The Open Psychology Journal




ISSN: 1874-3501 ― Volume 11, 2018
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The Association Between Negative Attributional Style and Working Memory Performance



Rahmi Saylik1, *, Andre J. Szameitat2
1 Division of Psychology, Faculty of Sciences and Arts, Mus Alparslan University, Mus, Turkey
2 Division of Psychology, Department of Life Sciences, Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN), Brunel University London, Uxbridge, UK

Abstract

Introduction:

It has been proposed that negative attributions contribute to impairment in cognitive task processing. However, it is still unknown whether negative attributions influence task processing in all cognitive tasks.

Methods:

To investigate this, 91 healthy participants completed attributional style questionnaire and performed three Working Memory (WM) tasks, which associated with different functions of WM (i.e. Central Executive System (CES) and visuospatial sketchpad).

Results:

The results demonstrated that negative attributions contribute to the impairment in cognitive tasks which is associated with spatial working memory rather than main central executive functions (i.e. switching and inhibition).

Conclusions:

It is concluded that negative attributions may selectively disrupt spatial working memory functions, thus a detrimental effect of negative attributions may be task specific.

Keywords: Negative Attributional Style, Working memory tasks, Cambridge neuropsychological test battery, Spatial working memory, Central executive system, Individual differences.


Article Information


Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 11
First Page: 131
Last Page: 141
Publisher Id: TOPSYJ-11-131
DOI: 10.2174/1874350101811010131

Article History:

Received Date: 18/4/2018
Revision Received Date: 30/5/2018
Acceptance Date: 5/6/2018
Electronic publication date: 24/7/2018
Collection year: 2018

Article Metrics:

CrossRef Citations:
0

Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 516
Abstract HTML Views: 392
PDF Downloads: 202
ePub Downloads: 340
Total Views/Downloads: 1450

Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 363
Abstract HTML Views: 190
PDF Downloads: 160
ePub Downloads: 113
Total Views/Downloads: 826
Geographical View

© 2018 Saylik and Szameitat.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


* Address correspondence to this author at the Division of Psychology, Faculty of Sciences and Arts, Mus Alparslan University, Mus, Turkey; Tel: 0044-(0)18952 67387; E-mail: Rahmi.Saylik@Brunel.ac.uk




1. INTRODUCTION

Attributional style refers to the way individuals evaluate themselves in circumstances in both positive and negative life experiences [1Mahasneh AM, Al-Zoubi ZH, Batayeneh OT. The relationship between optimism-pessimism and personality traits among students in the hashemite university. Int Educ Stud 2013; 6(8): 71.[http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ies.v6n8p71] , 2Mahasneh DAM, Al-Zoubi DZH, Batayeneh DOT. The relationship between attribution styles and personality traits, gender and academic specialization among the hashemite university students. Int J Bus Soc Sci 2013; 4(9)]. Individuals with a stable negative (likely to persist over time), global (persists throughout life) or internal (the causes of negative events are internal) attributional style burden themselves with blame and negative expectations [2Mahasneh DAM, Al-Zoubi DZH, Batayeneh DOT. The relationship between attribution styles and personality traits, gender and academic specialization among the hashemite university students. Int J Bus Soc Sci 2013; 4(9), 3Alloy LB, Lipman AJ, Abramson LY. Attributional style as a vulnerability factor for depression: Validation by past history of mood disorders. Cognit Ther Res 1992; 16(4): 391-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01183164] ]. Thus, the negative interpretations of individuals concerning past events in terms of these three components of negative attributional style (stable, global and internal) influence their expectation for future events and, subsequently, control their feelings and behaviours [4Helton WS, Dember WN, Warm JS, et al. Optimism, pessimism, and false failure feedback: Effects on vigilance performance. Curr Psychol 1999; 18(4): 311-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-999-1006-2] -7Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290] ]. This may result in a predisposition to certain psychological disorders, such as depression [8Sweeney PD, Anderson K, Bailey S. Attributional style in depression: A meta-analytic review. J Pers Soc Psychol 1986; 50(5): 974-1.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.50.5.974] ], and lower cognitive functioning, such as a lower level of academic achievements and impaired cognitive functions [5Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460] , 9Ashby FG, Valentin VV, Turken AU. The effects of positive affect and arousal on working memory and executive attention. American Psychol Ass 2002; 44: 245-87.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/aicr.44.11ash] ]. As negative attributional style is one of the main precipitating factors of psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression [3Alloy LB, Lipman AJ, Abramson LY. Attributional style as a vulnerability factor for depression: Validation by past history of mood disorders. Cognit Ther Res 1992; 16(4): 391-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01183164] ], it is important to understand cognitive processing in relation to negative attributional style as this will contribute to the determination of treatments that could alleviate the cognitive impairments associated with a negative attributional style.

