Lecturer's Précis - Morton (1981)

"The Status of Information Processing Models of Language"

Copyright Notice: This material was written and published in Wales by Derek J. Smith (Chartered Engineer). It forms part of a multifile e-learning resource, and subject only to acknowledging Derek J. Smith's rights under international copyright law to be identified as author may be freely downloaded and printed off in single complete copies solely for the purposes of private study and/or review. Commercial exploitation rights are reserved. The remote hyperlinks have been selected for the academic appropriacy of their contents; they were free of offensive and litigious content when selected, and will be periodically checked to have remained so. Copyright © 2002-2018, Derek J. Smith.


First published online 08:59 BST 1st May 2002, Copyright Derek J. Smith (Chartered Engineer). This version [2.0 - copyright] 09:00 BST 3rd July 2018.

An earlier version of this material appeared in Smith (1997; Chapter 5). It is repeated here in simplified form and supported with hyperlinks.


1 - Introduction

See firstly the supporting commentary for this material.

Morton's (1981) 21-Box Model: Here is Morton's (1981) expansion of the earlier processing models. It is a distillation of models going back to the early 1960s, including those by Morton himself (1964 - click here, 1979 - click here), Marshall and Newcombe (1966, 1973 - click here), and Morton and Patterson (1980). It was deliberately left uncaptioned in the original because it was intended to convey a general layout and level of complexity rather than to make specific points. Nevertheless, a central cluster of processes (feint grey), parallel input and output pathways, and several bypass and feedback routes can all clearly be seen, all of which are met again in later supermodels, such as those by Ellis and Young (1988) and Kay, Lesser, and Coltheart (1992).

If this diagram fails to load automatically, it may be accessed separately at



Redrawn from Morton (1981:388). This version Copyright © 2002, Derek J. Smith.

2 - References

See the Master References List