Can we improve the clinical assessment of working memory? An evaluation of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition using a working memory criterion construct

B. D. Hill, Emily M. Elliott, Jill T. Shelton, Russell D. Pella, Judith R. O'Jile, W. Drew Gouvier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Working memory is the cognitive ability to hold a discrete amount of information in mind in an accessible state for utilization in mental tasks. This cognitive ability is impaired in many clinical populations typically assessed by clinical neuropsychologists. Recently, there have been a number of theoretical shifts in the way that working memory is conceptualized and assessed in the experimental literature. This study sought to determine to what extent the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition (WAIS-III) Working Memory Index (WMI) measures the construct studied in the cognitive working memory literature, whether an improved WMI could be derived from the subtests that comprise the WAIS-III, and what percentage of variance in individual WAIS-III subtests is explained by working memory. It was hypothesized that subtests beyond those currently used to form the WAIS-III WMI would be able to account for a greater percentage of variance in a working memory criterion construct than the current WMI. Multiple regression analyses (n = 180) revealed that the best predictor model of subtests for assessing working memory was composed of the Digit Span, Letter-Number Sequencing, Matrix Reasoning, and Vocabulary. The Arithmetic subtest was not a significant contributor to the model. These results are discussed in the context of how they relate to Unsworth and Engle's (2006, 2007) new conceptualization of working memory mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-323
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Keywords

  • Dual-component model
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition
  • Working memory

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