Event-related potential correlates of individual differences in working memory capacity

Hiroshi Nittono*, Yasuhiro Nageishi, Yoshiaki Nakajima, Peter Ullsperger

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    The capacity of working memory has been suggested to differ among people and these differences affect performance in a wide variety of cognitive tasks. This study explored electrophysiological correlates of individual differences in working memory capacity by means of event-related potentials. Thirty-four healthy students performed two- and five-choice reaction time tasks. In the two-choice reaction time (2CRT) task, two digits (3 and 7) were presented visually with probabilities of .20 and .80. In the five-choice reaction time (5CRT) task, five digits (3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) were presented equiprobably in a random order. Participants were required to press a button corresponding to each digit with a different finger. Working memory capacity of each participant was assessed by the reading span test originated by M. Daneman and P.A. Carpenter (1980). Participants with high reading span produced larger P300s than did persons with low reading span in the 5CRT task, but the difference was not significant in the 2CRT task. It had been suggested that individual differences in working memory capacity would affect initial stages of information processing as early as 300 ms after stimulus onset.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)745-754
    Number of pages10
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1999 Nov


    • Event-related potential
    • Individual differences
    • Multiple-choice reaction time tasks
    • P300
    • Working memory capacity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physiology
    • Physiology (medical)
    • General Psychology
    • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
    • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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