Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Srivastava, Pradyumn

Reader

Bowers, Andrew

Second Reader

Bowers, Lisa

Abstract

The purpose of this line of research is to determine whether the ‘Digitizer’ is a reliable and valid way to measure cognitive load during dual working memory-drawing tasks. A quasi-experimental study was conducted at the University of Arkansas in a research laboratory, and participants included seven right-handed healthy adults with normal or corrected vision and no reading difficulty. The participants were selected on a volunteer basis. The study required participants to draw circles while continuously performing in three conditions – one baseline and two working memory experimental tasks, administered in counterbalanced order. The baseline task was to read an 8th grade level passage at comfortable speed and loudness level. The working memory tasks were symmetry span and operation span tasks. The operation span task required the participants to remember letters in sequence while simultaneously verifying arithmetic operations presented after each letter. The symmetry span task required participants to remember the position of the highlighted square in a grid in sequence while simultaneously determining the symmetricity of a figure presented afterwards. Both tasks were completed while drawing continuous circles on the ‘Digitizer’. A separate repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted for each measure. A significant omnibus effect was found for the stroke duration measure only. Post-hoc paired tests showed that baseline was higher (p=.01) in stroke duration than in operation span task and symmetry span task. In this literature review, the results and elements of the study are described in full to inform future research. It was initially assumed that the working memory load would be significantly less in the baseline task as compared to the two working memory tasks; however, the data alternatively indicated that it taxed working memory more. With reading comprehension as a reference condition, it is logical to conclude that there is evidence of cognitive load in working memory tasks as measured by manual disfluencies. This literature review outlines potential adaptations and highlights primary weaknesses for future study in this area.

Available for download on Saturday, May 05, 2018

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