A new index of semantic short-term memory: Development and validation of the conceptual span task in Spanish
Aizpurua Sanz, Alaitz
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PLOS ONE 13(12) : (2018) // Article ID e0209368
Mounting evidence from both cognitive and neuropsychological research points to the importance of conceptual and lexical-semantic contributors to short-term memory performance. Nonetheless, a standardized and well-controlled measure to assess semantic short-term memory was only recently developed for English-speakers, and no parallel measure exists for Spanish-speakers. In the conceptual replication and extension reported here, we develop and validate a Spanish adaptation of the Conceptual Span task as a tool to measure the semantic component of short-term memory. Two versions of the task were validated, the Clustered and the Non-Clustered Conceptual Span task, both in separate samples of 64 and 105 Spanish-speaking university students. We found that both versions of the Conceptual Span task correlate well with another widely used standardized measure of working memory capacity, the Reading Span task. The two versions also correlated, as expected, with discrimination of linguistic congruency as assessed by a semantic anomaly judgment task. Clustered Conceptual Span remained a significant predictor of Reading Span when controlling for several additional cognitive variables, including fluid reasoning, text comprehension, verbal fluency, ideational fluency, and speed of processing. Our results present evidence that the Spanish adaptation of both versions of the Conceptual Span task can yield reliable estimates of the active maintenance of semantic representations in verbal working memory-an under-investigated ability that is involved in diverse domains such as episodic memory retrieval, language processing, and comprehension. Thus, the Conceptual Span task validated here can be employed to predict individual variation in semantic short-term memory capacity in a broad range of research domains.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as 2018 Aizpurua, Koutstaal. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.