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Explicit processing demands reveal language modality specific organization of working memory
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Cognition, Development and Disability. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, ISSN 1081-4159, E-ISSN 1465-7325, Vol. 13, no 4, 466-484 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The working memory model for Ease of Language Understanding(ELU) predicts that processing differences between languagemodalities emerge when cognitive demands are explicit. Thisprediction was tested in three working memory experiments withparticipants who were Deaf Signers (DS), Hearing Signers (HS),or Hearing Nonsigners (HN). Easily nameable pictures were usedas stimuli to avoid confounds relating to sensory modality.Performance was largely similar for DS, HS, and HN, suggestingthat previously identified intermodal differences may be dueto differences in retention of sensory information. When explicitprocessing demands were high, differences emerged between DSand HN, suggesting that although working memory storage in bothgroups is sensitive to temporal organization, retrieval is notsensitive to temporal organization in DS. A general effect ofsemantic similarity was also found. These findings are discussedin relation to the ELU model.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 13, no 4, 466-484 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13356DOI: 10.1093/deafed/enn005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13356DiVA: diva2:20475
Note

On the day of the defence date the title of this article was Space for compensation: Further support for a visuospatial array for temporary storage in working memory for deaf native signers.

Available from: 2005-09-21 Created: 2005-09-21 Last updated: 2017-12-13
In thesis
1. Modalities of Mind: Modality-specific and nonmodality-specific aspects of working memory for sign and speech
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Modalities of Mind: Modality-specific and nonmodality-specific aspects of working memory for sign and speech
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Language processing is underpinned by working memory and while working memory for signed languages has been shown to display some of the characteristics of working memory for speech-based languages, there are a range of anomalous effects related to the inherently visuospatial modality of signed languages. On the basis of these effects, four research questions were addressed in a series of studies:

1. Are differences in working memory storage for sign and speech reflected in neural representation?

2. Do the neural networks supporting speech-sign switching during a working memory task reflect executive or semantic processes?

3. Is working memory for sign language enhanced by a spatial style of information presentation?

4. Do the neural networks supporting word reversal indicate tongue-twisting or mind-twisting?

The results of the studies showed that:

1. Working memory for sign and speech is supported by a combination of modality-specific and nonmodality-specific neural networks.

2. Switching between sign and speech during a working memory task is supported by semantic rather than executive processes.

3. Working memory performance in educationally promoted native deaf signers is enhanced by a spatial style of presentation.

4. Word reversal is a matter of mind-twisting, rather than tongue-twisting.

These findings indicate that working memory for sign and speech has modality-specific components as well as nonmodality-specific components. Modality-specific aspects can be explained in terms of Wilson’s (2001) sensorimotor account, which is based on the component model (Baddeley, 2000), given that the functionality of the visuospatial sketchpad is extended to include language processing. Nonmodality-specific working memory processing is predicted by Rönnberg’s (2003) model of cognitive involvement in language processing. However, the modality-free, cross-modal and extra-modal aspects of working memory processing revealed in the present work can be explained in terms of the central executive and the episodic buffer, providing the functionality and neural representation of the episodic buffer are extended.

A functional ontology is presented which ties cognitive processes to their neural representation, along with a model explaining modality-specific findings relating to sign language cognition. Predictions of the ontology and the model are discussed in relation to future work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2005. 118 + papers I-V p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 337Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 18
Keyword
Cognition, sign language, working memory, fMRI, PET, disability research, Korttidsminne, teckenspråk
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-3942 (URN)91-85457-10-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-10-21, Key 1, Key-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2005-09-21 Created: 2005-09-21 Last updated: 2017-11-06Bibliographically approved

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Rudner, MaryRönnberg, Jerker

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