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Short Term Memory Featured

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Allen, CM, Martin, RC, & Martin, N. (2012), “Relations between Short-term Memory Deficits, Semantic Processing, and Executive Function”, Aphasiology, 26(3): 428-461

Evidence from prior research suggests separable short-term memory buffers for maintenance of lexical-semantic and phonological information. This stems from the fact that some patients with aphasia demonstrate higher ability for retention of semantic information than phonological information while others show the reverse. Based on recent research information, some scientists hold that deficits to maintenance of semantic information in the short term memory are related to executive control abilities. In this study, the researchers had an aim to investigate the relationship between executive function abilities and phonological short term memory and semantic processing in such patients as certain prior research studies have suggested that semantic short term memory impairment and semantic processing are critically related to executive function deficits, specific or general.


The researchers recruited and tested 20 patients with short term memory deficits and aphasia on measures of short term retention, semantic processing, and executive function tasks, both simple and complex. The study found no relationship between short term memory and performance of executive functions, both simple and complex. However, phonological short term memory was found to be related to performance of executive functions in tasks with a verbal component.
This suggests that some tasks depend on maintaining or rehearsal phonological codes. Even though semantic short-term memory was not found to be related to executive function, the performance on semantic processing tasks was related to executive function. Perhaps, this is due to similar executive task requirements, in both executive function and semantic processing tasks. The implications of the study findings have implications for the interpretation on the influence of executive function in language processing tasks.
Hoffman, P, Jefferies, E., & Lambon Ralph, M. (2010), “Explaining semantic short-term memory deficits: Evidence from the critical role of semantic control”, Neoropsychologia, 49(3): 368-381

Hoffman, Jefferies, and Lambon Ralph sought to explore the proposition that manipulations of semantic control would influence the processing of semantic information in semantic short term memory patients. Semantic short term memory deficits are not selective and can occur as a result of mild disruption to the semantic control processes.

17 semantic short term memory patients were selected to take part in the study with 17 healthy participants with a mean age of 64 years recruited as controls. This study investigated four aspects of semantic control disorders including sensitivity to cues, resolving ambiguity between words, detecting weak semantic associations, and ignoring irrelevant information. All the functions were impaired in conditions requiring semantic control, regardless of the short term demands of the task. This implies existence of a mild, but task-general impairment in regulating semantic knowledge.

Through the re-interpretation of semantic short term memory patients, we can explain r apparent discriminatory deficits without the need for a specialized short term memory store. Instead, the authors conclude that semantic short term memory deficits occupy the mildest end of the spectrum of semantic disorders. This implies that deficits of semantic short-term memories are distinct and can be corrected through rehabilitation through actions that are based on the understanding of the mechanisms of memory tasks, as described in the study.


Jaaskelainen, LP, Ahveninen, J., & Sams, M. (2011), “Short term plastically as a neutral mechanism supporting memory and attentional functions”, Brain Research, 8(1422): 66-81
Many behavioral studies have defined distinct cognitive and perceptual functions in psychology such as short-term memory, sensory memory, and selective attention. However, this study examines and reviews evidence suggesting that some of these pre-defined functions may be supported by shared underlying neuronal mechanisms.

The study uses an integrative review of literature, a hypothetical model in which short term plasticity, in the form of transient center-excitatory and surround-inhibitory modulations form a generic processing principle that supports involuntary attention, sensory memory, selective learning, short term memory, and perceptual learning. This study proposes that there are continuums of memory representations, rather than discrete memory systems, from short-lived memories to conceptual lengthy representations, such as those reported by studies on behavior, with respect to short-term memories.

In conclusion, the researchers review literature about short term plasticity and perceptual and cognitive functions. The conclusions are that short-term plasticity may support both attentional and memory functions. In addition, short-term plasticity may be a prerequisite for perceptual learning. In addition, the findings may imply possible contributions of short term memory and executive function deficits in treatment regimes. In line with prior research evidences, treatment regimes and rehabilitation must be evidence-based


Johnson, S., Marro, J. & Torres, J. (2013), “Robust Short-term Memory without Synaptic Learning”, PLoS One, 8(1): e50276
Short term memory in the brain cannot be explained the same way that long term memory can be explained as a gradual modification of synaptic weights. This is because short term memories happen too quickly. However, theories that are founded on cellular bi-stability do not explain the fact that noisy neurons can store information collectively, in a robust manner. The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how a sufficiently clustered network made up of simple-model neurons can be induced instantly into states that are meta-stable and capable of storing information for a short time (a few seconds).

