The Contributions of Primary and Secondary Memory to Working Memory Capacity: An Individual Differences Analysis of Immediate Free Recall

Nash Unsworth, Gregory J. Spillers, Gene A. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study tested the dual-component model of working memory capacity (WMC) by examining estimates of primary memory and secondary memory from an immediate free recall task. Participants completed multiple measures of WMC and general intellectual ability as well as multiple trials of an immediate free recall task. It was demonstrated that there are 2 sources of variance (primary memory and secondary memory) in immediate free recall and that, further, these 2 sources of variance accounted for independent variation in WMC. Together, these results are consistent with a dual-component model of WMC reflecting individual differences in maintenance in primary memory and in retrieval from secondary memory. Theoretical implications for working memory and dual-component models of free recall are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • immediate free recall
  • primary memory
  • secondary memory
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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