Towards a reliable measure of motor working memory: revisiting Wu and Coulson's (2014) movement span task.
ABSTRACT: Some researchers have argued that motor working memory is relatively independent from visuospatial working memory and underlies the learning and processing of motor tasks, like gesture comprehension. To allow systematic testing of these claims, Wu & Coulson 2014 Psychol. Sci. 26, 1717-1727. (doi:10.1177/0956797615597671) proposed a novel measure of motor working memory, the movement span task. Some studies have reported that the movement span task has a high degree of validity. The purpose of the present study was to attempt to replicate Wu & Coulson 2014 Psychol. Sci. 26, 1717-1727. (doi:10.1177/0956797615597671) in the following ways: (1) the high correlation between movement span and movement recall scores and (2) the lack of correlation between the movement span task on the one hand and visuospatial and verbal working memory on the other. In the present study, we found a high correlation between the movement span and recall scores as well as most measures of visuospatial memory. However, the size of these correlations was similar to that reported by Wu and Coulson, suggesting that the significance may be related to sample size. In other words, motor working memory may be weakly related to visuospatial memory. By contrast, there were weak correlations between the movement span task and verbal memory. In sum, we found the same pattern of results observed by Wu & Coulson 2014, 1717-1727. (doi:10.1177/0956797615597671).
Project description:This study aimed to systematically investigate the relation between gross motor skills and aspects of executive functioning (i.e. verbal working memory, visuospatial working memory, response inhibition and interference control) in 8-10 year old children. Additionally, the role of information processing (speed and variability) and lapses of attention in the relation between gross motor skills and executive functions was investigated. Data of 732 Dutch children from grade 3 and 4 were analyzed (50.0% boys, 50.4% grade 3, age = 9.16 ± 0.64 years). Gross motor skills were assessed using three items of the Körper Koordinationstest für Kinder and one item of the Bruininks-Oseretsky test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition. Executive functions were assessed using the Wechsler Digit Span task (verbal working memory), the Visuospatial Memory task (visuospatial working memory), the Stop Signal task (response inhibition) and a modified version of the Flanker task (interference control). Information processing and lapses of attention were obtained by applying an ex-Gaussian analysis on go trials of the Stop Signal task. Multilevel regression analysis showed that gross motor skills were significantly related to verbal working memory, visuospatial working memory and response inhibition, but not to interference control. Lapses of attention was a significant predictor for all executive functions, whereas processing speed was not. Variability in processing speed was only predictive for visuospatial working memory. After controlling for information processing and lapses of attention, gross motor skills were only significantly related to visuospatial working memory and response inhibition. The results suggest that after controlling for information processing and lapses of attention, gross motor skills are related to aspects of executive functions that are most directly involved in, and share common underlying processes with, gross motor skills.
Project description:Secular gain and drop in cognitive test performances over time have been observed and called respectively the Flynn and anti-Flynn effects. The current datasets include raw data from an investigation of the Flynn and/or anti-Flynn effects on verbal and visuospatial short-term and working memory reported in 'The Flynn effect for verbal and visuospatial short-term and working memory: A cross-temporal meta-analysis' (Wongupparaj, Wongupparaj, Kumari, Morris, 2017) . Specifically, the datasets totally contain 1754 individual samples (n = 139,677) across a 43-year period from forward/backward digit span (F/BDS) and forward/backward Corsi-block span (CBS) tests. Mean memory test scores, standard deviation scores, types of memory tests, years of publication, mean ages, male percentages, types of publication, types of countries, platforms of memory tests, and sample sizes were collected and included in the datasets. DS and CBS data are unique in that they can provide a rich source of trends concerning changing short-term and working memory test scores across memory types, test platforms, age groups, gender, and countries. Further, these data can be of use for investigation of psychometric properties for the memory tests.
