Variations in working memory capacity predict individual differences in general learning abilities among genetically diverse mice

Stefan Kolata, Kenneth Light, David A. Townsend, Gregory Hale, Henya C. Grossman, Louis D. Matzel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

Up to 50% of an individuals' performance across a wide variety of distinct cognitive tests can be accounted for by a single factor (i.e., "general intelligence"). Despite its ubiquity, the processes or mechanisms regulating this factor are a matter of considerable debate. Although it has been hypothesized that working memory may impact cognitive performance across various domains, tests have been inconclusive due to the difficultly in isolating working memory from its overlapping operations, such as verbal ability. We address this problem using genetically diverse mice, which exhibit a trait analogous to general intelligence. The general cognitive abilities of CD-1 mice were found to covary with individuals' working memory capacity, but not with variations in long-term retention. These results provide evidence that independent of verbal abilities, variations in working memory are associated with general cognitive abilities, and further, suggest a conservation across species of mechanisms and/or processes that regulate cognitive abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)241-246
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
Volume84
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Keywords

  • General cognitive ability
  • General learning ability
  • Intelligence
  • Learning
  • Long-term memory
  • Memory
  • Mice
  • Working memory

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