Western Kentucky University

Department of Psychology

Attention and Memory Lab

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Student collects data on exercise for Dr. Steve Wininger
Research assistants in Dr. Redifer's Attention & Memory Lab code data from an ongoing creativity study


Franks, B. A., Therriault, D. J., Buhr, M. I., Chiang, E. S., Gonzalez, C. M., Kwon, H. K., Schelble*, J., & Wang, X. (2013). Looking back: Reasoning and metacognition with narrative texts. Metacognition & Learning, 8, 145-171.

This study explored the abilities of 5th, 8th, and 10th graders, and College students to reason logically about what they read. Both students’ metacognitive behavior (looking back at previously read text) and their performance on logical deduction questions were recorded and analyzed in a reading task. Conditional logic premises and deductive questions were embedded in three narratives containing premise information that was factual (True Story), contrary to fact (False Story), or unverifiable via common world knowledge (Neutral Story). The texts and questions were presented one sentence at a time on a computer screen; participants controlled the presentation of sentences. For answering the questions, three response tasks were devised. One task (labeled Generate) required readers to generate their own logical conclusions in response to deduction questions. Two tasks (labeled Valid and Invalid) required readers to evaluate logically valid or logically invalid conclusions drawn by story characters in the texts. Students in early and late adolescence looked back more when asked to evaluate logical conclusions than when asked to generate conclusions on their own; College students’ lookback frequencies were not significantly affected by response task, but were greater overall than those of younger students. With conditional forms requiring an uncertainty response (Affirmed Consequent and Denied Antecedent), readers looked back more when evaluating logically invalid conclusions than when evaluating logically valid ones. Readers of all ages were more likely to agree with story characters’ (valid) uncertain conclusions with the AC and DA forms than they were to disagree with story characters’ (invalid) certain conclusions to these forms. Both lookback frequency and performance on logic questions were lowest when readers were required to reason from contrary to fact premises.


Schelble*, J.L., Therriault, D.J., & Miller, M.D. (2012). Classifying retrieval strategies as a function of working memory. Memory and Cognition, 40, 218-230.

Strategy selection may help explain performance differences between individuals with high working memory capacity (HWMs) and low working memory capacity (LWMs; Budd, Whitney, & Turley, 1995; Cokely, Kelley, & Gilchrist, 2006). We compared the independent and spontaneous strategy use of HWMs and LWMs during a category fluency (retrieval) task that required participants to retrieve animal names. HWMs were more successful at the fluency task under normal conditions, but under increased cognitive load, there were no WM-related performance differences. One strategy (i.e., retrieving animals according to their scientific classification) significantly aided performance, irrespective of cognitive load. Under normal conditions, HWMs were more likely to use the effective strategy; however, under load, WM did not predict strategy use. Use of the classification strategy was more strongly related to retrieval performance than was WM. These results suggest that retrieval strategy use is related to WM capacity, and that employing a successful strategy may make up for WM disadvantages during a demanding retrieval task.


Schelble*, J. L., Franks, B. A., & Miller, M. D. (2010). Emotion dysregulation and academic resilience in maltreated children. Child and Youth Care Forum, 39, 289-303.

Maltreated children frequently experience academic difficulties. In the past, this has been attributed to placement instability, length of involvement with the child welfare system, and numerous other factors that disproportionately affect maltreated children. Maltreated children are also prone to emotion regulation (ER) difficulties and patterns of emotion dysregulation. Resilience (i.e., normative functioning despite having experienced maltreatment) among maltreated children is rare, particularly across multiple domains. ER has been found to predict academic performance in non-maltreated samples. In this study, the relationship between emotion dysregulation and academic performance was analyzed in a sample already at risk for academic difficulties (maltreated children). Measures of emotion dysregulation and academic performance were analyzed in a sample of maltreated children (n = 158). Linear regression analysis indicated that the absence of emotion dysregulation was significantly related to academic resilience. Late adolescence, race, and placement stability were also significantly related to academic resilience. Implications for child welfare professionals and educators of maltreated children are discussed.


*My last name changed from Schelble to Redifer in 2013.

 Last Modified 6/5/14