Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Is it a Small World After All? Investigating the Theoretical Structure of Working Memory Cross-Nationally

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to test different theoretical models of working memory in childhood based on a computerized assessment. We tested this across several countries: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Italy, and UK. The present study addressed the wider macro-cultural context and how this impacts working memory. We used two economic indices (GDP and PPP) to characterize the participating countries and ranked the countries based on the Global Index of Cognitive Skills and Educational Attainment. Children between 5 and 10 years completed the same set of short-term and working memory tests. There were two main findings. First, there was a similar pattern in verbal working memory across countries, which suggests that this skill may be relatively consistent across different cultural groups. In contrast, the pattern for visuo-spatial working memory was different across countries, which may explained by cultural differences and educational rankings of the countries. The second main finding was that both a domain-general model (3-factor) and a domain-specific model (4-factor) provided a reasonably good fit with the data, there was the high relationship between the verbal and visuo-spatial working memory constructs across the countries in the latter model. Thus, it may be a more parsimonious choice to rely on a three-factor model. The data also suggest culture-similar patterns in a computerized assessment of working memory.

Affiliations: 1: University of North FloridaUSA ; 2: University of North FloridaUSA ; 3: University of Western OntarioCanada ; 4: Universidad de Buenos AiresArgentina ; 5: Università degli Studi di TriesteItaly ; 6: University of Minho BragaPortugal


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Alloway T. P. 2007 Automated Working Memory Assessment London Harcourt Assessment
2. Alloway T. P. 2010 Improving Working Memory: Supporting Students’ Learning London Sage Press
3. Alloway T. P., Alloway R. G. 2013"Working Memory in the Lifespan: A Cross-Sectional Approach" Journal of Cognitive PsychologyVol 25 84 93 [Crossref]
4. Alloway T. P., Alloway R. G. 2010"Investigating the predictive roles of working memory and iq in academic attainment" Journal of Experimental Child PsychologyVol 106 20 29 [Crossref]
5. Aloway T. P., Alloway R. G., Wootan S. (in press). "Home Sweet Home: The impact of zipcode on cognitive skills" Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
6. Alloway T. P., Banner G., Smith P. 2010"Working memory and cognitive styles in adolescents’ attainment" British Journal of Educational PsychologyVol 80 567 581 [Crossref]
7. Alloway T. P., Gathercole S. E, Kirkwood H. J., Elliott J. E. 2008"Evaluating the validity of the Atomated Working Memory Assessment" Educational PsychologyVol 7 725 734 [Crossref]
8. Alloway T. P., Passolunghi M. C. 2011"The relations between working memory and arithmetical abilities: A comparison between Italian and British children" Learning and Individual DifferencesVol 21 133 137 [Crossref]
9. Alloway T. P., Gathercole S. E., Pickering S. J. 2006"Verbal and visuo-spatial short-term and working memory in children: Are they separable?" Child DevelopmentVol 77 1698 1716 [Crossref]
10. Alloway T. P., Gathercole S. E., Willis C., Adams A. M. 2004"A structural analysis of working memory and related cognitive skills in early childhood" Journal of Experimental Child PsychologyVol 87 85 106 [Crossref]
11. Baddeley A. D. 1996"Exploring the central executive" Quarterly Journal of Experimental PsychologyVol 49A 5 28 [Crossref]
12. Baddeley A. D., Hitch G. 1974"Working memory" Bower G. The psychology of learning and motivationVol 8 47 90 New York Academic Press
13. Barber N. 2005"Educational and Ecological Correlates of iq: A Cross-National Investigation" IntelligenceVol 33 273 284 [Crossref]
14. Bayliss D. M., Jarrold C., Baddeley A. D., Gunn D. M., Leigh E. 2005"Mapping the developmental constraints on working memory span performance" Developmental PsychologyVol 41 579 597 [Crossref]
15. Bentler P. M. 1990"Comparative fit indexes in structural models" Psychological BulletinVol 107 238 246 [Crossref]
16. Bentler P. M. 2001 eqs structural equation modelling software (version 6.0) [computer software] USA mvsoft
17. Bentler P. M., Bonett D. G. 1980"Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures" Psychological BulletinVol 88 588 606 [Crossref]
