Working memory capacity and Stroop interference: Global versus local indices of executive control

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael J. Kane, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Two experiments examined the relations among working memory capacity (WMC), congruency-sequence effects, proportion-congruency effects, and the color-word Stroop effect to test whether congruency-sequence effects might inform theoretical claims regarding WMC’s prediction of Stroop interference. In Experiment 1, subjects completed either a high-congruency or low-congruency Stroop task that restricted trial-to-trial repetitions of stimulus dimensions to examine WMC’s relation to congruency-sequence effects while minimizing bottom-up, stimulus-driven contributions. Congruency-sequence effects and congruency-proportion effects were significant but did not interact. WMC predicted global Stroop interference under low-congruency conditions but neither local congruency-sequence effects nor global Stroop interference under high-congruency conditions, contrary to previous studies (e.g., Kane & Engle, 2003). A high-congruency Stroop task in Experiment 2 removed the Experiment 1 task constraints, and, here, we obtained the typical, global association between WMC and Stroop interference but still no relation between WMC and congruency-sequence effects. We thus examined the methodological differences between Experiments 1 and 2 to determine whether any of these were locally responsible for the global WMC-related differences. They were not, suggesting that the changes between Experiments 1 and 2 created a general task context that engaged (or disengaged) the executive processes associated with WMC.

Additional Information

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39(3), 748-759
Language: English
Date: 2013
Stroop, congruency sequence, executive control, individual differences, working memory, color-word Stroop effect, capacity

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