A reappraisal of the relationship between span memory and intelligence via "best evidence synthesis."
This paper examines the relationship between span memory [e.g., immediate memory, short-term memory (STM), simple span] and general ability (g) though a reanalysis of two data sets [Christal, R. E. (1959). Factor analytic study of visual memory. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 72 (13, Whole No. 466); (see record 1959-09796-001); Kelley, H.P. (1964). Memory abilities: A factor analysis. Psychometric Monographs, No. 11]. Because of their large sample sizes and the multiple measures used to identify each construct, the Christal and Kelley studies were examined within a “best evidence synthesis” framework. Modern structural equation modeling (SEM) techniques were used to examine the relationship between immediate memory and g. Results indicated that in both studies, the relationship between immediate memory and g was quite substantial (.71 and .83), and that this relationship was essentially reduced by half when the common content variance of the tests was accounted for (e.g., verbal, spatial, numerical). Results are discussed within the context of recent research examining the relationship between working memory (WM) and g.