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Regulating working memory In emotionally-laden contexts

Description

Individual differences in working memory capacity partly arise from variability in attention control, a process influenced by negative emotional content. Thus, individual differences in working memory capacity should be predictive

Individual differences in working memory capacity partly arise from variability in attention control, a process influenced by negative emotional content. Thus, individual differences in working memory capacity should be predictive of differences in the ability to regulate attention in emotional contexts. To address this hypothesis, a complex-span working memory task (symmetry span) was modified so that negative arousing images or neutral images subtended the background during the encoding phase. Across three experiments, negative arousing images impaired working memory encoding relative to neutral images, resulting in impoverished symmetry span scores. Additionally, in Experiment 3, both negative and arousing images captured attention and led to increased hit rates in a subsequent recognition task. Contrary to the primary hypothesis, individual differences in working memory capacity derived from three complex span tasks failed to moderate the effect of negative arousing images on working memory encoding across two large scale studies. Implications for theories of working memory and attention control in emotional contexts will be discussed.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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A Mechanistic Account of the Relation between Working Memory Capacity and Fluid Intelligence

Description

Working memory capacity and fluid intelligence are important predictors of performance in educational settings. Thus, understanding the processes underlying the relation between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence is important.

Working memory capacity and fluid intelligence are important predictors of performance in educational settings. Thus, understanding the processes underlying the relation between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence is important. Three large scale individual differences experiments were conducted to determine the mechanisms underlying the relation between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence. Experiments 1 and 2 were designed to assess whether individual differences in strategic behavior contribute to the variance shared between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence. In Experiment 3, competing theories for describing the underlying processes (cognitive vs. strategy) were evaluated in a comprehensive examination of potential underlying mechanisms. These data help inform existing theories about the mechanisms underlying the relation between WMC and gF. However, these data also indicate that the current theoretical model of the shared variance between WMC and gF would need to be revised to account for the data in Experiment 3. Possible sources of misfit are considered in the discussion along with a consideration of the theoretical implications of observing those relations in the Experiment 3 data.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018