Maintaining cross-domain objects and features in working memory: implications for storage in models of working memory
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A great deal of evidence, both from behavioral studies of cross-domain interference and from neuroimaging, suggests the need for a domain-general store in models of working memory. Baddeley included such a store in an updated version of the influential multiple component model (2000), but it is still unknown how this new component interacts with better-known working memory components. Using cross-domain objects (letters in spatial locations) for memoranda, the following experiments aimed to learn whether domain-specific and domain-general stores can be used concurrently, and in doing so to better understand how components of a working memory system interact. A critical finding shows that concurrent articulatory suppression impairs memory for integrated cross-domain objects that include spatial location features, but does not affect spatial locations when they are represented as isolated features. This evidence is interpreted as support for a domain-general store capable of accommodating different representations for spatial materials and capable of interfacing with verbal rehearsal mechanisms, depending on memory demands.