Integrating theories of working memory

Robert Logie, Clement Belletier, Jason Doherty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

Multiple theories of working memory are described in the chapters of this book and often these theories are viewed as being mutually incompatible, yet each is associated with a supporting body of empirical evidence. In this chapter, we argue that many of these differences reflect different research questions, different levels of explanation, differences in how participants perform their assigned tasks in different laboratories, rather than fundamental theoretical adversity. We describe a version of a multiple component working memory in which a range of specialised cognitive functions (or mental tools) act in concert, giving the impression, at a different level of explanation, of a unified cognitive system. We argue that more rapid and more substantial scientific progress on the understanding of the concept of working memory would be achieved through identifying the levels of explanation explored within each theoretical framework, and attempting to integrate theoretical frameworks rather than perpetuating debate with no clear resolution in sight.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorking Memory
Subtitle of host publicationThe State of the Science
EditorsRobert Logie, Valerie Camos, Nelson Cowan
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages41
ISBN (Print)9780198842286
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • integrating theory
  • multiple components
  • levels of explanation
  • scientific progress
  • working memory


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