Abstract

A dual task method was used to examine the relationship between strategy use and working memory load during subtraction problem solving. Undergraduates mentally solved subtraction problems alone and while performing secondary tasks that involved the central executive of working memory. Analyses revealed that a central executive task involving response selection and input monitoring (CRT-R task) interfered more with subtraction problem solving than a task that involved only input monitoring (SRT-R task). Additional analyses showed that the CRT-R task interfered more when participants used a nonretrieval (counting) strategy than a retrieval strategy. These findings suggest that the response selection subcomponent of the central executive is involved during both retrieval-based and non-retrieval-based simple subtraction problem solving but is involved more during the latter.

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