Dimensions of Information Processing Speed


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This paper reviews three studies conducted as part of the Learning Abilities Measurement Program (Project LAMP). The three studies applied different methods to address the issue of the dimensionality of information processing speed. The first study applied a whole-task analysis procedure in which 508 basic trainees were administered on a microcomputer, a broad variety of cognitive tasks. Latency and error data from those tasks were analyzed with an exploratory factor analysis of the intercorrelation matrix. The results indicated that verbal-speed, verbal-accuracy, quantitative-speed, quantitative- accuracy, reasoning-speed. and reasoning-accuracy factors could be identified. Additionally, separate general-speed and general-accuracy factors should be identified at the second order. The second study applied a stage-analysis approach to determine individual parameter estimates of encoding, comparison, decision, and response execution times. In this study, 178 basic trainees were administered a series of embedded tasks constructed to isolate processing stages on the semantic comparison task. Data was analyzed by both the simple subtraction model and the part correlation model. In both cases, the results indicated a factorial separation of processing stages with the both content and process factors emerging. The third study applied a coding-analysis method to a series of matching tasks in which the nature of the matching rule was systematically altered from physical to semantic identity judgements.

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