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ERIC Number: EJ1090036
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Detection of the Number of Changes in a Display in Working Memory
Cowan, Nelson; Hardman, Kyle; Saults, J. Scott; Blume, Christopher L.; Clark, Katherine M.; Sunday, Mackenzie A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v42 n2 p169-185 Feb 2016
Here we examine a new task to assess working memory for visual arrays in which the participant must judge how many items changed from a studied array to a test array. As a clue to processing, on some trials in the first 2 experiments, participants carried out a metamemory judgment in which they were to decide how many items were in working memory. Trial-to-trial fluctuations in these working memory storage judgments correlated with performance fluctuations within an individual, indicating a need to include trial-to-trial variation within capacity models (through either capacity fluctuation or some other attention parameter). Mathematical modeling of the results achieved a good fit to a complex pattern of results, suggesting that working memory capacity limits can apply even to judgments that involve an entire array rather than just a single item that may have changed, thus providing the expected conscious access to at least some of the contents of working memory.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01HD21338