Why does working memory span predict complex cognition? Testing the strategy affordance hypothesis

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 )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: We introduce and empirically evaluate the strategy affordance hypothesis, which holds that individual dif-ferences in strategy use will mediate the relationship between performances on a working memory (WM) span task and another cognitive task only when the same strategies are afforded by both tasks. One hundred forty- eight participants completed basic memory tasks and verbal span tasks that afford the same strategies, such as imagery and sentence generation, and completed reading comprehension tasks that afford different ones, such as self-questioning and summarization. Effective strategy use on WM span tasks accounted for variance in the span–memory relationship, but not for the span–comprehension relationship, supporting the strategy affordance hypothesis. Strategy use mediated the span–cognition relationship only when both tasks afforded the same strategies.

Additional Information

Bailey, H., Dunlosky, J., & Kane, M.J. (2008). Why does working memory capacity predict complex cognition? Testing the strategy-affordance hypothesis. Memory & Cognition, 36, 1383-1390. DOI: 10.3758/MC.36.8.1383
Language: English
Date: 2008
Working memory, Working memory span, Cognition, Strategy

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