Relationship and collective impact of attention, processing speed, and working memory: Validation of the cognitive facilitation/inhibition domain of the Integrated SNP/CHC model




Fournier, Ashley S.

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A great deal of research has focused upon the relationship between attention and working memory (WM; Cowan, 2010a; Oberauer & Bialkova, 2009) and WM and processing speed (PS; Fry & Hale, 2000; Kail, 2007; Nettelbeck & Burns, 2010). Each of these neurocognitive constructs has been viewed by numerous researchers as supportive of higher-order cognitive processes; however, the relationship between attention, PS, and WM is rarely investigated (Fry & Hale). In recognition of the consistencies between these three constructs, a recent model of pediatric neuropsychological functioning proposes a relationship between attention, PS, and WM. The Integrated School Neuropsychological (SNP)/Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) model suggests that neuropsychological functioning can be tapped by assessing across four, broad domains of neurocognitive functioning including sensorimotor functions, cognitive facilitators/inhibitors, basic cognitive processes, and acquired knowledge (Miller, 2013). The cognitive facilitation/inhibition domain is hypothesized to be composed of attention, PS, and WM which act in concert to enable or constrain higher-order cognitive processes. The purpose of this study was to first examine the relationship between attention, PS, and WM. Secondarily, the collective impact of these three constructs upon basic cognitive processes was investigated. The data used in this study were culled from an archival database containing neuropsychological case studies submitted as part of the Kids, Incorporated School Neuropsychology Post-Graduate Certification Program. Only those scores associated with measures of cognitive facilitation/inhibition and basic cognitive processes were used in the current study. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural regression modeling were conducted in order to determine the relationship between and collective impact of attention, PS, and WM. The findings suggested that there was no meaningful relationship between these three neurocognitive constructs; however, a significant relationship between attention and WM was observed. The results also revealed that attention and WM were predictive of a number of basic cognitive processes outlined in the Integrated SNP/CHC model including visuospatial, auditory, and executive processes. Taken together, this indicated that the aspects of the Integrated SNP/CHC model examined for validation were not entirely supported or refuted. Additional research is necessary in order to substantiate the current findings and further validate the Integrated SNP/CHC model.



Cognitive psychology, Physiological psychology, Attention, Cognitive facilitators, Cognitive inhibitors, Processing speed, School neuropsychology, Working memory