What is the relationship between phonological short-term memory and speech processing?

Trends Cogn Sci. 2006 Nov;10(11):480-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2006.09.002. Epub 2006 Sep 25.


Traditionally, models of speech comprehension and production do not depend on concepts and processes from the phonological short-term memory (pSTM) literature. Likewise, in working memory research, pSTM is considered to be a language-independent system that facilitates language acquisition rather than speech processing per se. We discuss couplings between pSTM, speech perception and speech production, and we propose that pSTM arises from the cycling of information between two phonological buffers, one involved in speech perception and one in speech production. We discuss the specific role of these processes in speech processing, and argue that models of speech perception and production, and our understanding of their neural bases, will benefit from incorporating them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Comprehension / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Phonetics*
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Serial Learning / physiology
  • Sign Language
  • Speech Perception / physiology*
  • Speech* / physiology
  • Verbal Learning / physiology