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: Research on guilt-prone individuals has implications for workplace

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

9 hours ago

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

10 hours ago

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

Ancient clay seals may shed light on biblical era

10 hours ago

Impressions from ancient clay seals found at a small site in Israel east of Gaza are signs of government in an area thought to be entirely rural during the 10th century B.C., says Mississippi State University archaeologist ...

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

12 hours ago

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

Recommended for you

Mindfulness helps teens cope with stress, anxiety

7 hours ago

As the morning school bell rings and students rush through crowded corridors, teenagers in one Portland classroom settle onto mats and meditation pillows. They fall silent after the teacher taps a Tibetan ...

Study links suicide risk with insomnia, alcohol use

10 hours ago

A new study is the first to show that insomnia symptoms mediate the relationship between alcohol use and suicide risk, and that this mediation is moderated by gender. The study suggests that the targeted ...

Echolocation acts as substitute sense for blind people

16 hours ago

Recent research carried out by scientists at Heriot-Watt University has demonstrated that human echolocation operates as a viable 'sense', working in tandem with other senses to deliver information to people with visual impairment.

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.