, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 213-220

Individual differences in working memory capacity and learning: Evidence from the serial reaction time task


High and low working memory (WM) capacity individuals performed the serial reaction time task under both incidental and intentional learning conditions to determine the role of WM capacity in the learning of sequential information. WM capacity differences emerged in conditions of intentional but not incidental learning, indicating that individual differences in WM capacity occur in tasks requiring some form of control, with little difference appearing on tasks that required relatively automatic processing. Furthermore, an index of learning was significantly related to a measure of general fluid intelligence under intentional conditions only. Thus, the degree of learning was significantly related to higher order cognition, but only when intentional processing was emphasized.

This work was supported by Grant F49620-00-1-131 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.