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Psychol Bull. 2005 Jan;131(1):66-71. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.131.1.66.

Working memory capacity and fluid intelligence are strongly related constructs: comment on Ackerman, Beier, and Boyle (2005).

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Department of Psychology.


The authors agree with P. L. Ackerman, M. E. Beier, and M. O. Boyle (2005; see record 2004-22408-002) that working memory capacity (WMC) is not isomorphic with general fluid intelligence (Gf) or reasoning ability. However, the WMC and Gf/reasoning constructs are more strongly associated than Ackerman et al. (2005) indicate, particularly when considering the outcomes of latent-variable studies. The authors' reanalysis of 14 such data sets from 10 published studies, representing more than 3,100 young-adult subjects, suggests a strong correlation between WMC and Gf/reasoning factors (median r=.72), indicating that the WMC and Gf constructs share approximately 50% of their variance. This comment also clarifies the authors' "executive attention" view of WMC, it demonstrates that WMC has greater discriminant validity than Ackerman et al. (2005) implied, and it suggests some future directions and challenges for the scientific study of the convergence of WMC, attention control, and intelligence.

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