Working memory structure and intellectual disability
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The working memory of people with intellectual disability has been found to generally lag behind their mental age. However, studies concerning the structure of working memory or its connections to other cognitive functions are rare. The present study employs a versatile battery of tests for the evaluation of working memory structure in adults with intellectual disability of unknown aetiology. In addition, connections between working memory and cognitive skills valid for everyday functioning are evaluated. Working memory performance in the study participants was found to stem from two distinct components which could be regarded to represent phonological and general working memory. General working memory was closely related to intelligence, whereas phonological working memory was not. The subjects in the study group differed in their working memory profiles. These distinct profiles were significantly related to academic skills (e.g. reading, writing and mathematics) and sentence comprehension because the profile of the working memory predicted these abilities even when the intelligence and educational background of the participants was taken into consideration.
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