Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 498–505 | Cite as

An automated version of the operation span task

  • Nash Unsworth
  • Richard P. Heitz
  • Josef C. Schrock
  • Randall W. EngleEmail author


We present an easy-to-administer and automated version of a popular working memory (WM) capacity task (operation span; Ospan) that is mouse driven, scores itself, and requires little intervention on the part of the experimenter. It is shown that this version of Ospan correlates well with other measures of WM capacity and has both good internal consistency (alpha=.78) and test-retest reliability (.83). In addition, the automated version of Ospan (Aospan) was shown to load on the same factor as two other WM measures. This WM capacity factor correlated with a factor composed of fluid abilities measures. The utility of the Aospan was further demonstrated by analyzing response times (RTs) that indicated that RT measures obtained in the task accounted for additional variance in predicting fluid abilities. Our results suggest that Aospan is a reliable and valid indicator of WM capacity that can be applied to a wide array of research domains.


Work Memory Work Memory Capacity Span Task Work Memory Span Reading Span 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nash Unsworth
    • 1
  • Richard P. Heitz
    • 1
  • Josef C. Schrock
    • 2
  • Randall W. Engle
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of PsychologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlanta
  2. 2.Maryville CollegeMaryville

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