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When the Central Executive lets us down: schemas, attention and load in a generative working memory task.
BARNARD, P.J., SCOTT, S.K. & May, J.
Memory, 9 (4/5/6), 209-221
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Participants were asked to generate a single sequence of numbers in between two bounds. By varying the requested sequence length and way in which the question is posed, this paradigm enables assessment of the contributions to central executive functioning of schema, focus of attention and load. With sequences of 3 or 4 numbers, a quarter of the sample failed fully to comply with the instructions. They generated an incorrect number of numbers or went outside the specified bounds. With sequences of 6 numbers, more than half of the sample infringed one or more of the constraints. Participants consistently generated sequences with particular generic properties. The overall frequency and patterns of infringements suggests that a substantial proportion of participants focused their conceptual attention on sequence content and often neglected the problem of how the length and boundary constraints was going to be evaluated either before or during response delivery.