Accession Number:

ADA371187

Title:

A Source Activation Account of Individual Differences in Working Memory Performance

Descriptive Note:

Final rept. 15 Jan 97-14 Jan 99

Corporate Author:

CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Report Date:

1999-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

70.0

Abstract:

Working memory resources are needed for processing and maintenance of information during cognitive tasks. Many models have been developed to capture the effects of limited working memory resources on performance. However, most of these models do not account for the finding that different individuals show different sensitivities to working memory demands, and none of the models predicts individual subjects patterns of performance. We propose a computational model that accounts for differences in working memory capacity in terms of a quantity called source activation, which is used to maintain goal relevant information in an available state. We apply this model to capture the working memory effects of individual subjects at a fine level of detail in three experiments. In Experiments 1 and 2 we demonstrate that our model can predict the performance of individual subjects in two variations of a modified digit span MODS task. In Experiment 3 we show that an individuals source activation, as estimated from performance of the MODS task, can be used to predict performance of a second working memory task. This, we argue, strengthens the interpretation of source activation as working memory capacity.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE