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Béatrice Valentini – Comparing adults’ working memory search rates in sub-span vs. supra-span situations: a novel approach of developmental relevance.

@ 10:30 - 12:00

Working memory (WM) is the limited-capacity system responsible for maintaining information. One proposed determinants of WM capacity is the speed needed to search information in WM, i.e. the WM search rate. This rate is typically studied with the item-recognition task, which requires judging as fast as possible whether a probe belongs to a previously-presented memory list. The slope of the reaction time function across list lengths is the WM search rate. While this search rate is typically 40 ms/item in adults, it is usually slower in children, maybe because children are typically performing the item-recognition task with lists that exceed their WM capacity (i.e, in a supra-span condition). Accordingly, we hypothesize that adult search rates may be slower above their span on a trial. The current study compares adults’ search slopes in supra-span vs. sub-span conditions using a novel, trial-by-trial procedure to determine whether a given list is sub-span or supra-span.


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