Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Attention and MemoryAn Integrated Framework$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nelson Cowan

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780195119107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195119107.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 November 2019

Memory activation and attentional focusing

Memory activation and attentional focusing

(p.77) 3. Memory activation and attentional focusing
Attention and Memory

Nelson Cowan

Oxford University Press

There have been wide-spread disagreements about the nature of short-term memory. What distinguishes it from long-term memory? Is the information in short-term memory forgotten as a function of time (memory decay)? Is it susceptible to a limit in capacity, the number of items that can be held at once? This chapter proposes that there are two mechanisms of short-term memory: the activated portion of long-term memory, and the subset of activated elements that are in the focus of attention. It is suggested that the activated portion has a time limit (as well as being susceptible to interference) whereas the focus of attention has a capacity limit. Some unresolved issues with that approach are discussed, along with the neurophysiology of short-term memory. The commonly-used term “working memory” is conceived as a combination of both short-term memory mechanisms, along with direction from central executive processes.

Keywords:   capacity limit, central executive, interference, long-term memory, memory-decay, short-term memory, time limit, working memory

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .