The Flynn effect for verbal and visuospatial short-term and working memory: A cross-temporal meta-analysis

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Abstract

The Flynn effect has been investigated extensively for IQ, but few attempts have been made to study it in relation to working memory (WM). Based on the findings from a cross-temporal meta-analysis using 1754 independent samples (n = 139,677), the Flynn effect was observed across a 43-year period, with changes here expressed in terms of correlations (coefficients) between year of publication and mean memory test scores. Specifically, the Flynn effect was found for forward digit span (r = 0.12, p < 0.01) and forward Corsi block span (r = 0.10, p < 0.01). Moreover, an anti-Flynn effect was found for backward digit span (r = − 0.06, p < 0.01) and for backward Corsi block span (r = − 0.17, p < 0.01). Overall, the results support co-occurrence theories that predict simultaneous secular gains in specialized abilities and declines in g. The causes of the differential trajectories are further discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalIntelligence
Volume64
Early online date5 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017

Keywords

  • Flynn effect
  • Short-term memory
  • Working memory
  • Forward and backward digit span
  • Forward and backward Corsi block span
  • Cross-temporal meta-analysis

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