Is working memory still working?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current state of A. D. Baddeley and G. J. Hitch's (1974) multicomponent working memory model is reviewed. The phonological and visuospatial subsystems have been extensively investigated, leading both to challenges over interpretation of individual phenomena and to more detailed attempts to model the processes underlying the subsystems. Analysis of the controlling central executive has proved more challenging, leading to a proposed clarification in which the executive is assumed to be a limited capacity attentional system, aided by a newly postulated fourth system, the episodic buffer. Current interest focuses most strongly on the link between working memory and long-term memory and on the processes allowing the integration of information from the component subsystems. The model has proved valuable in accounting for data from a wide range of participant groups under a rich array of task conditions. Working memory does still appear to be working.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-64
Number of pages14
JournalThe American psychologist
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Models, Psychological
  • Psychology, Experimental

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