Working memory and language processing: An updated multiple-components view

Martin, R.

Rice University, USA

Language comprehension and production depend on the ability to maintain and manipulate information in working memory. Behavioral and neuroscientific evidence support the contention that there are separable capacities for retaining phonological, semantic, and syntactic information during sentence processing. An updated version of Martin, Lesch and Bartha’s (1999) multiple-components model of verbal working memory will be presented which is a blend of multi-store and embedded process models. An emphasis will be placed on my recent work examining the processes acting on working memory representations during language comprehension, including the retrieval of information outside the focus of attention and the resolution of interference between competing representations at the lexical, semantic, and syntactic levels. The commonalities and differences between these processes for word lists and sentences will be considered, drawing on findings from studies of from brain-damaged patients, from functional neuroimaging, and from individual differences in healthy young subjects.