Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Caplan & Waters: Working memory and sentence comprehension

Accounting for the fine structure of syntactic working memory: Similarity-based interference as a unifying principle

Richard L. Lewis a1
a1 Department of Computer and Information Science and Center for Cognitive Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210


A promising approach to more refined models consistent with the Caplan & Waters hypothesis is based on similarity-based interference, a general principle that applies across working memory domains. This may explain both the fine details of syntactic working memory phenomena and the gross fractionation for which Caplan & Waters have found evidence. Detailed models of syntactic processing that embody similarity-based interference fare well cross-linguistically.