duminică, 10 noiembrie 2013

Working Memory, Thought and Action by Alan Baddeley

As it is with the interesting things, it started with a desire to find out more about this human ability of ours to manipulate knowledge, concepts and information in the present, to integrate them and to retrieved them in order to do all our mental processes. All this is amazing when you ponder on it, especially when you realize that even pondering and planning your future lies on this ability.

Upon reading the book I realized I was drawn to the field and that it is something that might taunt me for life. I deeply enjoyed the history of research that sustained the conclusions and made me think about new ways to improve the current knowledge on the topic. Having prof. Robert Logie explaining misunderstandings in a working memory course at the university really helped me grasp the concepts and clarify my mind. It was this co-occurrence of fortunate events that I credit for the spark and development of my interest in the field.

Anyone interested in psychology or memory would love to read a short scientific history about the development of one of the most fruitful and influential theory and models on working memory. 

Working memory is viewed as consisting of specialized systems: the visuo-spatial sketchpad (deals with visual and spatial information), the phonological loop (deals with auditory material, and it helps with the rehearsal of material), the episodic buffer (integrates and stores in the short term memory all the information from multisensory systems), the central executive (an attentional controller of resources, and monitors the implementation and continuous adaptation of  plan); all of which are in continuous communication with long term memory , the depositary of information and knowledge. This active construction and reconstruction of knowledge through use is one of the most astonishing abilities we possess. Only when it goes wrong, as in the case of neurodegenerative disorders ( Alzheimer’s disease, some form of frontotemporal dementias) we begin to realize what a great ability we have.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone practicing psychology and to all of those who want to find out more about how human mind is being unraveled through scientific inquiry and continuous research. Even though the field of working memory has distinctive theories and it will evolve as a result of research it is useful to know the process by which this multimodal model of working memory has guided research for more than three decades.