Blair equates the constructs of working memory (WM), executive function, and general fluid intelligence (gF). We argue that there is good reason not to equate these constructs. We view WM and gF as separable but highly related, and suggest that the mechanism behind the relationship is controlled attention – an ability that is dependent on normal functioning of the prefrontal cortex. (Published Online April 5 2006).
A hallmark of intelligent behavior is rationality – the disposition and ability to think analytically to make decisions that maximize expected utility or follow the laws of probability. However, the question remains as to whether rationality and intelligence are empirically distinct, as does the question of what cognitive mechanisms underlie individual differences in rationality. In a sample of 331 participants, we assessed the relationship between rationality and intelligence. There was a common ability underpinning performance on some, but not all, rationality (...) tests. Latent factors representing rationality and general intelligence were strongly correlated (r =.54), but their correlation fell well short of unity. Rationality correlated significantly with fluid intelligence (r =.56), working memory capacity (r =.44), and attention control (r =.49). Attention control fully accounted for the relationship between working memory capacity and rationality, and partially accounted for the relationship between fluid intelligence and rationality. We conclude by speculating about factors rationality tests may tap that other cognitive ability tests miss, and outline directions for further research. (shrink)
Individuals may differ in the general-attention executive component or in the subordinate domain-specific “slave” components of working memory. Tasks requiring sustained memory representations across attention shifts are reliable, valid indices of executive abilities. Measures emphasizing specific processing skills may increase reliability within restricted samples but will not reflect the attention component responsible for the broad predictive validity of span tasks.