Chapter

Individual Differences in Working Memory Capacity and Reasoning Ability

Klaus Oberauer, Heinz-Martin Süß, Oliver Wilhelm and Nicolas Sander

in Variation in Working Memory

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195168648
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847297 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168648.003.0003
Individual Differences in Working Memory Capacity and Reasoning Ability

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This chapter discusses how a substantial number of studies have shown that working memory capacity (WMC) is the best single predictor identified so far of reasoning ability as measured by intelligence tests. This finding is an important step toward understanding psychometric intelligence in terms of theories from cognitive psychology. The factor-analytic approach to individual differences provides a tool to identify associations and dissociations between indicators of cognitive functions. The approach is to model the correlational structure of a large set of indicators by theoretically specified structural equation models. WMC is found to be related to measures of processing speed. One explanation is that many working memory tasks are complex span tasks that involve a processing component, and the speed of performing this component is one source of variance in complex span tasks. Currently the most successful theory of deductive reasoning is the theory of mental models.

Keywords: working memory; intelligence tests; psychometric intelligence; cognitive psychology; mental models

Chapter.  16220 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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