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Mem Cognit. 2007 Sep;35(6):1456-62.

Effects of working memory capacity on mental set due to domain knowledge.

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University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


The present set of studies examines how working memory capacity (WMC) relates to performance on a Remote Associates Task (RAT), originally designed by Mednick as a quantifiable creative problem solving assessment. The source of fixation was manipulated across two sets of RAT items. One set was neutral with no specific fixation embedded in them, while the second set was baseball-misleading, designed so that prior knowledge of baseball would lead to an incorrect solution attempt. WMC scores were positively related to performance on RAT items in all conditions, except one. High baseball knowledge participants' WMC scores did not relate to performance on the baseball-misleading RAT. While in general WMC may lead to better RAT performance, these results suggest that when there is a candidate solution strongly activated by prior knowledge, WMC may actually lead to too much focus on the incorrect solution and exacerbate mental sets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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