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ERIC Number: EJ827203
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 72
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
Accessing Information in Working Memory: Can the Focus of Attention Grasp Two Elements at the Same Time?
Oberauer, Klaus; Bialkova, Svetlana
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v138 n1 p64-87 Feb 2009
Processing information in working memory requires selective access to a subset of working-memory contents by a focus of attention. Complex cognition often requires joint access to 2 items in working memory. How does the focus select 2 items? Two experiments with an arithmetic task and 1 with a spatial task investigate time demands for successive operations that involve 2 digits or 2 spatial positions, respectively. When both items used in an operation have been used in the preceding operation, latencies are shortened. No such repetition benefit (arithmetic) or a much smaller benefit (spatial) was found when only 1 item was repeated. The results rule out serial access to the 2 items, parallel access by expanding the focus, and parallel access by splitting the focus. They support the notion that 2 items are accessed by chunking them, so that they fit a focus limited to 1 chunk. (Contains 8 footnotes, 11 figures, and 6 tables.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail: order@apa.org; Web site: http://www.apa.org/publications
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A