Gigler, K.L. & Reber, P.J.
Working memory (WM) capacity reflects an important constraint on complex cognitive processing. Experts can overcome this constraint in their area of expertise, demonstrating enhanced WM capacity for domain-specific information. This increased WM capacity might either arise automatically from practice with structured information or reflect strategic organization of domain knowledge. The current study used a new sequential visuospatial (SeVi) WM task to test whether information-specific gains in WM would occur when the structured information was covertly embedded in practice on 20% of trials. After 2 hours of training, participants exhibited overall improvement in the task and dramatic gains in WM capacity when information to be held in mind was drawn from the practiced structure. The increase in capacity for practiced information that was observed here suggests that the increased domain-specific WM capacity seen in experts likely results from their increased experience with information in their areas of expertise.