18. Bentler P. M., Wu E. J. C. 1995 EQS for Macintosh User’s Guide Encino, CA Multivariate Software, Inc.
19. Bollen K. A. 1989 Structural Equations with Latent Variables New York John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [Crossref]
20. Boker S., Neale M., Maes H., Wilde M., Spiegel M., Brick T., Spies J., Estabrook R., Kenny S., Bates T., Mehta P., Fox J. 2011"OpenMx: An Open Source Extended Structural Equation Modeling Framework" PsychometrikaVol 76 306 317 [Crossref]
21. Bull R., Scerif G. 2001"Executive functioning as a predictor of children’s mathematics ability. Shifting, inhibition and working memory" Developmental NeuropsychologyVol 19 273 293 [Crossref]
22. Cowan N., Alloway T. P. 2008"The development of working memory in childhood" Courage M., Cowan N. Development of Memory in Infancy and Childhood 2nd edition 303 342 Hove, England Psychology Press
23. Department for Education and Skills 2006 Special Educational Needs — A guide for parents and carers London Department for Education and Employment
24. Economist Intelligence Unit 2012 The Learning Curve London Pearson Retrieved 2013-2010-31
25. Ecuyer-Dab I., Robert M. 2004"Have sex differences in spatial ability evolved from male competition for mating and female concern for survival?" CognitionVol 91 221 257 [Crossref]
26. Engel P. M. J. 2011"Working memory in multilingual children: Is there a bilingual effect?" MemoryVol 19 529 537 [Crossref]
27. Engel P. M. J., Santos F. H., Gathercole S. E. 2008"Are working memory measures free of socio-economic influence?" Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing ResearchVol 51 1580 1587 [Crossref]
28. Engle R. W., Kane M. J., Tuholski S. W. 1999a"Individual differences in working memory capacity and what they tell us about controlled attention, general fluid intelligence, and functions of the prefrontal cortex" Miyake A., Shah P. Models of working memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control 102 134 New York Cambridge Univ. Press [Crossref]
29. Engle R. W., Tuholski S. W., Laughlin J. E., Conway A. R. A. 1999"Working memory, short-term memory, and general fluid intelligence: A latent variable approach" Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralVol 125 309 331 [Crossref]
30. Evans G., Schamberg M. 2009"Childhood poverty, chronic stress, and adult working memory" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USAVol 106 6545 6549 [Crossref]
31. Farah M. J. , et al 2006"Childhood poverty: Specific associations with neurocognitive development" Brain ResearchVol 110 166 174 [Crossref]
32. Friedman N. P., Miyake A. 2000"Differential roles for visuospatial and verbal working memory in situation model construction" Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralVol 129 61 83 [Crossref]
33. García-Pentón L., Fernández A. P., Iturria-Medina Y., Gillon-Dowens M., Carreiras M. 2014"Anatomical connectivity changes in the bilingual brain" NeuroimageVol 84 495 504 [Crossref]
34. Gathercole S. E., Pickering S. J., Knight C., Stegmann Z. 2004a"Working memory skills and educational attainment: Evidence from National Curriculum assessments at 7 and 14 years of age" Applied Cognitive PsychologyVol 40 1 16 [Crossref]
35. Gathercole S. E., Pickering S. J., Ambridge B., Wearing H. 2004b"The structure of working memory from 4 to 15 years of age" Developmental PsychologyVol 40 177 190 [Crossref]
36. Geary D. C. 2011"Cognitive predictors of individual differences in achievement growth in mathematics: A five year longitudinal study" Developmental PsychologyVol 47 1539 1552 [Crossref]
37. Geary D. C., Hoard M. K., Hamson C. O. 1999"Numerical and arithmetical cognition: Patterns of functions and deficits in children at risk for a mathematical disability" Journal of Experimental Child PsychologyVol 74 213 239 [Crossref]
38. Guimond S. 2007"Psychological similarities and differences between women and men across cultures" Social and Personality Psychology CompassVol 2 494 510 [Crossref]
