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Last-Modified:15-Sep-08 11:51:12. JST

SAITO, Satoru

Affiliation:Graduate School of Education
Title:Associate Professor

My research examines the cognitive functions that underpin executive control. Specifically, it focuses on the endogenous processes that regulate mental activities, including those that inhibit the production of habitual behavioral responses under inappropriate circumstances. The ability to match human reactions with the particular goals in individual situations enables the sort of behavioral and cognitive flexibility that promotes survival. One of the most important psychological constructs in this context is Working Memory (WM), which supports the temporary storage of relevant information. WM constitutes an integral component in the functioning of executive control. Consequently, our research group has been conducting the following projects:
(1) The role of verbal WM in task-switching paradigms, which could tap a type of executive control, has served as the primary focus of my laboratory (e.g., Saeki & Saito, 2004a, 2004b; Saeki, Saito, & Kawaguchi, 2006). Our recent work has led to theoretical developments that emphasize the principal roles played by task set binding and serial order control in the control of action.
(2) The mechanisms and factors that underlie binding and serial order memory are also key research areas (e.g., Saito, Logie, Morita, & Law, 2008).
(3) The functions and organizations of the phonological loop, a subsystem that supports the verbal substrates of WM, constitute additional targets for our experimental research (e.g., Saito & Baddeley, 2004). Therefore, dual-task methodologies and correlational investigations have revealed strong links between segmental and suprasegmantal information in the phonological loop (e.g., Saito & Ishio, 1998; Saito, 2001).
(4) Furthermore, collaborative work on developmental changes in the ability of children to repeat nonwords has pointed to the essential role played by suprasegmental information in the short-term maintenance of phonology (Yuzawa & Saito, 2006).
(5) Our group has also confirmed that phonology plays an important role in semantic access (Morita & Saito, 2007). This line of research could facilitate understanding the phonological activation of the semantics that, in turn, drive thought and action.
(6) WM span is another area of research interest in my laboratory. Theoretical and experimental investigations in this domain should provide crucial data regarding the mechanisms of forgetting (e.g., Maehara & Saito, 2007; Saito, Jarrold, & Riby, in press; Saito & Miyake, 2004).
(7) The mechanisms that support general memory functions are also an important area of interest for us. Phenomena such as collaborative remembering (e.g., Takahashi & Saito, 2004) and the superior memory skills demonstrated by memorists (e.g., Takahashi, Shimizu, Saito, & Tomoyori, 2006) has not only highlighted the flexibility inherent in human learning processes but also hold the potential to enrich conceptualization of executive function.

In addition to the published work described above - most of them are based on international joint projects, our group is intensively collaborating with other oversea research institutions on memory, language, and executive control:
(8) We have established a strong research link with Neuroscience and Aphasia Research Unit or NARU led by Professor Lambon Ralph at the University of Manchester where I hold an Honorary Readership. This research team, supported by the Royal Society International Joint Project Grant, examines the impacts of semantic memory on various cognitive processes through neuroscientific and experimental paradigms.
(9) We have developed collaborations with Dr. Towse's Lab at Lancaster University, Department of Psychology with which Graduate School of Education, Kyoto University has established a formal research exchange partnership. This research team, supported by Japan Society of the Promotion of Science and the Global COE program, pursues examinations of issues on working memory capacity and collaborative executive control.

Recent Publications
Saito, S., Jarrold, C., & Riby, D. M. (in press). Exploring the forgetting mechanisms in working memory: Evidence from a reasoning span test. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.
Saito, S., Logie, R. H., Morita, A., & Law, A. (2008). Visual and phonological similarity effects in verbal immediate serial recall: A test with Kanji materials. Journal of Memory and Language, 59, 1-17.
Maehara, Y., & Saito, S. (2007). The relationship between processing and storage in working memory span: Not two sides of the same coin. Journal of Memory and Language, 56, 212-228.
Morita, A., & Saito, S. (2007). The homophone effect in semantic access tasks using Kanji words: Its relation to the articulatory suppression effect. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 581-600.
Saito, S., & Towse, J. N. (2007). Working memory as a construct in cognitive science: An illustrious past and a highly promising future. Psychologia, 50, 69-75.
Saeki, E., Saito, S., & Kawaguchi, J. (2006). Effects of response-stimulus interval manipulation and articulatory suppression on task switching. Memory, 14, 965-976.
Saito, S. (2006). Memory function and short-term store as a psychological construct: Implications of a working memory framework. Japanese Journal of Psychonomic Science, 25, 53-60.
Takahashi, M., Shimizu, H., Saito, S., & Tomoyori, H. (2006). One percent ability and ninety-nine percent perspiration: A study of a Japanese memorist. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32, 1195-1200.
Yuzawa, M., & Saito, S. (2006). The role of prosody and long-term phonological knowledge in Japanese children's nonword repetition performance. Cognitive Development, 21, 146-157.
Saeki, E., & Saito, S. (2004). Effect of articulatory suppression on task switching performance: Implications for models of working memory. Memory,12, 257-271.
Saeki, E., & Saito, S. (2004). The role of the phonological loop in task switching performance: The effect of articulatory suppression in the alternating runs paradigm. Psychologia, 47, 35-43.
Saito, S. & Baddeley, A. D. (2004). Irrelevant sound disrupts speech production: Exploring the relationship between short-term memory and experimentally induced slips of the tongue. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57A, 1309-1340.
Saito, S. & Miyake, A. (2004). On the nature of forgetting and the processing-storage relationship in reading span performance. Journal of Memory and Language, 50, 425-443.
Takahashi, M. & Saito, S. (2004). Does test delay eliminate collaborative inhibition? Memory, 12, 722-731.

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