Differential Roles for Visuospatial and Verbal Working Memory in Situation Model Construction


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Abstract

Two experiments investigated the processing of the spatial and causal dimensions of situation models. In Experiment 1, participants read texts varying in spatial and causal demands while responding to on-line spatial and causal probes. Experiment 2 used the same design, but used texts that more tightly integrated spatial and causal information. In both experiments, spatially oriented dependent measures were generally influenced by spatial, but not causal, demands, whereas causally oriented measures were influenced by causal, but not spatial, demands. In addition, spatially oriented dependent measures were generally correlated with a measure of spatial working memory capacity, whereas causally oriented measures were correlated with a measure of verbal working memory capacity. These results indicate that spatial and causal dimensions of situation models are maintained and elaborated independently in different working memory subsystems.

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