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Psychol Rev. 2007 Jan;114(1):104-32.

The nature of individual differences in working memory capacity: active maintenance in primary memory and controlled search from secondary memory.

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School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Studies examining individual differences in working memory capacity have suggested that individuals with low working memory capacities demonstrate impaired performance on a variety of attention and memory tasks compared with individuals with high working memory capacities. This working memory limitation can be conceived of as arising from 2 components: a dynamic attention component (primary memory) and a probabilistic cue-dependent search component (secondary memory). This framework is used to examine previous individual differences studies of working memory capacity, and new evidence is examined on the basis of predictions of the framework to performance on immediate free recall. It is suggested that individual differences in working memory capacity are partially due to the ability to maintain information accessible in primary memory and the ability to search for information from secondary memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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