Chapter 69 – Working Memory and Language


Working memory refers to the temporary retention of information that has just arrived to the senses or has been retrieved from long-term memory. Although internal representations of external stimuli have a natural tendency to decay over time or with interference, they can be kept “in mind” through the action of memory rehearsal strategies and can be subjected to various operations that manipulate information in the service of ongoing behavior. A fundamental debate about the neural basis of working memory for linguistic information is whether it is supported by a dedicated brain system in its own right or whether it emerges from the very same neural circuitry that underpins basic online language processing. Although the answer to this question remains a matter of debate, recent cognitive neuroscience research suggests that verbal working memory can be viewed as a functional adaptation of core neural substrates that enable the perception, comprehension, and production of speech.

Neurobiology of Language