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Working memory for sign language – Verbal working memory in the visuospatial domain
Linköping University, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research. Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. (HEAD)
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Profound hearing loss from an early age influences the course of cognitive development. For many deaf people, sign language may be the natural communication choice. This means that verbal expression takes place in the visuospatial domain and this in turn has consequences in terms of neurocognitive architecture. Working memory is a cognitive function that is fundamental to communication in that it supports the short-term storage and on-line processing of information coming from the senses or retrieved from long-term memory. If we are to understand communication, we must understand working memory and its relationship to the sensory information underpinning communication. Signed languages are natural languages whose structure can be described in terms of phonology, morphology, semantics, syntax and pragmatics just like any spoken language. These factors make sign language an excellent tool for studying the neurocognitive organization of working memory when the sensory communication modality is visuospatial rather than auditory. Comparison of verbal working memory across auditory and visuospatial domains allows us to distinguish modality-specific components while comparison of verbal and non-linguistic working memory in the visuospatial domain allows us to distinguish specifically linguistic components in this domain. Work to date shows modality-specific differences in working memory processing relating to the organization of short-term storage and that it is semantic content rather than phonological structure that distinguishes verbal from non-linguistic working memory in the visuospatial domain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
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Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91771OAI: diva2:619039
Cognitive Hearing Science for Communication, 16-19 June 2013, Linköping, Sweden
Available from: 2013-05-01 Created: 2013-05-01 Last updated: 2015-03-06

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