Working Memory Capacity and Familiarity With Testing Environment


  • Yu Yi Lu Leland High School
  • Jonathan Jones University of Cambridge
  • Rachel Booth Ulm University



Cognitive Thinking, Memory, Standardized Testing, Working Memory Capacity, Familiarity With Testing Environment


Previous studies have shown converging evidence that negative perceptions of the surrounding environment lead to lower standardized test performance among stigmatized individuals. However, there has been minimal research done about the underlying cognitive mechanism that may account for these effects. I hypothesized that unfamiliarity with the surrounding environment interferes with test performance because it limits individuals’ working memory capacity. This within-subjects experiment, with a total of 35 Leland High School students, tested that hypothesis. A self-produced version of the working memory span task was given to all participants in both of their prospective classrooms, familiar and unfamiliar. Through a matched-paired t-test analysis, the results demonstrated that unfamiliarity with the surrounding environment significantly limited one’s working memory capacity. Implications for future studies are discussed.


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Author Biographies

Jonathan Jones, University of Cambridge

Research Associate at University of Cambridge, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Rachel Booth, Ulm University

Research Assistant at Ulm University



How to Cite

Lu, Y. Y., Jones, J., & Booth, R. . (2020). Working Memory Capacity and Familiarity With Testing Environment. Journal of Student Research, 9(1).



AP Research Articles