Specialized Verbal Working Memory for Language Comprehension

David Caplan, Gloria Waters, Gayle L DeDe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter focuses on the working memory requirement of syntactic processing. It illustrates the working memory (WM) requirements associated with syntactic processing and then documents the existence of variability in the subject's efficiency in handling the demands. The relationship is explored as well as the individual differences in WM capacity. There is a focus on research into the WM demands of syntactic processing that has capitalized on the differences in the WM demands associated with processing sentences. Another approach to the study of the functional neuroanatomy of syntactic processing in sentence comprehension has been to compare PET activity associated with processing syntactically more complex objected-extracted sentences to that associated with simpler subjectextracted sentences. Experimental controls and counterbalances were used to ensure that the two conditions differed only along the syntactic dimension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVariation in Working Memory
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199847297, 9780195168648
Publication statusPublished - Mar 22 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Individual differences
  • Neuroanatomy
  • PET activity
  • Sentence comprehension
  • Syntactic processing
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Caplan, D., Waters, G., & DeDe, G. L. (2012). Specialized Verbal Working Memory for Language Comprehension. In Variation in Working Memory Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168648.003.0011