Comparison of the Working Memory Performance between Literate and Illiterate Adults


1 Department of Curriculum Development and Instruction Methodologies, University Of Tehran

2 Department of Educational Planning and Management, University Of Tehran


This study comparedtheworking memory performance and its subsystems (phonological loop, visuo-spatial sketchpad and central executive) between literate and illiterate adults. The study was based on a descriptive methodology, using a causal-comparative method. The sample consisted of adult students in the final course of NehzatSavad Amouzi Organization (NSAO) in Kurdestan, made up of 67 individuals who constituted the literate group and were matched with 67 other students who constituted the illiterate group. The 67adults in each group were matched for age, gender, job, and intelligence. Based on the last works (Hassanpoor, H. H. 2003, Dutke, S., & Mike, R. 2006,Lee et al. 2007, Swanson, H. L. 1992 & Oberauer, K, et al. 2003) we used a test for each working memory subsystems and administered individually.For investigating the differences between the two groups, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used. The results of the MANOVA analysis indicated that there was a significant difference (p ≤ 0.001) between the groups in working memory performance and all its subsystems. This study suggests that, literacy could be the main factor in improving the working memory performance in adulthood.