Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Working memory, executive function, and general fluid intelligence are not the same

Richard P. Heitz a1 , Thomas S. Redick a1 , David Z. Hambrick a2 , Michael J. Kane a3 , Andrew R. A. Conway a4 and Randall W. Engle a1
a1 School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332;
a2 Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. 48824;
a3 Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC 27402-6164;
a4 Psychology Department, Princeton University, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544.

Article author query
heitz rp   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
redick ts   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hambrick dz   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kane mj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
conway ar   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
engle rw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Blair equates the constructs of working memory (WM), executive function, and general fluid intelligence (gF). We argue that there is good reason not to equate these constructs. We view WM and gF as separable but highly related, and suggest that the mechanism behind the relationship is controlled attention – an ability that is dependent on normal functioning of the prefrontal cortex.

(Published Online April 5 2006)