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Katie Knapp

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Exploring the Relationship Between Working Memory Capacity and Task Switching

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Tasks used to measure working memory capacity and task switching are both thought to assess attentional control abilities. Given that they are purported to measure the same underlying cognitive construct, one would expect performance on these tasks to be related. However, preliminary research has failed to find such an association. These perplexing findings have important implications for theories of both task switching and working memory capacity, making it imperative to examine this relationship in more detail. Across three experiments, Ms Knapp explored the relationship between working memory capacity and task switching to identify potential reasons for their lack of association. The results revealed that these tasks are related when more sensitive measures of task switching are utilised. These findings have important theoretical implications, suggesting that both tasks do measure attentional control. In addition, the findings highlight methodological challenges involved in using the task switching paradigm to index attentional control abilities.

Dr Stephen Hill
Dr Michael Philipp