Project description:Impaired executive function (EF) is suggested to be one of the core features in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, little is known about whether the extent of worse EF in ASD than typically developing (TD) controls is age-dependent. We used age-stratified analysis to reveal this issue.We assessed 111 youths with ASD (aged 12.5 ± 2.8 years, male 94.6%) and 114 age-, and sex-matched TD controls with Digit Span and four EF tasks of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB): Spatial Span (SSP), Spatial Working Memory (SWM), Stockings of Cambridge (SOC), and Intradimensional/Extradimensional Shift Test (I/ED).Compared to TD controls, youths with ASD performed poorer on the Digit Span, SWM, SOC, and I/ED tasks. The performance of all the tasks improved with age for both groups. Age-stratified analyses were conducted due to significant age × group interactions in visuospatial planning (SOC) and set-shifting (I/ED) and showed that poorer performance on these two tasks in ASD than TD controls was found only in the child (aged 8-12 years) rather than the adolescent (aged 13-18 years) group. By contrast, youths with ASD had impaired working memory, regardless of age. The increased magnitude of group difference in visuospatial planning (SOC) with increased task demands differed between the two age groups but no age moderating effect on spatial working memory.Our findings support deficits in visuospatial working memory and planning in youths with ASD; however, worse performance in set-shifting may only be demonstrated in children with ASD.
Project description:Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) has been considered to impair long-term memory, whilst not affecting working memory, but recent evidence suggests that working memory is compromised. Functional MRI (fMRI) studies demonstrate that working memory involves a bilateral frontoparietal network the activation of which is disrupted in hippocampal sclerosis (HS). A specific role of the hippocampus to deactivate during working memory has been proposed with this mechanism faulty in patients with HS. Structural correlates of disrupted working memory in HS have not been explored.We studied 54 individuals with medically refractory TLE and unilateral HS (29 left) and 28 healthy controls. Subjects underwent 3T structural MRI, a visuospatial n-back fMRI paradigm and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Working memory capacity assessed by three span tasks (digit span backwards, gesture span, motor sequences) was combined with performance in the visuospatial paradigm to give a global working memory measure. Gray and white matter changes were investigated using voxel-based morphometry and voxel-based analysis of DTI, respectively.Individuals with left or right HS performed less well than healthy controls on all measures of working memory. fMRI demonstrated a bilateral frontoparietal network during the working memory task with reduced activation of the right parietal lobe in both patient groups. In left HS, gray matter loss was seen in the ipsilateral hippocampus and parietal lobe, with maintenance of the gray matter volume of the contralateral parietal lobe associated with better performance. White matter integrity within the frontoparietal network, in particular the superior longitudinal fasciculus and cingulum, and the contralateral temporal lobe, was associated with working memory performance. In right HS, gray matter loss was also seen in the ipsilateral hippocampus and parietal lobe. Working memory performance correlated with the gray matter volume of both frontal lobes and white matter integrity within the frontoparietal network and contralateral temporal lobe.Our data provide further evidence that working memory is disrupted in HS and impaired integrity of both gray and white matter is seen in functionally relevant areas. We suggest this forms the structural basis of the impairment of working memory, indicating widespread and functionally significant structural changes in patients with apparently isolated HS.
Project description:The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between different exercise modes and visuospatial working memory in healthy older adults. A cross-sectional design was adopted. A total of 111 healthy older adults were enrolled in the study. They were classified by the exercise-related questionnaire to be in an open-skill group, closed-skill group or sedentary group. In experiment 1, the participants performed a visuospatial working memory task. The results indicated that both closed-skill (p < 0.05) and open-skill (p < 0.01) groups reached a higher accuracy than the sedentary group. Experiment 2 examined whether the exercise-induced benefit of working memory was manifested in passive maintenance or active manipulation of working memory which was assessed by visuospatial short-term memory task and visuospatial mental rotation task, respectively. The results showed that the open-skill (p < 0.01) group was more accurate than the sedentary group in the visuospatial short-term memory task, whereas the group difference in the visuospatial mental rotation task was not significant. These findings combined to suggest that physical exercise was associated with better visuospatial working memory in older adults. Furthermore, open-skill exercises that demand higher cognitive processing showed selective benefit for passive maintenance of working memory.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Work surrounding the relationship between visuospatial working memory (WM) and mathematics performance is gaining significant traction as a result of a focus on improving academic attainment. AIMS:This study examined the relative contributions of verbal and visuospatial simple and complex WM measures to mathematics in primary school children aged 6-10 years. SAMPLE:A sample of 111 children in years 2-5 were assessed (Mage = 100.06 months, SD = 14.47). METHOD:Children were tested individually on all memory measures, followed by a separate mathematics testing session as a class group in the same assessment wave. