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Prosem Lecture: Verbal Working Memory as Language Skill
September 23, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Presenter: Maryellen MacDonald, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology and Language Sciences,University of Wisconsin-Madison
Topic: Verbal Working Memory as Language Skill
The concept of verbal working memory has been essential to theorizing in psycholinguistics, linguistics, and in communicative sciences and disorders, yet the theorizing suffers from vagueness and variability in what researchers mean when they refer to verbal working memory. I will suggest that verbal working memory can best be thought of as “language skill”, meaning that people who find themselves in a verbal working memory task co-opt their language perception, comprehension, and production processes to complete the task. I will discuss how this view differs from Baddeley’s classic multicomponent model of working memory and more modern “emergent” accounts, including ones that suggest that language processes are accomplishing some but not all components of working memory. I will present some data in favor of the language skill view and also discuss revised perspectives on what various working memory tasks measure.