Variation in working memory capacity and temporal-contextual retrieval from episodic memory
Spillers, Gregory Joseph
MetadataShow full item record
Unsworth and Engle (2007) recently proposed a model of working memory capacity characterized by, amongst other things, the ability to conduct a strategic, cue-dependent search of long-term memory. Although this ability has been found to mediate individual variation in a number of higher-order cognitive tasks, the component processes involved remain unclear. The current study was designed to investigate individual variation in successfully retrieving information from episodic memory by examining lag recency effects and temporal clustering. Both high and low working memory capacity participants were found to initiate recall in a similar fashion, however, low working memory capacity participants showed far less temporal organization in their recall. Overall, the retrieval deficits observed in low working memory capacity individuals appear to be rooted in both their inability to self-generate overarching temporal-contextual cues and their inability to use the products of retrieval to further aid their search. Possible neuroscientific explanations of these retrieval deficits are discussed.