The Effects of Working Memory and Executive Functioning on Performance in Complex Tasks

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Gelineau, Joshua
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Middle Tennessee State University
This study is concerned with the degree to which the psychological constructs of executive functioning and working memory influence success in majors requiring high levels of complex tasks. Executive functioning refers to the process of control and planning of complex tasks. Working memory is a facet of executive functioning that we hypothesize to be an especially import part of multitasking performance. We wished to see if these constructs were related to student enrollment in STEM vs. Non-STEM programs. Our findings showed that overall executive functioning scores and working memory scores were not related to whether students were STEM or Non-STEM. However, one factor of our executive functioning battery which measured cognitive control was shown to be near significance (p = .051). We also showed that scores on the measures used were not influenced by race or gender in this sample. We recommend further research take place using greater numbers and better populations to confirm our findings.
Executive Functioning, Selection, STEM, Working Memory