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ERIC Number: EJ1163729
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
The Importance of Arousal for Variation in Working Memory Capacity and Attention Control: A Latent Variable Pupillometry Study
Unsworth, Nash; Robison, Matthew K.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v43 n12 p1962-1987 Dec 2017
A great deal of prior research has examined the relation between working memory capacity (WMC) and attention control. The current study explored the role of arousal in individual differences in WMC and attention control. Participants performed multiple WMC and attention control tasks. During the attention control tasks participants were periodically probed regarding their current attentional state and both baseline and task-evoked pupillary responses were recorded as indicators of tonic arousal and phasic arousal because of attentional effort, respectively. Latent variable analyses demonstrated that variability in both baseline pupil diameter and task-evoked responses was related to WMC, attention control, and off-task thinking. Furthermore, structural equation models suggested that variability in both baseline pupil diameter and task-evoked pupillary responses predicted off-task thinking, which in turn predicted variation in WMC and attention control. These results provide important evidence linking moment-to-moment fluctuations in arousal to individual differences in WMC and attention control.
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
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Oregon
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Stroop Color Word Test; Raven Advanced Progressive Matrices
Grant or Contract Numbers: N000141512790