Graeme S. Halford

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Working memory limits are best defined in terms of the complexity of the relations that can be processed in parallel. Complexity is defined as the number of related dimensions or sources of variation. A binary relation has one argument and one source of variation; its argument can be instantiated in only one way at a time. A binary relation has two(More)
The conceptual complexity of problems was manipulated to probe the limits of human information processing capacity. Participants were asked to interpret graphically displayed statistical interactions. In such problems, all independent variables need to be considered together, so that decomposition into smaller subtasks is constrained, and thus the order of(More)
We propose that working memory and reasoning share related capacity limits. These limits are quantified in terms of the number of items that can be kept active in working memory, and the number of interrelationships between elements that can be kept active in reasoning. The latter defines the complexity of reasoning problems and the processing loads they(More)
Accumulating evidence on the nature, function and acquisition of relational knowledge indicates a crucial role of such knowledge in higher cognitive processes. In this review, we specify the essential properties of relational knowledge, together with the role it plays in reasoning, categorisation, planning, quantification and language. Furthermore, we(More)
Five experiments were performed to test whether participants induced a coherent representation of the structure of a task, called a relational schema, from specific instances. Properties of a relational schema include: An explicit symbol for a relation, a binding that preserves the truth of a relation, potential for higher-order relations, omnidirectional(More)
Two experiments tested predictions from a theory in which processing load depends on relational complexity (RC), the number of variables related in a single decision. Tasks from six domains (transitivity, hierarchical classification, class inclusion, cardinality, relative-clause sentence comprehension, and hypothesis testing) were administered to children(More)
The ability to link variables is critical to many high-order cognitive functions, including reasoning. It has been proposed that limits in relating variables depend critically on relational complexity, defined formally as the number of variables to be related in solving a problem. In humans, the prefrontal cortex is known to be important for reasoning, but(More)
The assumption of some developmental theories that short-term memory is the workspace of higher cognitive processes, and consequently that span measures processing capacity, is claimed to be inconsistent with the working memory literature. 4 experiments, using children aged 5 to 12 years, contrast this theory with a model in which short-term memory and the(More)
Previous research has indicated that the cognitive load imposed by tasks in various content domains increases with the complexity of the relational information processed. Sentence comprehension entails processing noun-verb relations to determine who did what to whom. The difficulty of object-extracted relative clause sentences might stem from the complex(More)