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What is working memory capacity, and how can we measure it?


Wilhelm, Oliver; Hildebrandt, Andrea; Oberauer, Klaus (2013). What is working memory capacity, and how can we measure it? Frontiers in Psychology, 4:433.

Abstract

A latent variable study examined whether different classes of working-memory tasks measure the same general construct of working-memory capacity (WMC). Data from 270 subjects were used to examine the relationship between Binding, Updating, Recall-N-back, and Complex Span tasks, and the relations of WMC with secondary memory measures, indicators of cognitive control from two response-conflict paradigms (Simon task and Eriksen flanker task), and fluid intelligence. Confirmatory factor analyses support the concept of a general WMC factor. Results from structural-equation modeling show negligible relations of WMC with response-conflict resolution, and very strong relations of WMC with secondary memory and fluid intelligence. The findings support the hypothesis that individual differences in WMC reflect the ability to build, maintain and update arbitrary bindings.

A latent variable study examined whether different classes of working-memory tasks measure the same general construct of working-memory capacity (WMC). Data from 270 subjects were used to examine the relationship between Binding, Updating, Recall-N-back, and Complex Span tasks, and the relations of WMC with secondary memory measures, indicators of cognitive control from two response-conflict paradigms (Simon task and Eriksen flanker task), and fluid intelligence. Confirmatory factor analyses support the concept of a general WMC factor. Results from structural-equation modeling show negligible relations of WMC with response-conflict resolution, and very strong relations of WMC with secondary memory and fluid intelligence. The findings support the hypothesis that individual differences in WMC reflect the ability to build, maintain and update arbitrary bindings.

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31 citations in Web of Science®
33 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2013
Deposited On:02 Sep 2013 13:06
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:57
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-1078
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00433
PubMed ID:23898309
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-80554

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