In Cognition ist ein neuer Artikel aus der Arbeitsgruppe erschienen:
Schubert, A.-L., Löffler, C., Sadus, K., Göttmann, J., Hein, J., Schröer, P., Teuber, A., & Hagemann, D. (2023). Working memory load affects intelligence test performance by reducing the strength of relational item bindings and impairing the filtering of irrelevant information. Cognition, 236, 105438. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105438
Abstract: There is a broad consensus that individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) are strongly related to individual differences in intelligence. However, correlational studies do not allow conclusions about the causal nature of the relationship between WMC and fluid intelligence. While research on the cognitive basis of intelligence typically assumes that simpler lower-level cognitive processes contribute to individual differences in higher-order reasoning processes, a reversed causality or a third variable giving rise to two intrinsically uncorrelated variables may exist. In two studies (n1 = 65, n2 = 113), we investigated the causal nature of the relationship between WMC and intelligence by assessing the experimental effect of working memory load on intelligence test performance. Moreover, we tested if the effect of working memory load on intelligence test performance increased under time constraints, as previous studies have shown that the association between the two constructs increases if intelligence tests are administered with a strict time limit. We show that working memory load impaired intelligence test performance, but that this experimental effect was not affected by time constraints, which suggests that the experimental manipulations of working memory capacity and processing time did not affect the same underlying cognitive process. Using a computational modeling approach, we demonstrated that external memory load affected both the building and maintenance of relational item bindings and the filtering of irrelevant information in working memory. Our results confirm that WMC causally contributes to higher-order reasoning processes. Moreover, they support the hypothesis that working memory capacity in general and the abilities to maintain arbitrary bindings and to disengage from irrelevant information in particular are intrinsically related to intelligence.