The mechanism is robust depending on different types of networks and neural models. This mechanism can form a viable means available to the brain for short term and sensory memory without the need for symptomatic learning. Phenomena that are relevant to psychology and neurobiology including local synchronization of synaptic inputs emerge naturally from this mechanism. Therefore, this study recommends further experiments to test the viability of the mechanism in a more biological setting. The complexity of the neural models and networks suggests a requirement for additional evidence that can guide in creating effective solutions for rehabilitating intelligence deficits.


Kaushanskaya, M., Marian, V. & Yoo, J. (2011) “Gender Differences in Adult Word Learning”, Acta Psychologica, 137(1): 24-35
In prior research, women perform well on short-term memory tasks better than men. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the gender differences observed in past studies are related to the involvement of long-term memory in the process of learning. The study findings indicated that women out-performed men on phonologically familiar novel or vocabulary words. However, there was no difference as regards phonologically-unfamiliar words.

Margarita Kaushanskaya, Victoria Marian, and Jeewon Yoo performed two experiments using a sample of 68 participants, 34 women and 34 men. The study used a 3-way mixed design to investigate gender difference with respect to vocabulary learning, with respect to recall accuracy and accuracy of recognition. Experiment 1 investigated inter-gender differences in vocabulary learning while experiment 2 used a within-subjects design for the purposes of confirming the findings of experiment 1.
The implication of the study is that women are likely to acquire native-language phonological knowledge involving novel word learning. Perhaps, this explains why girls and ladies are considered to have the capacity to learn more languages faster than boys and men. In school, girls and ladies often score higher than their male counterparts.


Potter, MC (2012), “Conceptual Short Term Memory in Perception and Thought” Frontiers in Psychology, 3, (113): 1-11
Perception is continuous with cognition. Information is passed from the sense organs to the brain, and undergoes a transformation at every stage, combining with input from other senses, activating memories, which leads to conscious experiences and actions determined by one’s goals. Conceptual short term memory (CTSM) is a construct that express the relationship between perceptual and conceptual processes. It is a mental buffer and processor through which current stimuli and associated concepts from long-term memory are represented briefly enabling meaningful structures or patterns to be identified. CTSM is characterized by its ill-defined capacity and unconsciousness representative of everyday experience.

This paper discusses the qualitative review of evidence of the whole cycle or process involving identification of perceptual stimuli, memory recruitment, structuring, and consolidation in the long term memory and forgetting of non-structured material. The underlying aim was to review the evidence for such a process and the implications for the relation between perception and cognition.
This study has implications in the understanding of the way in which perception relates to cognition. The conclusion of the discussion helps in gaining knowledge of conception of tasks through the mechanisms and processes of the brain. This is very fundamental for rehabilitation support services, including socialization and interactions that help correct the memory deficits.


Rolls, ET, Dempere-Marco, L, & Deco, G. (2013), “Holding Items in the Short Term Memory: A Neural Mechanism”, PLoS One, 8(4): e61078
Short term memory has a capacity to maintain several items simultaneously. This study demonstrates the way in which the number of short-term representations that can be maintained through synaptic facilitation similar to the one found in the prefrontal context. The study findings conclude that the system can maintain only a few short-term memories active, in the same network, without synaptic facilitation.
In terms of the study methods, the investigators conducted simulations involving an integrate-and-fire network with 10 short memory populations of neurons. The aim was to maintain the activity of the network during a period of delay after application of a cue.

The research findings have implications for therapeutic actions. Knowledge of how multiple items can be held simultaneously, in the short term memory, is essential for treatment. The findings may have relevance to language implementation in the brain. The study suggests new approaches to gaining knowledge and treating the decline in short-term memory that normally occur with human aging. This is applicable in rehabilitating children with memory depreciation and enhancing their performance in an examination. For instance, this is particularly essential for learners because they are required to recall what they learn in class and answer questions, in examinations and other school activities.


