Learning and Memory

#whatWM? Playing ‘telephone’ with working memory or the War of the Ghosts 2.0

In his recent article in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review that stimulated this digital event, Nelson Cowan undertakes the impressive endeavor to disentangle the various definitions of working memory (WM) that have been around in the literature since the term WM was coined. He does so to counter the confusion that the use of different […]

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#whatWM? Definitions of working memory do not need provocative claims

I was sitting in the audience, listening to a symposium speaker field questions, when someone asked about working memory. “Working memory? Does anyone actually believe in that anymore?” was the speaker’s reply, and from the inside of my narrowly-focused scientific bubble, it astonished me. I had only recently taken up my first tenure-track position as […]

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#whatWM? e pluribus unum: Consensus despite diversity

Nelson Cowan’s review of definitions of “working memory” provides a very useful overview of the different ways in which the term has been and is still being used in the literature, and the potential confusion that can be caused by its multi-faceted meaning. Cowan identified nine definitions spanning multiple disciplines and several decades of research, […]

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#whatWM? A digital event celebrating the 9 lives of working memory

Type “working memory” into Google Scholar and you get nearly 2,000,000 results. Topping the list is the paper “working memory” by Alan Baddeley and Graham Hitch, which has been cited more than 12,000 times since its publication in 1974. The Web of Science search engine is slightly more modest, with around 54,000 scientific publications being […]

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When Wednesday is yellow and a blinking cursor ticks loudly: Synesthesia and associative learning

What color is Wednesday? If the answer is obvious to you, you might have a form of synesthesia in which sequences such as numbers, days of the week, and months of the year are perceived as having colors (or else you might be from Thailand). Initially, one may well be skeptical on being told that […]

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When hand waving turn pistons into engines: The role of gestures in creating understanding

Conversations in Milan, Rome, or Madrid seem ever so much more animated and exciting than those polite chats over a tea cozy in Oxford, London, or Wetwang (Yorkshire). At least in part, this may reflect the greater physical rigor that denizens of the Mediterranean exhibit during their speech. As the New York Times put it: […]

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Old Faithful but not El Capitan: multiple-choice pretesting helps learning about cronartium ribicola

Old Faithful…. Hayden Valley…. Mammoth Hot springs. Clearly I am talking about the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park. Now try and answer the following question: What state does the majority of the park reside in? The choices are: (a) Idaho; (b)South Dakota; (c) Wyoming; (d) Montana. If you correctly picked Wyoming, you clearly know too […]

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