Advertisement

Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 563–570 | Cite as

Validating running memory span: Measurement of working memory capacity and links with fluid intelligence

  • James M. Broadway
  • Randall W. Engle
Articles

Abstract

We manipulated running memory span tasks to examine effects on recall and relations with criterion measures of working memory capacity and general fluid intelligence. The goal of the manipulations was to limit or enhance opportunities for active input processing and response preparation in advance of test. We manipulated presentation rate in Experiment 1. Recall was higher at slow than at fast rates, but correlations with criterion measures were much the same across rate conditions. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the time at which the number of items to report was made known to the participants. They were given that information in advance (precue) or at test (postcue). Recall scores and correlations with criterion measures were much the same across cuing conditions. We conclude that running memory span provides valid measurement of working memory capacity that is predictive of higher order cognition across a wide range of conditions.

Keywords

Work Memory Capacity Span Task Serial Recall Memory Span Fluid Intelligence 
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.

References

  1. Baddeley, A. D., & Hitch, G. J. (1974). Working memory. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 8, pp. 47–89). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bunting, M., Cowan, N., & Saults, J. S. (2006). How does running memory span work? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59, 1691–1700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Conway, A. R. A., Kane, M. J., Bunting, M. F., Hambrick, D. Z., Wilhelm, O., & Engle, R. W. (2005). Working memory span tasks: A methodological review and user’s guide. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12, 769–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cowan, N. (2001). The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 24, 87–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cowan, N., Elliott, E. M., Saults, J. S., Morey, C. C., Mattox, S., Hismjatullina, A., & Conway, A. R. A. (2005). On the capacity of attention: Its estimation and its role in working memory and cognitive aptitudes. Cognitive Psychology, 51, 42–100.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Deary, I. J. (2000). Looking down on intelligence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ekstrom, R. B., French, J. W., Harman, H. H., & Derman, D. (1976). Kit of factor-referenced cognitive tests. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.Google Scholar
  8. Elosúa, M. R., & Ruiz, R. M. (2008). Absence of hardly pursued updating in a running memory task. Psychological Research, 72, 451–460.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Engle, R. W., & Kane, M. J. (2004). Executive attention, working memory capacity, and a two-factor theory of cognitive control. In B. Ross (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 44, pp. 145–199). New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  10. Engle, R. W., Tuholski, S. W., Laughlin, J. E., & Conway, A. R. A. (1999). Working memory, short-term memory, and general fluid intelligence: A latent variable approach. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128, 309–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Friedman, N. P., Miyake, A., Corley, R. P., Young, S. E., DeFries, J. C., & Hewitt, J. K. (2006). Not all executive functions are related to intelligence. Psychological Science, 17, 172–179.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Henson, R. N. A. (1998). Short-term memory for serial order: The start—end model. Cognitive Psychology, 36, 73–137.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Hockey, R. (1973). Rate of presentation in running memory and direct manipulation of input-processing strategies. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 25, 104–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kane, M. J., & Engle, R. W. (2002). The role of prefrontal cortex in working memory capacity, executive attention, and general fluid intelligence: An individual-differences perspective. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9, 637–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kane, M. J., Hambrick, D. Z., Tuholski, S. W., Wilhelm, O., Payne, T. W., & Engle, R. W. (2004). The generality of working memory capacity: A latent variable approach to verbal and visuospatial memory span and reasoning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133, 189–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lépine, R., Barrouillet, P., & Camos, V. (2005). What makes working memory spans so predictive of high-level cognition? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12, 165–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Meng, X. L., Rosenthal, R., & Rubin, D. B. (1992). Comparing correlated correlation coefficients. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 172–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Miyake, A. Friedman, N. P., Emerson, M. J., Witzki, A. H., Howerter, A., & Wager, T. D. (2000). The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “frontal lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognitive Psychology, 41, 49–100.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Morris, N., & Jones, D. M. (1990). Memory updating in working memory: The role of the central executive. British Journal of Psychology, 81, 111–121.Google Scholar
  20. Mukunda, K. V., & Hall, V. C. (1992). Does performance on memory for order correlate with performance on standardized measures of ability? A meta-analysis. Intelligence, 16, 81–97.Google Scholar
  21. Oberauer, K., & Lewandowsky, S. (2008). Forgetting in immediate serial recall: Decay, temporal distinctiveness, or interference? Psychological Review, 115, 544–576.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Oberauer, K., Süß, H.-M., Wilhelm, O., & Wittman, W. (2003). The multiple faces of working memory: Storage, processing, supervision, and coordination. Intelligence, 31, 167–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Palladino, P., & Jarrold, C. (2008). Do updating tasks involve updating? Evidence from comparisons with immediate serial recall. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 61, 392–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pollack, I., Johnson, L. B., & Knaff, P. R. (1959). Running memory span. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57, 137–146.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Postle, B. R. (2003). Context in verbal short-term memory. Memory & Cognition, 31, 1198–1207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Raven, J. E., Raven, J. C., & Court, J. H. (1998). Progressive matrices. Oxford: Oxford Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  27. Ruiz, M., Elosúa, M. R., & Lechuga, M. T. (2005). Old-fashioned responses in an updating memory task. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 58A, 887–908.Google Scholar
  28. Schneider, W., Eschman, A., & Zuccolotto, A. (2002). E-Prime user’s guide. Pittsburgh: Psychology Software Tools.Google Scholar
  29. Sternberg, R. J. (1979). The nature of mental abilities. American Psychologist, 34, 214–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stevens, J. P. (2002). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences (4th ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  31. Tan, L., & Ward, G. (2008). Rehearsal in immediate serial recall. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 535–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thurstone, T. G. (1938). Primary mental abilities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  33. Tucker-Drob, E. M., & Salthouse, T. A. (2009). Confirmatory factor analysis and multidimensional scaling for construct validation of cognitive abilities. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33, 277–285.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Unsworth, N., & Engle, R. W. (2007). On the division of short-term and working memory: An examination of simple and complex span and their relation to higher order abilities. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 1038–1066.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Unsworth, N., Heitz, R. P., Schrock, J. C., & Engle, R. W. (2005). An automated version of the operation span task. Behavior Research Methods, 37, 498–505.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Unsworth, N., Redick, T. S., Heitz, R. P., Broadway, J. M., & Engle, R. W. (2009). Complex working memory span tasks and higher-order cognition: A latent-variable analysis of the relationship between processing and storage. Memory, 17, 635–654.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Watkins, M. J. (1989). Willful and nonwillful determinants of memory. In H. L. Roediger III & F. I. M. Craik (Eds.), Varieties of memory and consciousness: Essays in honour of Endel Tulving (pp. 59–71). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  38. Zachary, R. A. (1986). Shipley Institute of Living Scale: Revised manual. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.Google Scholar
  39. Zou, G. Y. (2007). Toward using confidence intervals to compare correlations. Psychological Methods, 12, 399–413.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlanta

Personalised recommendations