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Visuospatial bootstrapping: Evidence for binding of verbal and spatial information in working memory

By Stephen Darling and Jelena Havelka


Traditionally, working memory is held to comprise separate subcomponents dedicated to the temporary storage of visuospatial and verbal information. More recently, the addition of an episodic buffer has been proposed where information from multiple memory systems is integrated. We report an experiment designed to investigate the effects of providing additional visuospatial information in a verbal working memory task. When to-be-remembered digits were arranged in a horizontal line, performance was no better than when digits were presented in a single location. However, when digits were presented in a keyboard array, performance was significantly better. It is argued that this pattern is hard to reconcile with the traditional model of working memory, and that the “spatial bootstrapping” effect provides evidence towards models of working memory that incorporate an episodic buffer

Year: 2010
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