The Relationship between Memory Span and Processing Speed

  • Roderick Nicolson
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 14)


For any individual, processing speed, as reflected by reading rate, varies for words of different lengths, and the rate of increase of memory span as a function of reading rate yields an index of memory capacity. A study of memory span in 8, 10 and 12 year old children, using these direct measures of processing efficiency and memory capacity, indicated that the developmental increase in memory span is attributable wholly to the increase in mean reading rate. For all age groups, a subject’s memory span for a given set of words was roughly equal to how many of the words the subject could read in two seconds. Furthermore, for any given reading rate, the memory span was independent of age.


Processing Speed Episodic Memory Memory Capacity Word Length Digit 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

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roderick Nicolson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldEngland

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