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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 5/2021

02-01-2021 | Original Article

Between-person variation in naturally occurring affect does not relate to working memory performance: a latent variable modelling study

Auteurs: Andrew Chung, Michael A. Busseri, Karen M. Arnell

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 5/2021

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Abstract

Some studies have shown that induced positive and negative affective states have differential effects on verbal and spatial working memory (WM) performance, such that positive affect improves verbal WM and impairs spatial WM, while negative affect improves spatial WM and impairs verbal WM. However, other evidence based on mood induction procedures or clinical levels of negative affect has supported a nonspecific influence of affect on WM performance where negative affect impairs, and positive affect improves, both verbal and spatial WM. The present study employed a latent variable approach to investigate whether differences in naturally occurring affect between individuals are related to verbal and spatial WM performance across six WM tasks in an unselected sample of undergraduate students (N = 112, M age = 20; 84% female). Results were consistent with previous evidence demonstrating a hierarchical model of WM. Naturally occurring positive and negative affect were not significantly related to WM performance on each task, and this lack of significant association held for the overall WM latent variable, verbal and spatial WM latent variables, as well as complex span and 2-back latent variables. In contrast to research demonstrating a relationship between induced affect or clinical levels of negative affect and WM, the non-significant relationship between naturally occurring affect and WM performance in the current nonclinical unselected sample suggests that typical levels of affect are not related to WM differences across individuals.

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Voetnoten
1
In addition to the Circumplex Affect Questionnaire, the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule, and the Emotion Report Form, that were used to measure affect, most participants also completed the Behavioural Inhibition System and Behavioural Activation System Questionnaire (Carver & White, 1994), and the Trait portion of the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (Spielberger, 1989). These additional measures are not the focus of the study and will not be discussed further except to note here that they showed no significant relationships with any WM task nor the latent WM variable.
 
2
Possible relationships between activation and WM were also examined, as were valence X activation relationships with WM, but none were found. These are not discussed here for brevity.
 
3
Scoring the accuracy of each individual span item (out of 42 possible locations in the Symmetry Span task, or out of 75 possible letters in the Reading Span task) as we did here means that performance on longer runs is more heavily weighted (e.g. a run with four elements in a series is weighted twice as much as a run with two elements). This sum scoring can be contrasted with unit weighted scoring where the percentage of items correct in each run is calculated individually for each run and then averaged together such that 100% on a run of two items would be weighted the same as 100% on a run of four items). Both methods are commonly used, and Conway et al. (2005) were largely agnostic about which method was preferable as they found extremely high correlations between the two methods. We observed a 0.92 correlation between the two scoring methods for Reading Span scores, and a 0.85 correlation between the two scoring methods for Symmetry Span scores. Summed scoring was used here, but when unit weighted scoring was used instead, the same non-significant pattern of relationships with affect were also observed. The only case where a path coefficient changed more than 0.02 was that the unit scoring method resulted in the symmetry span scores loading less highly (but still significantly) on the complex span factor (see Fig. 6) and the spatial factor (see Fig. 7), although model fit was still good based on all of the fit indices. This is consistent with the fact that the original scoring method weighted long span trials more heavily and this is where the most interindividual variability is observed.
 
4
Affect was also not significantly associated with WM at any level when the latent positive and negative affect factors were treated as indicators of a higher-order latent affect valence factor which was then examined with WM, as above.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
Between-person variation in naturally occurring affect does not relate to working memory performance: a latent variable modelling study
Auteurs
Andrew Chung
Michael A. Busseri
Karen M. Arnell
Publicatiedatum
02-01-2021
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 5/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01387-0