The contribution of working memory resources to arithmetic performance

Doris Chi Mei Leung

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] The present series of studies investigated relationships between working memory capabilities and proficiency in mental arithmetic, and whether these relationships vary as a function of arithmetic operation or format of problem presentation. In four studies, different facets of working memory, conceptualized using Baddeley's (2000) revised multiple-component working memory model (comprising the phonological loop, the visuospatial sketchpad, the episodic buffer, and the central executive), were assessed, and mental arithmetic performance was investigated using multi-digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems, presented in either a vertical or horizontal format. The first study (N = 64 young adults) validated four memory tasks developed for the research. These span tasks - verbal short-term memory, spatial short-term memory, integration, and coordination – were used as part of a dual-task method in combination with four types of interference – control (no interference), articulatory suppression, spatial tapping, and articulatory suppression coupled with spatial tapping. The short-term memory tasks required the serial recall of sequences of letters (verbal task) or sequences of screen locations (spatial task). That these tasks invoked distinct short-term memory stores was confirmed by modality-specific patterns of interference: decrements in performance on verbal short-term memory span were observed for the interference conditions involving articulation and decrements in performance on spatial short-term memory span were observed for the interference conditions involving tapping.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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