One of the most influential cognitive functions is Working Memory (WM) due to its association with attention to detail, planning, updating, task switching and conflict resolution during the execution of a task [10Baddeley A. Working memory: Theories, models, and controversies. Annu Rev Psychol 2012; 63: 1-29.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100422] [PMID: 21961947] -13Baddeley A. The fractionation of working memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996; 93(24): 13468-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.93.24.13468] [PMID: 8942958] ]. In this context, the most prominent theory of WM was proposed by Baddeley and Hitch (1974); according to this theory, WM consists of short-term stores (the visuospatial sketchpad and the phonological loop) and Central Executive System (CES) [12Baddeley A. Recent developments in working memory. Curr Opin Neurobiol 1998; 8(2): 234-8.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-4388(98)80145-1] [PMID: 9635207] , 13Baddeley A. The fractionation of working memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996; 93(24): 13468-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.93.24.13468] [PMID: 8942958] ]. The visuospatial sketchpad and the phonological loop are involved in storing visuospatial and auditory information [10Baddeley A. Working memory: Theories, models, and controversies. Annu Rev Psychol 2012; 63: 1-29.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100422] [PMID: 21961947] ]. The visuospatial sketchpad consists of two components (the visual cache and inner subscribe) which is involved in encoding, storing and rehearsal of visuospatial information. Also, the phonological loop consists of two components (the phonological store and an articulatory processes), and it deals with auditory and verbal information. The CES plays a supervisory role in short-term memory components by controlling attention and manipulating and monitoring information [12Baddeley A. Recent developments in working memory. Curr Opin Neurobiol 1998; 8(2): 234-8.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-4388(98)80145-1] [PMID: 9635207] , 14Miyake A, Shah P. Models of working memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control 1999; 1-27.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139174909] ]. To implement these duties, CES has divisible functions. Based on Baddeley and Hitch’s WM theory, Miyake et al. (2000) were able to show that the CES has different functions, such as switching and inhibition. For instance, the authors suggested that while the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) was strongly associated with switching and inhibition functions, the Tower Of Hanoi (TOH) was associated with both inhibition and planning functions [11Baddeley A. Working memory: Looking back and looking forward. Nat Rev Neurosci 2003; 4(10): 829-39.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrn1201] [PMID: 14523382] , 13Baddeley A. The fractionation of working memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996; 93(24): 13468-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.93.24.13468] [PMID: 8942958] -15Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922] ]. While switching allows the shifting of one’s attention from one task to another, inhibition deals with conflict resolution by preventing task-irrelevant stimuli, which may cause interference [12Baddeley A. Recent developments in working memory. Curr Opin Neurobiol 1998; 8(2): 234-8.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-4388(98)80145-1] [PMID: 9635207] , 15Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922] ]. Planning facilitates the assessment and selection of information during task processing [16Shallice T. Specific impairments of planning. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1982; 298(1089): 199-209.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1982.0082] [PMID: 6125971] ]. Due to this crucial role of WM, the aim of this study is to explore the association between the negative attributions and distinct functions of WM.

