Distinctions and similarities among working memory processes: an event-related potential study

Daniel S. Ruchkin*, Ray Johnson, Jordan Grafman, Howard Canoune, Walter Ritter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations


Working memory has been conceptualized as consiting of a number of components, such as an articulatory loop for rehearsing verbal material, a visuo-spatial sketch pad for maintaining visual images and a central executive that controls which information is made available for conscious processing. We recorded event-related brain potentials (ERPs) from normal human subjects while they maintained either visuo-spatial or phonological material in short-term memory for a 5-s interval. The results indicated that specialized brain systems for short-term storage of phonological and visuo-spatial information could be identified on the basis of marked differences between the topographies and morphologies of the ERP components elicited during these two types of short-term memory. The differences emerged during early encoding stages and continued through later retention stages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-66
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1992


  • Articulatory rehearsal
  • Event-related potential
  • Short-term memory
  • Slow wave
  • Visuo-spatial sketch pad
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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