Performance dissociation during verbal and spatial working memory tasks

Bonnie J. Nagel, Arthur Ohannessian, Kevin Cummins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Past research has inconsistently distinguished the neural substrates of various types of working memory. Task design and individual performance differences are known to alter patterns of brain response during working-memory tasks. These task and individual differences may have produced discrepancies in imaging findings. This study of 50 healthy adults (Mage= 19.6 yr., SD= .8) examined performance during various parametric manipulations of a verbal and spatial n-back working-memory task. Performance systematically dissociated on the basis of working-memory load, working memory type, and stimulus difficulty, with participants having greater accuracy but slower response time during conditions requiring verbal versus spatial working memory. These findings hold implications for cognitive and neuroimaging studies of verbal and spatial working memory and highlight the importance of considering both task design and individual behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-250
Number of pages8
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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