Short-term memory ability may predict IQ

July 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

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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.

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