Lower Working Memory Linked to Higher Levels of Divergent Thinking



Historically, cognitive scientists have viewed strong working memory ability as one of the major key components of intelligence. However, recent studies indicate that *lower* working memory, not higher, can come with it’s own slew of cognitive advantages, including superior divergent thinking and creative abilities.

Historically, cognitive scientists  have viewed strong working memory ability as  one of the major key components of intelligence. And indeed, working memory *is*  strongly correlated with elements of specific psychometric intelligences. However , recent studies indicate that *lower* working memory , not higher,  can come with it’s own slew of cognitive advantages, including superior divergent thinking and creative abilities.  

In the interview below, I chat with C. Matthew Fugate , about his fascinating study which found gifted students with ADHD characteristics had not only poorer working memory but also significantly greater creativity than those gifted students without these characteristics.

Wait- what is working memory exactly ?

Our working memory system , is the cognitive system responsible for temporarily storing and managing disparate unrelated information. The ability to maintain these disparate, unrelated numbers, facts , names or instructions in one's mind at one time before encoding them into memory is one's working memory ability.

Someone who struggles with working memory may struggle with...

Multi step, unfamiliar , directions or instructions

Copying unfamiliar terms, numbers, dates and names off a board/ sign.  

Remembering a list of items or obligations.

Recalling a sequence of numbers or unrelated items.

What is The Dyslexia Quest ?

The Dyslexia Podcast uses the exploration of dyslexia as a backdoor to explore issues such as intelligence, creativity, individual differences, optimal learning environments and human potential via video and audio conversations with leading thinkers and scientists. The Dyslexia Quest podcast was rated the 29th Top Podcast in the Education section on iTunes.

Who Is C. Matthew Fugate, PhD?

Matthew received his doctorate in Gifted, Creative, and Talented Studies at Purdue University. Matthew worked as an elementary teacher in the Houston Independent School District where he also served as a Gifted Coordinator and Magnet Coordinator. During this time, he received his Masters in Educational Psychology, Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut. Matthew’s current research focus is twice exceptionality.

Past research examined the relationship between working memory and levels of creativity in gifted students who also have characteristics related to ADHD. He has also examined the coping mechanisms of twice-exceptional girls in secondary school as they navigate both their academic studies and interpersonal relationships. In addition, Matthew is part of a team focused on increasing research, identification, and servicing of gifted Native American populations. He has presented to parents, teachers, and schools across the United States on topics such as creativity, curriculum compacting, identification, twice exceptionality, underserved populations, and Total School Cluster Grouping.





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Tags: dyslexia podcast, dyslexic advantage, elisheva schwartz, matthew fugate, working memory

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