Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Continuing Commentary
Commentary on Daniel S. Ruchkin, Jordan Grafman, Katherine Cameron, & Rita S. Berndt (2003). Working memory retention systems: A state of activated long-term memory. BBS 26(6):709–777.

Hidden operators of mental attention applying on LTM give the illusion of a separate working memory

Juan Pascual-Leone a1
a1 Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada [email protected]


The authors' results support a functionalist conception of working memory: a manifold repertoire of schemes/schemas (long-term memory) and a small set of general-purpose “hidden operators.” Using some of these operators I define mental (i.e., endogenous) attention. Then, analyzing two of the authors' unexplained important findings, I illustrate the mental-attention model's explanatory power. Multivariate methodology that varies developmental, task differences, and individual differences is recommended.