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Zech, Alexandra; Bühner, Markus; Kröner, Stephan; Heene, Moritz; Hilbert, Sven (18. May 2017): The Impact of Symmetry: Explaining Contradictory Results Concerning Working Memory, Reasoning, and Complex Problem Solving. In: Journal of Intelligence, Vol. 5, No. 2


Findings of studies on the unique effects of reasoning and working memory regarding complex problem solving are inconsistent. To find out if these inconsistencies are due to a lack of symmetry between the studies, we reconsidered the findings of three published studies on this issue, which resulted in conflicting conclusions regarding the inter-relations between reasoning, working memory, and complex problem solving. This was achieved by analysing so far unpublished problem solving data from the study of Bühner, Krumm, Ziegler, and Plücken (2006) (N= 124). One of the three published studies indicated unique effects of working memory and reasoning on complex problem solving using aggregated scores, a second study found no unique contribution of working memory using only figural scores, and a third study reported a unique influence only for reasoning using only numerical scores. Our data featured an evaluation of differences across content facets and levels of aggregation of the working memory scores. Path models showed that the results of the first study could not be replicated using content aggregated scores; the results of the second study could be replicated if only figural scores were used, and the results of the third study could be obtained by using only numerical scores. For verbal content, none of the published results could be replicated. This leads to the assumption that not only symmetry is an issue when correlating non-symmetrical data, but that content also has to be taken into account when comparing different studies on the same topic. View Full-Text