On the division of working memory and long-term memory and their relation to intelligence: A latent variable approach

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2010 May;134(1):16-28. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.11.010. Epub 2009 Dec 21.


The present study examined the extent to which working (WM) and long-term memory (LTM) reflect the same, related, or completely different constructs and how they relate to other cognitive ability constructs. Participants performed various WM, recall, recognition, general fluid (gF) and general crystallized intelligence (gC) measures. Confirmatory factor analyses suggested that the memory measures could be grouped into three separate yet correlated factors (WM, recall, and recognition) and that these factors were strongly related to gF, but were related less so with gC. Furthermore, it was found that the common variance from the three memory factors could be accounted for by a higher-order memory factor which was strongly related to gF, but less so with gC. Finally, structural equation modeling suggested that both the variance common to the WM tasks and the variance common to all the memory tasks accounted for a unique variance in gF. These results are interpreted within an embedded process model of memory and suggest that WM and LTM tasks measure both shared and unique processes, which are important for intelligence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Problem Solving*
  • Reaction Time
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Retention, Psychology*
  • Serial Learning
  • Sex Factors
  • Verbal Learning*
  • Vocabulary
  • Young Adult