Individual differences in working memory capacity and the Stroop effect: Do high spans block the words?

Zach Shipstead, James M. Broadway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined whether the mechanism that links working memory capacity (WMC) and controlled attention is better construed as suppression of distracting information or as efficient selection of critical information, in the face of distraction. We examined WMC-related differences in the Stroop task, in which participants must ignore word-information and instead name the hue in which a word has been printed. The present Stroop task included several neutral words (i.e., non-color) that were subsequently incorporated in a recognition memory test. Participants were either warned or not warned of this test. High WMC individuals who were warned displayed better memory of neutral words, relative to the no-warning group; suggesting they had actively monitored Stroop-words for relevant information. However, this increased attention to word-content was not associated with increased Stroop interference. We conclude that WMC-related attention is more flexible than early or late selection accounts suggest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-195
Number of pages5
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Volume26
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Stroop Test
Short-Term Memory
Individuality
Names
suppression
interference
present

Keywords

  • Attention
  • Attentional control
  • Inhibition
  • Stroop
  • Working memory capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education

Cite this

Individual differences in working memory capacity and the Stroop effect : Do high spans block the words? / Shipstead, Zach; Broadway, James M.

In: Learning and Individual Differences, Vol. 26, 08.2013, p. 191-195.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{912a203b289e4476a26563be8f7a8471,
title = "Individual differences in working memory capacity and the Stroop effect: Do high spans block the words?",
abstract = "The present study examined whether the mechanism that links working memory capacity (WMC) and controlled attention is better construed as suppression of distracting information or as efficient selection of critical information, in the face of distraction. We examined WMC-related differences in the Stroop task, in which participants must ignore word-information and instead name the hue in which a word has been printed. The present Stroop task included several neutral words (i.e., non-color) that were subsequently incorporated in a recognition memory test. Participants were either warned or not warned of this test. High WMC individuals who were warned displayed better memory of neutral words, relative to the no-warning group; suggesting they had actively monitored Stroop-words for relevant information. However, this increased attention to word-content was not associated with increased Stroop interference. We conclude that WMC-related attention is more flexible than early or late selection accounts suggest.",
keywords = "Attention, Attentional control, Inhibition, Stroop, Working memory capacity",
author = "Zach Shipstead and Broadway, {James M.}",
year = "2013",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1016/j.lindif.2012.04.003",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "26",
pages = "191--195",
journal = "Learning and Individual Differences",
issn = "1041-6080",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Individual differences in working memory capacity and the Stroop effect

T2 - Do high spans block the words?

AU - Shipstead, Zach

AU - Broadway, James M.

PY - 2013/8

Y1 - 2013/8

N2 - The present study examined whether the mechanism that links working memory capacity (WMC) and controlled attention is better construed as suppression of distracting information or as efficient selection of critical information, in the face of distraction. We examined WMC-related differences in the Stroop task, in which participants must ignore word-information and instead name the hue in which a word has been printed. The present Stroop task included several neutral words (i.e., non-color) that were subsequently incorporated in a recognition memory test. Participants were either warned or not warned of this test. High WMC individuals who were warned displayed better memory of neutral words, relative to the no-warning group; suggesting they had actively monitored Stroop-words for relevant information. However, this increased attention to word-content was not associated with increased Stroop interference. We conclude that WMC-related attention is more flexible than early or late selection accounts suggest.

AB - The present study examined whether the mechanism that links working memory capacity (WMC) and controlled attention is better construed as suppression of distracting information or as efficient selection of critical information, in the face of distraction. We examined WMC-related differences in the Stroop task, in which participants must ignore word-information and instead name the hue in which a word has been printed. The present Stroop task included several neutral words (i.e., non-color) that were subsequently incorporated in a recognition memory test. Participants were either warned or not warned of this test. High WMC individuals who were warned displayed better memory of neutral words, relative to the no-warning group; suggesting they had actively monitored Stroop-words for relevant information. However, this increased attention to word-content was not associated with increased Stroop interference. We conclude that WMC-related attention is more flexible than early or late selection accounts suggest.

KW - Attention

KW - Attentional control

KW - Inhibition

KW - Stroop

KW - Working memory capacity

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84881520272&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84881520272&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.lindif.2012.04.003

DO - 10.1016/j.lindif.2012.04.003

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84881520272

VL - 26

SP - 191

EP - 195

JO - Learning and Individual Differences

JF - Learning and Individual Differences

SN - 1041-6080

ER -