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:Results revealed an age-dependent relationship, with a move towards visuospatial influence in older children. Further analyses demonstrated that backward word span and backward matrices contributed unique portions of variance of mathematics, regardless of the regression model specified. We discuss possible explanations for our preliminary findings in relation to the existing literature alongside their implications for educators and further research.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Working memory is critical for various cognitive processes and can be separated into two stages: short-term memory storage and manipulation processing. Although previous studies have demonstrated that increased physical activity (PA) improves working memory and that males outperform females on visuospatial working memory tasks, few studies have determined the contribution of the two underlying stages to the visuospatial working memory improvement associated with PA. Thus, the aims of the present study were to verify the relationship between physical activity and visuospatial working memory, determine whether one or both stages were affected by PA, and investigate any sex differences.<h4>Methods</h4>A total of 56 undergraduate students were recruited for this study. Their scores on the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) were used to separate them into either a lower PA (<i>n</i> = 26; IPAQ score ?3,000 metabolic equivalent [MET]-min/week) or higher PA (<i>n</i> = 30; IPAQ score >3,000 MET-min/week) group. Participants were required to complete three tasks: a visuospatial working memory task, a task that examines the short-term memory storage stage, and a mental rotation task that examines the active manipulation stage.<h4>Results</h4>Participants in the higher PA group maintained similar accuracy but displayed significantly faster reaction times (RT) than those in the lower PA group on the visuospatial working memory and manipulation tasks. By contrast, no difference was observed between groups on the short-term memory storage task. In addition, no effects of sex were detected.<h4>Discussion</h4>Our results confirm that PA was positively to visuospatial working memory and that this positive relationship was associated with more rapid cognitive processing during the manipulation stage, with little or no relationship between PA and the memory storage stage of visuospatial working memory.
Project description:DNA for 2979 individuals from Guangzhou was extract from peripheral blood and genotyped by Sequenom, with digit-number working memory, visuospatial working memory, recent long-term memory measured.
Project description:Demands on visuospatial working memory are a ubiquitous part of everyday life. As such, significant efforts have been made to understand how the brain responds to these demands in real-world environments. Multiple brain imaging studies have highlighted a fronto-parietal cortical network that underlies visuospatial working memory, is modulated by cognitive load, and that appears to respond uniquely to encoding versus retrieval components. Furthermore, multiple studies have identified functional connectivity in regions of the fronto-parietal network during working memory tasks. Together, these findings have helped outline important aspects of the neural architecture that underlies visuospatial working memory. Here, we provide results from the first fNIRS-based investigation of fronto-parietal signatures of cortical activation and functional connectivity during a computer-based visuospatial working memory task. Our results indicate that the local maxima of cortical activation and functional coherence do not necessarily overlap spatially, and that cortical activation is significantly more susceptible to task-specific demands compared to functional connectivity. These results highlight important and novel information regarding neurotypical signatures of cortical activation and functional connectivity during visuospatial working memory. Our findings also demonstrate the utility of fNIRS for interrogating these cognitive processes.
Project description:Working memory (WM) is a key cognitive system that is strongly related to other cognitive domains and relevant for everyday life. However, the structure of WM is yet to be determined. A number of WM models have been put forth especially by factor analytical studies. In broad terms, these models vary by their emphasis on WM contents (e.g., visuospatial, verbal) vs. WM processes (e.g., maintenance, updating) as critical, dissociable elements. Here we conducted confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses on a broad set of WM tasks, half of them numerical-verbal and half of them visuospatial, representing four commonly used task paradigms: simple span, complex span, running memory, and n-back. The tasks were selected to allow the detection of both content-based (visuospatial, numerical-verbal) and process-based (maintenance, updating) divisions. The data were collected online which allowed the recruitment of a large and demographically diverse sample of adults (n = 711). Both factor analytical methods pointed to a clear division according to task content for all paradigms except n-back, while there was no indication for a process-based division. Besides the content-based division, confirmatory factor analyses supported a model that also included a general WM factor. The n-back tasks had the highest loadings on the general factor, suggesting that this factor reflected high-level cognitive resources such as executive functioning and fluid intelligence that are engaged with all WM tasks, and possibly even more so with the n-back. Together with earlier findings that indicate high variability of process-based WM divisions, we conclude that the most robust division of WM is along its contents (visuospatial vs. numerical-verbal), rather than along its hypothetical subprocesses.