The role of working memory capacity in multiple-cue probability learning

J.J. Rolison, Jonathan St B. T. Evans, C.R. Walsh, I. Dennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple-cue probability learning (MCPL) involves learning to predict a criterion when outcome feedback is provided for multiple cues. A great deal of research suggests that working memory capacity (WMC) is involved in a wide range of tasks that draw on higher level cognitive processes. In three experiments, we examined the role of WMC in MCPL by introducing measures of working memory capacity, as well as other task manipulations. While individual differences in WMC positively predicted performance in some kinds of multiple-cue tasks, performance on other tasks was entirely unrelated to these differences. Performance on tasks that contained negative cues was correlated with working memory capacity, as well as measures of explicit knowledge obtained in the learning process. When the relevant cues predicted positively, however, WMC became irrelevant. The results are discussed in terms of controlled and automatic processes in learning and judgement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1494-1514
Number of pages21
JournalThe Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 01 Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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