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The phonological-similarity effect differentiates between two working memory tasks.
Working memory is a set of interactive cognitive processes that maintain information on-line and available for analysis. Part of the system is specialized for maintaining verbal information, a core component of which is thought to be a phonological store. On the basis of the study of patients with acquired brain lesions, this store has been localized to the supramarginal and angular gyri of the speech-dominant hemisphere, and some functional neuroimaging studies support this localization. However, other imaging studies localize the phonological store in a more dorsal region of the parietal lobe. To reconcile these findings, we examined the phonological-similarity effect in two different tasks. A phonological-similarity effect was observed only in the task that involved sequential presentation and explicit verbal rehearsal. We conclude that at least one possible source of the differences in brain activation between different working memory tasks may be differences in phonological processing.