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Open AccessArticle

Professional or Amateur? The Phonological Output Buffer as a Working Memory Operator

1
Language and Brain Lab, Sagol School of Neuroscience and School of Education, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv-Yafo 69978, Israel
2
SISSA—Cognitive Neuroscience, Via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Current address: Ecole Normale Superieure, rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris, France.
Entropy 2020, 22(6), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/e22060662
Received: 8 May 2020 / Revised: 10 June 2020 / Accepted: 12 June 2020 / Published: 15 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue What Limits Working Memory Performance?)
The Phonological Output Buffer (POB) is thought to be the stage in language production where phonemes are held in working memory and assembled into words. The neural implementation of the POB remains unclear despite a wealth of phenomenological data. Individuals with POB impairment make phonological errors when they produce words and non-words, including phoneme omissions, insertions, transpositions, substitutions and perseverations. Errors can apply to different kinds and sizes of units, such as phonemes, number words, morphological affixes, and function words, and evidence from POB impairments suggests that units tend to substituted with units of the same kind—e.g., numbers with numbers and whole morphological affixes with other affixes. This suggests that different units are processed and stored in the POB in the same stage, but perhaps separately in different mini-stores. Further, similar impairments can affect the buffer used to produce Sign Language, which raises the question of whether it is instantiated in a distinct device with the same design. However, what appear as separate buffers may be distinct regions in the activity space of a single extended POB network, connected with a lexicon network. The self-consistency of this idea can be assessed by studying an autoassociative Potts network, as a model of memory storage distributed over several cortical areas, and testing whether the network can represent both units of word and signs, reflecting the types and patterns of errors made by individuals with POB impairment. View Full-Text
Keywords: phonological output buffer; Potts network; cortex; latching dynamics; working memory phonological output buffer; Potts network; cortex; latching dynamics; working memory
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Haluts, N.; Trippa, M.; Friedmann, N.; Treves, A. Professional or Amateur? The Phonological Output Buffer as a Working Memory Operator. Entropy 2020, 22, 662.

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