Working memory may be defined as the system for the temporary maintenance and manipulation of information, necessary for the performance of such complex cognitive activities as comprehension, learning, and reasoning. Used in this sense, the term refers to an area of research that may or may not prove to be dependent on a single coherent system. Such a system is proposed within a broad and relatively speculative overview of human memory that emphasizes the putative role of working memory. This is followed by a brief account of a particular model of working memory, and a more detailed discussion of the way in which the various subcomponents of the model relate to other aspects of memory and cognition.

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