Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Working memory (WM) refers to the human capacity to encode, store, manipulate, and recall information.  A proper understanding of WM therefore provides essential insights into human cognition. This chapter reviews available research concerning the impact of deafness and sign language use on WM, much of which comes from the study of a single subcomponent of WM termed short-term memory (STM). We argue that excessive focus on STM (the ability to encode, store, and retrieve a sequence of unrelated words in serial order) to the exclusion of other WM subprocesses has caused an extreme interest in phonological coding at the expense of other known codes used in WM, in particular visual but also episodic codes. Deafness and use of a sign language may result in greater reliance on not only visual but also episodic coding, as compared to what is typically observed in hearing nonsigners. This multiple coding hypothesis calls into question whether the robust phonological bias described in hearing individuals should be taken by researchers, clinicians, and educators as the gold standard for deaf populations.

Keywords: working memory, deafness, sign language, short-term memory, digit span, phonological store, multiple coding hypothesis, episodic buffer

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.