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Is Rehearsal an Effective Maintenance Strategy for Working Memory?

Authors
  • Oberauer, Klaus1
  • 1 Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Switzerland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Trends in cognitive sciences
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2019
Volume
23
Issue
9
Pages
798–809
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2019.06.002
PMID: 31301953
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

A common assumption in theories of working memory is that a maintenance process - broadly referred to as rehearsal - is involved in keeping novel information available. This review evaluates the effectiveness of three forms of rehearsal: articulatory rehearsal, attention-based refreshing, and elaborative rehearsal. Evidence for the effectiveness of these strategies is surprisingly weak. Experimental manipulations of articulatory rehearsal have yielded working memory benefits in children, but not in adults; experimentally induced refreshing prioritizes the refreshed information, but yields little benefit compared to a baseline without induced refreshing; and elaborative rehearsal improves episodic long-term memory but has little effect on working memory. Thus, although adults spontaneously use some of these strategies, rehearsal might not play a causal role in keeping information in working memory. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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