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Memory Essay: Interference between auditory and visual memory

Rdunn07 1 / -  
Apr 24, 2017   #1
Hey guys, my name is Retlaw Dunn, I'm an undergraduate student at Florida International University currently enrolled in a Memory Improvement class. I was required to write a research paper about the interference between auditory and visual memory. I was just hoping if somebody could proof read it and give some honest feed back on how I could improve the essay. Thanks for the help!

Memory Paper Instructions:

The memory paper will test your ability to think, generate hypotheses, and, in general, apply psychological science. The task will be to take a position in a current debate in memory science. You will then have to support your position by drawing on the data that are available on the topic.

Choose arguments that support your position, and refute arguments that may support the other position. You will be graded on your ability to do both. APA style is encouraged but not required.


Interference Between Visual and Auditory Working Memory

Retlaw N. Dunn
Florida International University


In the present academia of psychology, the visual and auditory working memory processes are defined as cognition systems which engage with the active contents of consciousness (Schwartz 2014). Harmonized by the world-renowned memory psychologist Alan Baddeley, the modus operandi of our working memory, which he efficiently compartmentalizes into the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad, is handily separated on opposite spectrums of our cognitive faculties. The episodic buffer, like a traffic cop, organizes overlapping of incoming stimuli, and the central executive coordinates the activity of the visual and auditory working memory systems (Schwartz 2014). Thus, making it difficult for them to interfere with each other. However, the purpose of this research is to challenge the conclusions of Alan Baddeley's findings, proving that there can be significant interference between these two mechanisms of working memory, the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad. This report will delve into a bevy of different articles with evidence from experimentation proving that excessive load on the faculties of working memory does cause interference between them.

Keywords: Visual working memory, auditory working memory, visuospatial sketchpad, phonological loop, episodic buffer, central executive
Interference Between Visual and Auditory Working Memory

[Visuospatial Sketchpad and Auditory Cross Domain Competition]

In an investigation by Candice C Morey and Nelson Cowan, the verbal and visual working memories of human cognition were tested for competition between them. They went about this by implementing a simple dual-task experiment, an experiment which was designed much like the Luck and Vogel (1997) experiment which consisted of only two-digit memory loads where subjects were asked to balance their working memory with audible and visual tasks, however their experiments pushed the limits of the human faculties of attention with a seven-digit sequence task (Cowan and Morey 2003). The twenty-four undergraduates undergoing experimentation were asked to listen to digit sequences while viewing visual stimuli of four, six, or eight squares which were aimlessly configurated on a gray background. Each square was one of seven colors and two arrays were given for each trial. The undergraduates were then asked to press the key "s" when the square in question was the exact replica of the square before it and "d" for when it was a different square (Cowan et al). For the array of seven and two digit spans, the percentage for replying without error was 45% and 98% respectively. So, it was clear that raising the load for the cognitive task intermingling the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad raised the error.

[Central Capacity Limit to Simultaneous Storage]

Secondly, a series of experiments by J. Scott Saults and Nelson Cowan tested the central capacity limit of simultaneous storage in auditory and visual working memory. As proposed by Cowan in 2001, if there is a restraint on the modalities working memory by the central capacity these restraints should be pertinent to single as well as concurrent modalities for informational influxes of contrasting modalities. For the experiment the procedure was done in 45 to 50 minute intervals for each participant. Auditory stimulus was provided through an audio card. Each of the auditory stimuli were made of a conglomerate of four words, a word for each of the four speakers present, and the words were of the digits 1 through 9. Visual output was provided on a combination of four or eight colored squares arranged aimlessly. For the bimodal tests which are the crux of the attention for this report, the auditory and optic arrays were performed simultaneously. Participants were instructed to contrast a pair of word groups and squares and try to catch differences between them, they were to press the "I" key if they caught a difference and a "z" key if they didn't catch a difference.

The data gathered from the experiment concluded that further load on auditory and working memory systems shows a phenomenon of competition between working memory modalities. There was a diminishing of the number of recognitions recalled correctly from visual stimulus by an average of approximately 0.69 items. Which is in the same range of the duel-task interference reported by Cowan and Morey (2005) stated formerly in the report. Displaying a cross-domain interference during a diminished memory load. The experimenters also added sensory masks to the experiment in order to get a more precise measure of the working memory modalities. This is because the application of mnemonic devices by the subjects being experimented on could have skewed the results to allow for better recall during the experimentation. Thus, the experimenters hoped to exterminate any modality-specific or sensory forms of memory. Adding the sensory masks between the stimuli of the probe and the initial created an augmenting force in the cost of dual-tasks. This created a trade-off for the working memory faculties of auditory and visual working memory.

[Potential Mechanisms of Interference]

Lastly, in investigation done by Torkel Klingberg Positron emission tomography was implemented to record blood flow in certain areas of the brain while subjects underwent experimentation of an auditory working memory task, a visual working memory task, a dual-task, or tasks performed simultaneously of the two different working memory systems, and a control condition. Findings from the experimentation concluded that a cognitive mechanism inhibiting the progress of the two working memory faculties while being simultaneously implemented couldn't be ruled out because of a diminishing of blood flow in certain areas of the brain during the dual-task compared to the single-task trials. Since blood flow was lessened during these tasks cognition was impaired in comparison to when blood flow normal. This shows evidence against the notion that the auditory and visual working memory modalities can work simultaneously without any drawback as presented in the Memory: Foundations and Applications textbook by Bennet L. Schwartz.


Finally, it can be concluded from the above studies that there can be interference between the visuospatial sketchpad and the phonological loop. From the beginning study lengthening the range of the digit span task quickly diminished the effectiveness of working memory. From the second study observed, the bimodal capacity seemed to be limited by central attention, or what Alan Baddeley dubbed as the episodic buffer, and thereby underwent significant limitation in the quantity of stimuli that could be juggled synchronously. The last and final study regarding cerebral blood flow in areas which control the compartments of working memory showed that blood flow during dual-tasks was diminished in certain parts of the brain. Therefore, proving that a cause of interference between the visual and auditory working memory modalities cannot be ruled out.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,249 4652  
Apr 25, 2017   #2
Not being an expert in this field, I feel that you have somehow, managed to educate me about a memory process that I did not know existed. For a piece of research, that is an excellent result because you managed to keep the attention of a lay person on what you had to say and somehow, expressed yourself simply to be understood by most readers. The research presented seems to lack a personal supporting statement though, which makes it difficult to believe that you are also convinced of the results of the experiments. I would have liked to see some sort of personal justification or supporting statement via the introduction of your personal experience that would have aligned with the results of the experiments you presented. By the way, you need to proof read the essay for sentence structure errors. You are missing a few periods in strategic places. Aside from these observations, the work that you did is good and should garner you a good grade in the end.

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