Measuring central executive functioning: What's in a reading Span?

Paul Whitney, Peter A. Arnett, Amy Driver, Desiree Budd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Although variations of Daneman and Carpenter's (1980) Reading Span Test (RST) have seen increasing use in both cognitive and neuropsychological research, the specific mental operations involved in performing it remain unclear. We tested 80 undergraduates to examine the extent to which speed of processing, manipulation capacity, and susceptibility to interference contributed to RST performance. The results suggest that, rather than unitary central executive or processing speed functions underlying RST performance, at least two factors, manipulation capacity and susceptibility to interference, underlie the task. Further study of RST operations may lead to a better understanding of the nature of the central executive itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalBrain and cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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