Working memory involvement in propositional and spatial reasoning

Thinking and Reasoning 3 (1):9 – 47 (1997)
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Four experiments assessed the relative involvement of different working memory components in two types of reasoning tasks: propositional and spatial reasoning. Using the secondary-task methodology, visual, central-executive, and phonological loads were realised. Although the involvement of visuospatial resources in propositional reasoning has traditionally been considered to be small, an overall analysis of the present data suggests an alternative account. A theoretical analysis of the pattern of results in terms of Evans' (1984, 1989) twostage theory of reasoning is proposed and tested in Experiments 3 and 4, in which direct evidence for the alternative account was obtained: significant disruption of propositional reasoning by a concurrent spatial load.



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