Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 422–433 | Cite as

Working memory and language comprehension: A meta-analysis

  • Meredyth DanemanEmail author
  • Philip M. Merikle


This paper presents a meta-analysis of the data from 6,179 participants in 77 studies that investigated the association between working-memory capacity and language comprehension ability. A primary goal of the meta-analysis was to compare the predictive power of the measures of working memory developed by Daneman and Carpenter (1980) with the predictive power of other measures of working memory. The results of the meta-analysis support Daneman and Carpenter’s (1980) claim that measures that tap the combined processing and storage capacity of working memory (e.g., reading span, listening span) are better predictors of comprehension than are measures that tap only the storage capacity (e.g., word span, digit span). The meta-analysis also showed that math process plus storage measures of working memory are good predictors of comprehension. Thus, the superior predictive power of the process plus storage measures is not limited to measures that involve the manipulation of words and sentences.


Digit Span Language Comprehension Verbal Process Storage Resource 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 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorontoMississaugaCanada
  2. 2.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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