Author Archive

Working Memory and Individual Differences: Attention Like You’ve Never Seen It Before!

December 13th, 2013 3 comments

Have you ever tried to keep up with your day by switching between all the things you have to do? Of course you have. Multi-tasking and even just trying to focus our attention on one out of the million stimuli in the modern world are just part of everyone’s lives. The system that makes this possible is called working memory. Working memory is what takes in all the stimuli of the environment, organizes it, attends to it, and decides whether to rehearse or try to remember the information or whether it simply should be thrown away and forgotten.

Working memory is made up of 4 main parts. First off there are the two “slave systems.” These are the visuo-spatial sketchpad and the phonological loop. These are basic holding areas for incoming stimuli, the visuo-spatial sketchpad holds visual information such as maps, while the phonological loop deals with stimuli such as read words, numbers, or auditory stimuli. These segments simply take in the information, it is up to the other systems to choose what happens to that raw input. Read more…

Categories: Attention, Memory Tags:

Sentence Comprehension Deficits in Alzheimer’s Disease

December 13th, 2013 5 comments

Most people know that there are extreme cognitive deficits associated with DAT, otherwise known as Alzheimer ’s disease, but what is the nature of these struggles? What do those with DAT have the most trouble on, and what is the biggest cause of the troubles? It turns out that those with DAT have the biggest deficits in attentional tasks, and a lot of their memory issues stem from an inability to focus and maintain attention. In 1998 “Sentence Comprehension Deficits in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Comparison of Off-Line VS. On-Line Sentence Processing” looked at and tried to analyze the reasons behind memory deficits in DAT individuals.

The experimenters wanted to test whether the problems were stemming from a lack of syntactic knowledge, or the knowledge of how words form into sentences correctly, or from a working memory deficit. Working memory is the system that holds information in short term memory, deciding whether to attend to it, rehearse it, and transfer it into long term memory or to just throw it out. The better a person’s working memory, the better they can learn and pay attention to what they are looking at. Read more…