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Attentional and non-attentional systems in the maintenance of verbal information in working memory: the executive and phonological loops

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Review article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Camos Valerie, Barrouillet Pierre,
Project What is attentional refreshing?
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Review article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume (Issue) 8
Page(s) 900
Title of proceedings Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
DOI 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00900

Open Access


Working memory is the structure devoted to the maintenance of information at short term during concurrent processing activities. In this respect, the question regarding the nature of the mechanisms and systems fulfilling this maintenance function is of particular importance and has received various responses in the recent past. In the time-based resource-sharing (TBRS) model, we suggest that only two systems sustain the maintenance of information at the short term, counteracting the deleterious effect of temporal decay and interference. A non-attentional mechanism of verbal rehearsal, similar to the one described by Baddeley in the phonological loop model, uses language processes to reactivate phonological memory traces. Besides this domain-specific mechanism, an executive loop allows the reconstruction of memory traces through an attention-based mechanism of refreshing. The present paper reviews evidence of the involvement of these two independent systems in the maintenance of verbal memory items.