Cognitive inhibition and cognitive load: a moderation hypothesis

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Publication details

Yeigh, T 2014, 'Cognitive inhibition and cognitive load: a moderation hypothesis'. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 1744-1752.

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Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) has seen widespread acceptance within education as an approach to instructional design that supports the broader theory of a limited capacity working memory (WM) system. However a problem exists in relation to CLT, in that it has not been able to offer a causal mechanism that clearly explains how the theory works. This report discusses a pilot study investigating cognitive inhibition as the mechanism by which extrinsic cognitive load may be explained. The results of the study showed that the ability to inhibit distracting information was distributed across a normal range of individual differences for a group of year-8 (8th grade) students, and that these differences influenced how cognitive load was experienced by the students in relation to their learning. These findings suggest that inhibition moderates at least the extrinsic form of cognitive load, and offer further direction in terms of the empirical testing of CLT.

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