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      Working-memory capacity and the control of attention: The contributions of goal neglect, response competition, and task set to Stroop interference.

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      Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

      American Psychological Association (APA)

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          Abstract

          Individual differences in working-memory (WM) capacity predicted performance on the Stroop task in 5 experiments, indicating the importance of executive control and goal maintenance to selective attention. When the Stroop task encouraged goal neglect by including large numbers of congruent trials (RED presented in red), low WM individuals committed more errors than did high WM individuals on the rare incongruent trials (BLUE in red) that required maintaining access to the "ignore-the-word" goal for accurate responding. In contrast, in tasks with no or few congruent trials, or in high-congruency tasks that followed low-congruency tasks, WM predicted response-time interference. WM was related to latency, not accuracy, in contexts that reinforced the task goal and so minimized the difficulty of actively maintaining it. The data and a literature review suggest that Stroop interference is jointly determined by 2 mechanisms, goal maintenance and competition resolution, and that the dominance of each depends on WM capacity, as well as the task set induced by current and previous contexts.

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          Most cited references 79

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          The attention system of the human brain.

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            Human Error

             James Reason (1990)
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              Working memory, short-term memory, and general fluid intelligence: a latent-variable approach.

              A study was conducted in which 133 participants performed 11 memory tasks (some thought to reflect working memory and some thought to reflect short-term memory), 2 tests of general fluid intelligence, and the Verbal and Quantitative Scholastic Aptitude Tests. Structural equation modeling suggested that short-term and working memories reflect separate but highly related constructs and that many of the tasks used in the literature as working memory tasks reflect a common construct. Working memory shows a strong connection to fluid intelligence, but short-term memory does not. A theory of working memory capacity and general fluid intelligence is proposed: The authors argue that working memory capacity and fluid intelligence reflect the ability to keep a representation active, particularly in the face of interference and distraction. The authors also discuss the relationship of this capability to controlled attention, and the functions of the prefrontal cortex.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
                Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
                American Psychological Association (APA)
                1939-2222
                0096-3445
                2003
                2003
                : 132
                : 1
                : 47-70
                Article
                10.1037/0096-3445.132.1.47
                12656297
                © 2003

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