chapter  4
23 Pages

Working Memory and Attention in Language Use: Nelson Cowan

Working memory refers to a small amount of information held in the mind, readily accessible for a short time to help an individual comprehend language and solve problems. As such, it is not just any topic, but potentially the key mechanism that organizes and represents one’s conscious experience as a human being; William James (1890) referred to it as primary memory, which he described as the trailing edge of consciousness. The purpose of this chapter is to alert you to the ways in which scientists in this eld have been thinking about working memory and its implications for language, attention, and the mind. The discussion will be based on some important ndings from various laboratories to illustrate our notions about working memory. It will come out in the discussion that there is a lot of debate in this eld.