Tools for individual-difference research

Cognitive and social traits

Memory systems

  • Procedural memory
    • Tower of London: The task involves moving stacked balls around on pegs from a starting arrangement to a target goal arrangement. The balls are moved one at a time, and there are three pegs and three balls; as the test progresses, the minimum number of moves required to get from start to goal increases. Participants are told to think through their moves before using a computer mouse to manipulate the balls on the screen. To measure procedural learning, the same start-goal sequences are repeated later on in the test. Improvement in performance over time on these repeated sequences of moves is reflective of procedural learning.
  • Declarative memory:
    • The visual-auditory learning subtest of the Woodcock–Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Ability, a widely used assessment of cognitive abilities normed on a sample of 1,165 college and university students, is an assessment of declarative memory and involves learning picture-word associations.
  • Working memory

Executive systems

  • The Simon task is based on stimulus–response compatibility and assesses the extent to which the prepotent association to irrelevant spatial information affects participants’ response to task relevant nonspatial information.
  • The Flanker task is a response inhibition test for assessing the ability to suppress responses that are inappropriate in a particular context.
  • The Stroop Task


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