Short- and long-term memory tasks predict working memory performance, and vice versa. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • The Brown-Peterson, operation span, and continual distractor tasks all require people to retain information while performing a distractor task. Scale Independent Memory, Perception, and Learning (SIMPLE), a local relative distinctiveness model, has been fit to aspects of each task and offers the same explanation for each: the distractor task serves to space the items out in time and memory performance depends on the relative distinctiveness of the target item at the time of recall. If this is correct, it follows that performance on all three tasks should correlate, even though the tasks have, at various times, been ascribed to different memory systems, short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory, respectively. We tested 190 subjects on all three tasks and found that performance on all three tasks is significantly correlated. We then fit the data from each task using SIMPLE. We argue that these results support the relative distinctiveness principle (Surprenant & Neath, 2009). We contrast SIMPLE with other models of the same tasks. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


  • Neath, Ian
  • Saint-Aubin, Jean
  • Bireta, Tamra J
  • Gabel, Andrew J
  • Hudson, Chelsea G
  • Surprenant, Aimée M

publication date

  • June 2019