The common elements of working memory capacity and fluid intelligence: primary memory, secondary memory and executive attention

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Shipstead, Zachary M.
Engle, Randall W.
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Working memory is a mental system that is related to cognitive control and higher cognition. Although the topic of working memory is well researched, there is a great deal of debate about the mechanisms that drive individual differences in working memory capacity. Moreover, little is known about the direct relationships between different types of working memory tasks. The present study uses structural equation modeling to examine three varieties of working memory task: The complex span, running memory span, and visual arrays. It is found that, while complex and running span performance is directly predicted by immediate memory and retrieval from long-term memory, visual arrays is directly predicted by attention control. Despite these differences, all tasks are found to be united by executive attention, which is conceptualized as an executive process that is apparent across several types of attention and memory task. A second analysis examines the relationship between working memory and general fluid intelligence. It is concluded that, while executive attention accounts for the largest portion of the correlation between working memory and fluid intelligence, immediate memory and retrieval from long term memory are also critical to explaining this relationship.
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