Short-term memory ability may predict IQ

Jul 12, 2007

U.S. psychologists have found people with high IQs might be able to remember more than the four objects an average person can store in short-term memory.

That ability, said University of Oregon psychology professors Edward Awh and Edward Vogel, varies from person to person, but an individual's capacity of short-term memory is a strong predictor of their IQ and scholastic achievement.

One hypothesis psychologists have considered is that memory capacity might be influenced by the complexity of items being stored.

The researchers discovered that even when very complex objects had to be remembered, people were able to hold four items in active memory. However, Awh said, the clarity of those items was not perfect, and some people had much clearer memories than others.

"Knowing the number of things a person can remember tells you nothing about how clear a person's memory may be," Awh said. "So even though people with high IQs can think about more things at once, there are not guarantees about how good those memories might be."

The research, which included recent graduate Brian Barton, appears in the July issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Family 'disconnect' drives young Singaporeans to suicide: charity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

1 hour ago

The classic definition of a biological species is the ability to breed within its group, and the inability to breed outside it. For instance, breeding a horse and a donkey may result in a live mule offspring, ...

Full appeals court upholds labels on meat packages

1 hour ago

(AP)—A federal appeals court has upheld new government rules that require labels on packaged steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

Chinese smartphone makers win as market swells

1 hour ago

Chinese smartphone makers racked up big gains as the global market for Internet-linked handsets grew to record levels in the second quarter, International Data Corp said Tuesday.

Connected devices have huge security holes: study

1 hour ago

The surge Web-connected devices—TVs, refrigerators, thermostats, door locks and more—has opened up huge opportunities for cyberattacks because of weak security, researchers said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Dyscalculia: Burdened by blunders with numbers

6 hours ago

Between 3 and 6% of schoolchildren suffer from an arithmetic-related learning disability. Researchers at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich now show that these children are also more likely to exhibit deficits ...

Free help for expecting and new mums at risk of depression

8 hours ago

With postnatal depression affecting almost one in seven women giving birth in Australia, QUT and the White Cloud Foundation have launched an innovative model of care to provide early access to treatment for expecting and ...

A blood test for suicide?

12 hours ago

Johns Hopkins researchers say they have discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene linked to stress reactions that, if confirmed in larger studies, could give doctors a simple blood test to reliably predict a ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

patnclaire
1 / 5 (1) Apr 29, 2009
Geeze...doesn't anybody have a memory? I recall learning about Miller's Number in the 1970s and 80s. This psychologist found, in the 60s, that our short term memory retained 7 /- 2 items, on average. That is from 5 to 9 items...not a measily 4 unless we have gotten dumber over the last 40 years.