the possible and necessary in working memory development

Nelson Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This commentary considers Simmering’s monograph on a dynamic-systems theoretical approach to understanding working memory development, with reference to the past, present, and future. In the section on the past, I attempt to provide a further historical context for the work, discussing from where it stemmed and how it is unique. In a second section I contemplate the purpose of the present modeling. The aim of the monograph may be primarily to establish a simple possible account of development based on neural connection strength and dynamic principles; it should not be judged as a proposal of what is necessarily true. Finally, in the section on the future, I suggest some phenomena that dissociate performance levels from stability over time and therefore appear to require modifications of the theory. Several suggestions are made as to where further refinement of the modeling effort could lead.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
JournalMonographs of the Society for Research in Child Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


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