Involvement of Spearman’s g in conceptualisation versus execution of complex tasks

Carroll, Ellen L. and Bright, Peter (2016) Involvement of Spearman’s g in conceptualisation versus execution of complex tasks. Acta Psychologica, 170. pp. 112-126. ISSN 1873-6297

Published Version
Available under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Strong correlations between measures of fluid intelligence (or Spearman’s g) and working memory are widely reported in the literature, but there is considerable controversy concerning the nature of underlying mechanisms driving this relationship. In the four experiments presented here we consider the role of response conflict and task complexity in the context of real-time task execution demands (Experiments 1-3) and also address recent evidence that g confers an advantage at the level of task conceptualisation rather than (or in addition to) task execution (Experiment 4). We observed increased sensitivity of measured fluid intelligence to task performance in the presence (vs. the absence) of response conflict, and this relationship remained when task complexity was reduced. Performance-g correlations were also observed in the absence of response conflict, but only in the context of high task complexity. Further, we present evidence that differences in conceptualisation or ‘modelling’ of task instructions prior to execution had an important mediating effect on observed correlations, but only when the task encompassed a strong element of response inhibition. Our results suggest that individual differences in ability reflect, in large part, variability in the efficiency with which the relational complexity of task constraints are held in mind. It follows that fluid intelligence may support successful task execution through the construction of effective action plans via optimal allocation of limited resources.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Spearman's g, fluid intelligence, response inhibition, task complexity, task modelling, chunking
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Professor Peter Bright
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2016 11:12
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:59

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item