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Dakota, Lindsey, Ph.D.


To investigate if attentional control (AC) predicts the amount of order errors made within serial memory tasks. We also investigated the relationship between AC and item memory (IM), and the relationship between IM and order memory (OM). Data were collected from undergraduate students at the University of South Alabama. Participants completed three attentional conflict tasks (Bivalent shape task, Global local task, and Flanker task) and three serial memory tasks (symmetry span, digit span, and reading span). The final sample of 112 participants completed all memory tasks and at least two conflict tasks. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to form an AC latent variable from response time difference scores (congruent versus incongruent trials), and IM and OM variables were formed from item and order errors in the memory tasks. Structural equation modeling was used to test correlations among latent variables. The latent AC factor failed to converge. We ran three structural equation models using each conflict task as a predictor variable for both IM and OM. The relationship between IM and OM was significant in all three models. The only other significant pathway across all three models was the relationship between the Flanker task and IM (β = .278, SE = .105, p = .001). Overall, performance on the three conflict tasks did not directly predict order errors. Flanker task performance did directly predict item errors, thus indirectly predicting the amount of order errors in those same tasks.