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Working memory’s workload capacity


Heathcote, A and Coleman, JR and Eidels, A and Watson, JM and Houpt, J and Strayer, DL, Working memory's workload capacity, Memory & Cognition, 43, (7) pp. 973-989. ISSN 0090-502X (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Psychonomic Society, Inc.

DOI: doi:10.3758/s13421-015-0526-2


We examined the role of dual-task interference in working memory using a novel dual two-back task that requires a redundant-target response (i.e., a response that neither the auditory nor the visual stimulus occurred two back versus a response that one or both occurred two back) on every trial. Comparisons with performance on single two-back trials (i.e., with only auditory or only visual stimuli) showed that dual-task demands reduced both speed and accuracy. Our task design enabled a novel application of Townsend and Nozawa's (Journal of Mathematical Psychology 39: 321-359, 1995) workload capacity measure, which revealed that the decrement in dual two-back performance was mediated by the sharing of a limited amount of processing capacity. Relative to most other single and dual n-back tasks, performance measures for our task were more reliable, due to the use of a small stimulus set that induced a high and constant level of proactive interference. For a version of our dual two-back task that minimized response bias, accuracy was also more strongly correlated with complex span than has been found for most other single and dual n-back tasks.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:working memory, n-backtask, systems factorial technology, workload capacity, multitasking, proactive interference
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Cognitive and computational psychology
Research Field:Decision making
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Heathcote, A (Professor Andrew Heathcote)
ID Code:102021
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2015-07-23
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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