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Neuropsychology. 2010 Mar;24(2):222-243. doi: 10.1037/a0017619.

The relationship between working memory capacity and executive functioning: evidence for a common executive attention construct.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology.

Abstract

Attentional control has been conceptualized as executive functioning by neuropsychologists and as working memory capacity by experimental psychologists. We examined the relationship between these constructs using a factor analytic approach in an adult life span sample. Several tests of working memory capacity and executive function were administered to more than 200 subjects between 18 and 90 years of age, along with tests of processing speed and episodic memory. The correlation between working memory capacity and executive functioning constructs was very strong (r = .97), but correlations between these constructs and processing speed were considerably weaker (rs approximately .79). Controlling for working memory capacity and executive function eliminated age effects on episodic memory, and working memory capacity and executive function accounted for variance in episodic memory beyond that accounted for by processing speed. We conclude that tests of working memory capacity and executive function share a common underlying executive attention component that is strongly predictive of higher level cognition.

PMID:
20230116
PMCID:
PMC2852635
DOI:
10.1037/a0017619
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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