Research Topics

My initial central research was categorization. Since 1990 my core interest has moved towards the role working memory plays in cognition. This results in two kinds of research efforts.
  1. Clarification of the notion and the mechanisms of working memory.

    The working memory model of Baddeley & Hitch is taken as a heuristic device for these efforts.
    • First and foremost, the notion of central executive needs reconceptualization. Thinking of the central executive as a synonym for executive functions, does not help because the concept of executive functions is equally vague. Fractionation of the central executive in a number of logically separate mechanisms may be a useful strategy. In our group, we prefer still another strategy, namely the search for processing components that require controlled processing for their executive and can be considered as markers of executive control. Our hypothesis is that response selection, input and output monitoring, memory updating, response inhibition, interference control, task set maintenance, are part of this set of controlled processing components. Thus far, some evidence has been collected supporting this hypothesis.
    • The architecture of working memory is also one of my concerns. In particular, the nature of visuo-spatial working memory has been a focus.
    • Memory for order seems to be an important aspect of working memory. Coding of order, and whether it is modality-specific, or even working-memory-specific is also a topic in our recent work.
  2. Interrelationships of working memory mechanisms with a variety of cognitive tasks.

    In fact, working memory plays an important supportive and mediating role in a wide range of cognitive tasks. My research group is studying this role in
    • reasoning
    • mental arithmetic
    • timing, in particular time estimation
    • saccadic eye movements
    • language comprehension
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