Star Counting Test

Based on Baddeley and Hitch’s (1974) working memory model and Norman and Shallice’s (1986) theory of central executive functioning, the Star CountingTest was “directly aimed at measuring the ability to activate, modulate, and inhibit processes of working memory” (dejong, 1998, p. 84). For example, de Jong and Das-Smaal (1995) used nine rows of three to five stars in each item. A number was inserted at the beginning of the item, and plus and minus signs were inserted between some stars. The child was instructed to begin counting starting with the number presented at the beginning of the item, and count the stars from left to right, and top to bottom. However, the plus sign indicated to count the subsequent stars in forward sequence, whereas the minus sign clued the respondent to continue counting the subsequent stars in a backward order. Empty spaces took the place of some stars to prevent the child from counting by fives. Although the SCT does load on working memory skills, the authors concluded that SCT is “probably not a completely pure measure of working memory capacity” due to its demand of attention, counting speed, and sustained etfort (dejong, & Das-Smaal, 1995, p. 89).

Direction Span Test

Lecerf and Roulin (2006) designed the Direction Span Test (DST) to distinguish visual-spatial short-term memory from visual-spatial working memory. A 5 x 5 computerized matrix was presented on a computer monitor to each respondent. Directional arrows appeared randomly, one at a time, in dilferent cells, which were to be encoded by the respondent. On tasks of short-term memory (Location Span Test), respondents were instructed to memorize the cells that contained the arrows. On tasks of working memory (DST), respondents were instructed to memorize the cells that were pointed at by the directional arrow. These two tasks were both subjected to different manipulations (e.g., encoding time, interval time, and order of presentation). Use of the DST established further support for the differentiation of short-term visual-spatial memory from visual-spatial working memory, and that encoding time, but not interval time, can enhance performance on visual-spatial working memory tasks.

Other spatial tasks

Shah and Miyake (1996) and Handley, Capon, Copp, and Harper (2002) also concluded that spatial and verbal working memory represent distinct systems, utilizing different pools of resources. Both studies incorporated a reading span test derived from Daneman and Carpenter (1980) and a spatial span task. The spatial span for both studies required participants to view normal and mirror-imaged capitalized English letters. However, the letters were rotated to various degrees, and the respondent was required to quickly and effectively judge which letter was normal, and which was a mirror image. Furthermore, the respondent was subsequently asked to recall the orientations of the images in the correct order in which they appeared.

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