Siegel, M., Warden, MR, & Miller, E.K. (2009), “Phase-dependent neural coding of objects in the short term memory”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA, 106(50): 21341-21346
Siegel, Warden, and Miller seek to demonstrate that neuronal information about two objects maintained in the short term memory is enhanced at specific levels of underlying oscillatory activity. The ability to maintain multiple items in memory is fundamental to behavioral intelligence. However, its neural basis is relatively not understood. Some researchers have suggested that multiple objects may be help in memory by oscillatory activity in neuronal networks, but there is little direct evidence. The study results suggest that oscillatory neuronal synchronization mediates coding of memorized items in the prefrontal cortex that is phase dependent. Encoding of memorized items at distinct phases might play a role for disambiguating information concerning multiple items in the short term memory.

The experiment was performed on two rhesus monkeys, one female and one male. The monkeys were implanted with head bolt under the effect of anesthesia, according to the standards for animal research. The monkeys performed two-item short term memory tasks. The tasks required the monkeys to remember the tasks after a brief delay. MRI scans were used as recording techniques. In terms of the implications, the study adds to previous research observations that the mean spiking level of the pre-frontal neurons reflects interactions of multiple objects in short-term memory. This conclusion supports the hypothesis that oscillatory synchrony might underlie a phase-dependent neural coding and the proposition that the distinct phase alignment of information relative to population oscillations may play a role of disambiguating individual short term memory items.

Summary and Application

The central theme of these research articles is the role and mechanisms of the short term memory in perception and cognition. While some studies have discussed research evidences on the mechanisms under which multiple items are retained in the brain, others have discussed the specific elements that demonstrate the interaction of multiple objects in the short term memory. This knowledge is particularly important in making sense of essential elements of behavior such as behavioral intelligence. My cousin loved sports and loved studying, as well. She performed in lessons and attained exceptional grades in examinations.
However, her capacity had been deteriorating slowly until last year when she attained her lowest ever grade. She studies but does not perform well in examinations.
The perception, cognition, and maintenance role of the short term memory can explain the deterioration in her examinations. The studies that explain how multiple items can be retained in the short term memory of the brain simultaneously can help in understanding this unique behavior. Perhaps, the findings may have relevance to tasks such as language interpretation in the brain. The study suggests new approaches to gaining knowledge and treating the decline perception and cognition. Researchers have also discussed in some of the articles summarized how mechanisms in the brain can facilitate encoding of memorized items and so help in disambiguating items, in the short term memory.

In preparing the annotated bibliography, I have learnt a lot about short-term memory and associated problems. I now appreciate the different mechanisms that influence the tasks of the brain. The same way that there is a relationship between learning and understanding, there is a relationship between recalling and understanding. When we understand an item of learning we are in a position to recall it better. Gaining knowledge of an item of learning enables us to store the information appropriately, in the long term memory. Knowledge of mechanisms of memory in the short term memory enables us to transform information into the long term memory. According to research evidences, information held in the short term memory can be recalled even after a long term if it is rehearsed adequately. The school studies place much demand on visual and auditory memory, the two subsystems of the short-term memory. The bottom line is the ability to hold multiple items in the short term memory. This is essentially significant for behavioral intelligence, which is a key factor in school learning and performance in examinations.

I am particularly concerned with this topic because the therapy form short term memory treatment cannot be limited to the hospital. Having knowledge of how elements of the short term memory interact can help in contributing to the rehabilitation efforts. In addition, understanding my cousin’s perception, cognition, and recall capabilities can help in determining the problem, possibly. After treatment, it is essential to help the patient to cope with the recovery process so as to return to her sports and class activities. Providing adequate care at home is essential for supporting the psychological input of the professional and ensuring that the patient does not fall back to the status of psychology. The bottom line is that knowledge of the different mechanisms of the way in which perception and cognition occur in the interventions targeted at correcting deficits in tasks, related to the functions.
In conclusion, accurate corrective mechanisms are those that are based on research evidence. This is the principal for all clinical therapeutic practices.

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