39. Halpern D., Benbow C., Geary D. C., Gur R., Hyde J., Gernsbacher M. A. 2007"The science of sex differences in science and mathematics" Psychological Science in the Public InterestVol 8 1 52 [Crossref]
40. Heyneman S. P., Loxley W. A. 1983"The effect of primary-school quality on academic achievement across twenty-nine high-and low-income countries" American Journal of sociologyVol 88 1162 1194 [Crossref]
41. Insua A. M. 1983"wais-r factor structures in two cultures" Journal of Cross-Cultural PsychologyVol 14 427 438 [Crossref]
42. Injoque-Ricle I., Calero A., Alloway T. P., Burin D. 2011"Assessing wm in Spanish-Speaking Children: Automated Working Memory Assessment Battery Adaptation" Learning & Individual DifferencesVol 21 78 84 [Crossref]
43. Injoque-Ricle I., Barreyro J. P., Burin D. 2012"Working Memory Structure in Children: Comparing Different Models During Childhood" Escritos de PsicologíaVol 5 27 38 [Crossref]
44. Jaeggi S. M., Buschkuehl M., Jonides J., Shah P. 2011"Short- and long-term benefits of cognitive training" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USAVol 108 10081 10086 [Crossref]
45. Kane M. J., Hambrick D. Z., Tuholski S. W., Wilhelm O., Payne T. W., Engle R. W. 2004"The Generality of Working-Memory Capacity: A Latent-Variable Approach to Verbal and Visuo-Spatial Memory Span and Reasoning" Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralVol 133 189 217 [Crossref]
46. Kline R. B. 1979 Psychometrics and psychology London Academic Press
47. Kline R. B. 1998 Principles and practice of structural equation modeling New York Guilford
48. Kyllonen P. C. 1993"Aptitude testing inspired by information processing: A test of the four-sources model" Journal of General PsychologyVol 120 375 405 [Crossref]
49. Lippa R. A., Collaer M. L., Peters M. 2010"Sex differences in mental rotation and line angle judgments are positively associated with gender equality and economic development across 53 nations" Archives of Sexual BehaviorVol 39 990 997 [Crossref]
50. Lupien S , et al 2006"Beyond the stress concept: Allostatic load, a developmental biological and cognitive perspective" Cicchetii D., Cohen D. Developmental Psychopathology New York Wiley Press
51. Lupien S. J., Maheu F., Tu M., Fiocco A., Shrmaek T. E. 2007 "The effect of stress and stress hormones on human cognition: Implications for the field of brain and cognition" Brain CognitionVol 65 209 237 [Crossref]
52. Manly J. J., Byrd D., Touradji P., Sanchez D., Stern Y. 2004"Literacy and cognitive change among ethnically diverse elders" International Journal of PsychologyVol 39 47 60 [Crossref]
53. Manly J. J., Jacobs D. M., Touradji P., Small S. A., Stern Y. 2002"Reading level attenuates differences in neuropsychological test performance between African American and White elders" Journal of the International Neuropsychological SocietyVol 8 341 348 [Crossref]
54. McDonald R. P., Ho R. M. 2002"Principles and practice in reporting structural equation analyses" Psychological MethodsVol 7 64 82 [Crossref]
55. Messer M. H., Leseman P. P. M., Mayo A. Y., Boom J. 2010"Long-term phonotactic knowledge supports verbal short-term memory in young native and second language learners" Journal of Experimental Child PsychologyVol 105 306 323 [Crossref]
56. Miller-Jones D. 1989"Culture and testing" American PsychologistVol 45 360 366 [Crossref]
57. Miyake A., Friedman N., Rettinger D. A., Shah P., Hegarty M. 2001"How are visuospatial working memory, executive functioning, and spatial abilities related? A latent-variable analysis" Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralVol 130 621 640 [Crossref]
58. Morales J., Calvo A., Bialystok E. 2013"Working memory development in monolingual and bilingual children" Journal of Experimental Child PsychologyVol 114 187 202 [Crossref]
