The impact of movement fluency, complexity and diverted attention on working memory processes

Document Type


Publication details

Trindle, R & Longstaff, MG 2015, 'The impact of movement fluency, complexity and diverted attention on working memory processes', XII International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience (ICON-XII), Brisbane, Qld., 27-31 July, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Switzerland,

Abstract available on open access

Peer Reviewed



Working Memory (WM) has been extensively studied in relation to its components, processes and tasks that cause WM capacity to become overloaded. Previous research established dual task efficiency is unaffected when stimuli are processed in different sub systems (Baddeley, 2012; Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). The current study aims to identify if a drawing task independent of a verbal component will interfere with the recall of words. Participants completed three serial recall tasks, where they listened to word lists or listened to word lists while producing discrete (star) and continual (circle) movements. It was hypothesised that participants would recall fewer words in the discrete and continual movement conditions compared to the listening condition, and fewer words in the discrete condition compared to the continual condition. The results showed the continual condition interfered with recall significantly more than the listening condition. An analysis of simple effects revealed at what serial positions the conditions differed. The results indicate that continual movement independent of a phonological component reduces WM performance. The role of available working memory capacity, dual task efficiency, complexity and attention in relation to WM performance are discussed.

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