The Role of Individual Differences in Working Memory in the Encoding and Retrieval of Information
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Individual differences in working memory capacity have been examined in relation to general fluid intelligence and higher-order cognitive tasks. Little research, however, had focused on the role that individual differences in working memory might play in the encoding of new information. The current experiment examined how individual differences in working memory capacity affect encoding of new information and how cognitive load modulates this effect. Participants encoded new information and then were subsequently tested on this information twice; in a single-task condition and a dual-task condition. The two conditions investigated whether individual differences in working memory capacity mediated differential retrieval of newly learned information under cognitive load. The results from the study indicated that working memory does play a role in the encoding of new information and that the dual-task condition reduced accuracy differentially across working memory ability. Previous research examining individual differences in working memory had focused primarily on retrieval processes instead of encoding. It is possible that the differences documented in previous studies at the retrieval stage may in fact be a byproduct of differences that are present at encoding.
- Thesis - MMontano (2010).pdf