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ERIC Number: EJ779562
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 22
Abstractor: Author
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
A Central Capacity Limit to the Simultaneous Storage of Visual and Auditory Arrays in Working Memory
Saults, J. Scott; Cowan, Nelson
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v136 n4 p663-684 Nov 2007
If working memory is limited by central capacity (e.g., the focus of attention; N. Cowan, 2001), then storage limits for information in a single modality should apply also to the simultaneous storage of information from different modalities. The authors investigated this by combining a visual-array comparison task with a novel auditory-array comparison task in 5 experiments. Participants were to remember only the visual, only the auditory (unimodal memory conditions), or both arrays (bimodal memory conditions). Experiments 1 and 2 showed significant dual-task tradeoffs for visual but not for auditory capacity. In Experiments 3-5, the authors eliminated modality-specific memory by using postperceptual masks. Dual-task costs occurred for both modalities, and the number of auditory and visual items remembered together was no more than the higher of the unimodal capacities (visual: 3-4 items). The findings suggest a central capacity supplemented by modality- or code-specific storage and point to avenues for further research on the role of processing in central storage.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A