59. Nell V. 1999"Standardizing the wais-iii and the wms-iii for South Africa: Legislative, psychometric, and policy issues" South African Journal of PsychologyVol 29 128 138 [Crossref]
60. Oberauer K., Süß H-M., Schulze R., Wilhelm O., Wittmann W. W. 2000"Working Memory Capacity — Facets of a Cognitive Ability Construct" Personality and Individual DifferencesVol 29 1017 1045 [Crossref]
61. Ostrosky-Solis F., Ramirez M., Ardila A. 2004"Effects of culture and education on neuropsychological testing: A preliminary study with indigenous and nonindigenous population" Applied NeuropsychologyVol 11 186 193 [Crossref]
62. Passolunghi M. C., Mammarella I. 2010"Spatial and visual working memory ability in children with difficulties in arithmetic word problem-solving" European Journal of Cognitive Psychology 944 963 [Crossref]
63. Ravallion M., Chen S., Sangraula P. 2009"Dollar a day" The World Bank Economic ReviewVol 23 163 184 [Crossref]
64. Rosselli M., Ardila A. 2003"The impact of culture and education on non-verbal neuropsychological measurements: A critical review" Brain and CognitionVol 52 326 333 [Crossref]
65. Santos F. H., Bueno O. 2003"Validation of the Brazilian Children’s Test of. Pseudoword Repetition in Portuguese speakers aged 4 to 10 years" Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological ResearchVol 36 1533 1547 [Crossref]
66. Santos F. H., Engel P. M. J. 2008"Adaptação brasileira da AWMA, “Automated Working Memory Assessment”" Ortiz K. Z., Mendonça L. I. C., Foz A, Santos C. B., Fuentes D., Azambuja D. A. Avaliação Neuropsicológica: Panorama interdisciplinar dos estudos na normatização e valiação de instrumentos no Brasil 1ed. São Paulo Vetor Editora Psicopedagógica 355 378
67. Santos F. H., Mello C. B., Bueno O., Dellatolas G. 2005"Cross-cultural differences for three visual memory tasks in Brazilian children" Perceptual and Motor SkillsVol 101 421 435 [Crossref]
68. Serpell R. 1994"The cultural construction of intelligence" Lonner W. J., Halpass R. Psychology and culture 157 163 Boston Allyn & Bacon
69. Shah P., Miyake A. 1996"The separability of working memory resources for spatial thinking and language processing: An individual differences approach" Journal of Experimental Psychology: GeneralVol 125 4 27 [Crossref]
70. Shuttleworth-Edwards A. B., Kemp R. D., Rust A. L., Muirhead J. G. L., Hartman N. P., Radloff S. E. 2004"Cross-cultural effects on iq test performance: A review and preliminary indications on wais-iii test performance in South Africa" Journal of Clinical and Experimental NeuropsychologyVol 26 903 920 [Crossref]
71. Shuttleworth-Edwards A. B., Donnelly M. J. R., Reid I., Radloff S. E. 2004"A cross-cultural study with culture fair normative indications on wais-iii Digit Symbol-Incidental Learning" Journal of Clinical and Experimental NeuropsychologyVol 26 921 932 [Crossref]
72. Silverman I., Phillips K. 1998"The evolutionary psychology of spatial sex differences" Crawford C., Krebs D. L. Handbook of evolutionary psychology: Ideas, issues, and applications 595 612 Mahwah, NJ Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
73. Swanson H. L., Sachse-Lee C. 2001"Mathematical problem solving and working memory in children with learning disabilities: Both executive and phonological processes are important" Journal of Experimental Child PsychologyVol 79 294 321 [Crossref]
74. Voyer D., Voyer S., Bryden M. P. 1995"Magnitude of sex differences in spatial abilities: A meta-analysis and consideration of critical variables" Psychological BulletinVol 117 250 270 [Crossref]
75. United Nations Development Program"Human Development Report" 2006 Retrieved on October 25, 2013.
76. Westland J. C. 2010"Lower bounds on sample size in structural equation modeling" Electronic Commerce Research and ApplicationsVol 9 476 487 [Crossref]
77. World Bank 2012 Retrieved 2013-2010-25

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Journal of Cognition and Culture — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation