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Memory: Conway and Engle 1996
ConwayEngle1996.zip
Conway1996Stimuli.zip
Conway1996Data.zip
Conway, A.R.A., & Engle, R.W. (1996). Individual differences in working memory capacity: More evidence for a general capacity theory. Memory 4, 577-590.(PDF)
 

This experiment takes a standard operation span test, where participants alternate between solving math problems and learning words then recall the words at the end, and modifies it to adjust for the difficulty of the operations.

One of the hypotheses that has been put forth to explain individual differences in operation span tasks is that some people are more able to do the inteverning tasks, so they have more resources left over to rehearse or remember the words. This experiment controls for that by making the math problems more difficult for those who are more able to do them.

The basic format is a standard operation span test, followed by a set of different kinds of math problems to determine math ability, then an operation span test adjusted for math difficulty.

Anderson, J.R. (1974). Retrieval of propositional information from long-term memory. Cognitive Psychology, 6, 451-474.

Baddeley, A.D., & Hitch, G. (1974). Working memory. In G.H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation (Vol. 8). New York: Academic Press.

Cantor, J., & Engle, R.W. (1993). Working memory capacity as long-term memory activation: An individual differences approach. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 5, 1101-1114.

Cantor, J., Engle, R.W., & Hamilton, G. (1991). Short-term memory, working memory, and verbal abilities. How do they relate? Intelligence, 15, 229-246.

Carrol, J.B., Davies, P., & Richman, B. (1971). Word frequency book. New York: American Heritage.

Case, R. (1974). Structures and strictures, some functional limitations on the course of cognitive growth. Cognitive Psychology, 6, 544-573.

Case, R. (1985). Intellectual development: Birth to adulthood. New York: Academic Press.

Case, R., Kurland, M.D., & Goldberg, J. (1982). Operational efficiency and the growth of short-term memory span. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 33, 386-404.

Conway, A.R.A, & Engle, R.W. (1994). Working memory and retrieval: A resource-dependent inhibition model. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 123, 354-373.

Daneman, M., & Carpenter, P.A. (1980). Individual differences in working memory and reading. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19, 450-466.

Engle, R.W. (1995). Individual differences in memory and tehir implications for learning. In R. Sternberg (Ed.), Encyclopedia of intelligence. New York: MacMillan.

Engle, R.W., Cantor, J., & Carullo, J.J. (1992). Individual differences in working memory and comprehensin: A test of four hypotheses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 9, 972-992.

Engle, R.W., Nations, J.K., & Cantor, J. (1990). Is working memory capacity just another name ofr word knowledge? Journal of Educational Psychology, 82, 799-804.

LaPointe, L.B., & Engle, R.W. (1990). Simple and complex word spans a measures of working memory capacity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 16, 1118-1133.

Pascual-Leone, J. (1970). A mathematical model for the transition rule in Piaget's developmental stages. Acta Psychologia, 63, 301-345.

Schneider, W. (1988). Micro-Experimental Laboratory: An integrated system for IBM PC compatibles. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 20, 206-217.

Towse, J.N., & Hitch, G.J. (1995). Is there a relationship between task demand and storage space in tests of working memory capacity? The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 48, 108-124.

Turner, M.L., & Engle, R.W. (1989). Is working memory capacity task dependent? Journal of Memory and Language, 28, 127-154.

{Cited By}
The causes of the positive relationship between comprehension and measures of working memory capacity remain unclear. This study tests three hypotheses for the relationship by equating the difficulty, for 48 individual subjects, of processing demands in complex working memory tasks. Even with difficulty of processing equated, the relationship between number of words recalled in the working memory measure and comprehension remained high and significant. The results favour a general capacity view. We suggest that high working memory span subjects have more limited-capacity attentional resources available to them than low span subjects and that individual differences in working memory capacity will have implications for any task that requires controlled effortful processing.
{Works Cited}
{Data Instructions}
 

12-Mar-2002

Brian MacWhinney