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Intelligence test items varying in capacity demands cannot be used to test the causality of working memory capacity for fluid intelligence


Frischkorn, Gidon T; Oberauer, Klaus (2021). Intelligence test items varying in capacity demands cannot be used to test the causality of working memory capacity for fluid intelligence. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 28(4):1423-1432.

Abstract

There is a strong relationship between fluid intelligence and working memory capacity (WMC). Yet, the cognitive mechanisms underlying this relationship remain elusive. The capacity hypothesis states that this relationship is due to limitations in the amount of information that can be stored and held active in working memory. Previous research aimed at testing the capacity hypothesis assumed that it implies stronger relationships of intelligence test performance with WMC for test items with higher capacity demands. The present article addresses this assumption through simulations of three theoretical models implementing the capacity hypothesis while systematically varying different psychometric variables. The results show that almost any relation between the capacity demands of items and their correlation with WMC can be obtained. Therefore, the assumption made by previous studies does not hold: The capacity hypothesis does not imply stronger correlations of WMC and intelligence test items with higher capacity demands. Items varying in capacity demands cannot be used to test the causality of WMC (or any other latent variable) for fluid intelligence.

Abstract

There is a strong relationship between fluid intelligence and working memory capacity (WMC). Yet, the cognitive mechanisms underlying this relationship remain elusive. The capacity hypothesis states that this relationship is due to limitations in the amount of information that can be stored and held active in working memory. Previous research aimed at testing the capacity hypothesis assumed that it implies stronger relationships of intelligence test performance with WMC for test items with higher capacity demands. The present article addresses this assumption through simulations of three theoretical models implementing the capacity hypothesis while systematically varying different psychometric variables. The results show that almost any relation between the capacity demands of items and their correlation with WMC can be obtained. Therefore, the assumption made by previous studies does not hold: The capacity hypothesis does not imply stronger correlations of WMC and intelligence test items with higher capacity demands. Items varying in capacity demands cannot be used to test the causality of WMC (or any other latent variable) for fluid intelligence.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:1 August 2021
Deposited On:18 May 2021 11:45
Last Modified:26 Mar 2024 02:36
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1069-9384
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-021-01909-w
PubMed ID:33851371
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)