Language production and working memory


The role of working memory in language production is considered at different levels of planning. At the message level, there is mixed evidence regarding a role for short-term memory or working memory in discourse fluency and coherence and stronger evidence for a role in the production of referring expressions. A somewhat larger body of evidence exists with respect to the level of grammatical encoding, with studies on accessibility and agreement implicating effects of retrieval interference in working memory. Regarding scope of planning, evidence drawn primarily from brain-damaged patients suggests a role for memory capacity at the lexical-semantic level rather than phonological level in phrasal planning. In contrast, some findings from neurally intact individuals implicate multiword planning at the phonological level, perhaps implicating a phonological output buffer. Future work is needed to integrate findings from production planning with different approaches to working memory.

The Oxford Handbook of Language Production (pp. 120-131). Oxford University Press.