One of the psychological models relevant to negative attributional style is the hopelessness theory [3Alloy LB, Lipman AJ, Abramson LY. Attributional style as a vulnerability factor for depression: Validation by past history of mood disorders. Cognit Ther Res 1992; 16(4): 391-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01183164] -19Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Francis EL. Do negative cognitive styles confer vulnerability to depression? Curr Dir Psychol Sci 1999; 8(4): 128-32.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00030] ]. In this theory, it has been [18Beck AT, Steer RA, Carbin MG. Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clin Psychol Rev 1988; 8(1): 77-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0272-7358(88)90050-5] ] supposed that that higher level of negative attributions is associated with depression and high levels of stress because the inferred negative evaluations and characteristics about the self, contribute to the formation of hopelessness [19Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Francis EL. Do negative cognitive styles confer vulnerability to depression? Curr Dir Psychol Sci 1999; 8(4): 128-32.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00030] , 20Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Whitehouse WG, et al. Depressogenic cognitive styles: Predictive validity, information processing and personality characteristics, and developmental origins. Behav Res Ther 1999; 37(6): 503-31.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(98)00157-0] [PMID: 10372466] ]. This means hopelessness acts as a mediator in the relationship among negative attributions, depression and stress. Empirical studies based on these models found a strong correlation between hopelessness and negative attributional style (r= between .68 and .55) [3Alloy LB, Lipman AJ, Abramson LY. Attributional style as a vulnerability factor for depression: Validation by past history of mood disorders. Cognit Ther Res 1992; 16(4): 391-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01183164] , 17Ahrens AH, Haaga DF. The specifity of attributional style and expectation to positive and negative affectivitiy, depression and anxiety. Cognit Ther Res 1993; 17(1): 83-97.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01172742] , 19Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Francis EL. Do negative cognitive styles confer vulnerability to depression? Curr Dir Psychol Sci 1999; 8(4): 128-32.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00030] ]. Furthermore, it has been found that people with negative attributional style have a greater risk of depression and anxiety [3Alloy LB, Lipman AJ, Abramson LY. Attributional style as a vulnerability factor for depression: Validation by past history of mood disorders. Cognit Ther Res 1992; 16(4): 391-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01183164] , 19Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Francis EL. Do negative cognitive styles confer vulnerability to depression? Curr Dir Psychol Sci 1999; 8(4): 128-32.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00030] , 21Mezulis AH, Hyde JS, Abramson LY. The developmental origins of cognitive vulnerability to depression: Temperament, parenting, and negative life events in childhood as contributors to negative cognitive style. Dev Psychol 2006; 42(6): 1012-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.42.6.1012] [PMID: 17087538] , 22Peterson C, Seligman ME. Causal explanations as a risk factor for depression: Theory and evidence. Psychol Rev 1984; 91(3): 347-74.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.91.3.347] [PMID: 6473583] ], schizophrenia [23An SK, Kang JI, Park JY, Kim KR, Lee SY, Lee E. Attribution bias in ultra-high risk for psychosis and first-episode schizophrenia. Schizophr Res 2010; 118(1-3): 54-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2010.01.025] [PMID: 20171849] , 24Martin JA, Penn DL. Attributional style in schizophrenia: An investigation in outpatients with and without persecutory delusions. Schizophr Bull 2002; 28(1): 131-41.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a006916] [PMID: 12047013] ], suicidality [3Alloy LB, Lipman AJ, Abramson LY. Attributional style as a vulnerability factor for depression: Validation by past history of mood disorders. Cognit Ther Res 1992; 16(4): 391-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01183164] ] and lower academic achievements [2Mahasneh DAM, Al-Zoubi DZH, Batayeneh DOT. The relationship between attribution styles and personality traits, gender and academic specialization among the hashemite university students. Int J Bus Soc Sci 2013; 4(9), 25Peterson C, Barrett LC. Explanatory style and academic performance among university freshman. J Pers Soc Psychol 1987; 53(3): 603.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.53.3.603] ].

While the link between negative attributions and psychological maladjustment is well understood in terms of psychological models, knowledge about the association between negative attributional style and WM processing is rare. More generally, it has been shown that high levels of negative attributions are associated with slower performance in some cognitive tasks that include emotional stimuli [4Helton WS, Dember WN, Warm JS, et al. Optimism, pessimism, and false failure feedback: Effects on vigilance performance. Curr Psychol 1999; 18(4): 311-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-999-1006-2] , 5Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460] ]. The reason for this might be that emotional information activates stress-related representations from long-term memory which in turn increase stress levels and interferes with WM processing in individuals with a greater negative attributional style [7Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290] , 9Ashby FG, Valentin VV, Turken AU. The effects of positive affect and arousal on working memory and executive attention. American Psychol Ass 2002; 44: 245-87.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/aicr.44.11ash] , 26Hancock PA, Szalma JL. Performance under stress 2008; 323-57.]. In other words, a greater level of stress in people with higher negative attributional styles may lead to greater mental task unrelated activities which overlap with task-related activities [7Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290] , 9Ashby FG, Valentin VV, Turken AU. The effects of positive affect and arousal on working memory and executive attention. American Psychol Ass 2002; 44: 245-87.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/aicr.44.11ash] , 26Hancock PA, Szalma JL. Performance under stress 2008; 323-57., 27Saylik R. Neuroticism related differences during porcessing of controlled congnitive tasks 2017.]. This results in limiting the employment of mental effort within the WM system [27Saylik R. Neuroticism related differences during porcessing of controlled congnitive tasks 2017., 28Szameitat AJ, Saylik R, Parton A. Neuroticism related differences in the functional neuroanatomical correlates of multitasking. An fMRI study. Neurosci Lett 2016; 635: 51-5.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2016.10.029] [PMID: 27769891] ]. This argument appears to be reasonable as it has been found that people with negative attributions have higher stress levels than their positive counterparts [4Helton WS, Dember WN, Warm JS, et al. Optimism, pessimism, and false failure feedback: Effects on vigilance performance. Curr Psychol 1999; 18(4): 311-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-999-1006-2] , 7Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290] ].

Previously, empirical studies have demonstrated that high levels of negative attributions (e.g. pessimists) may impair performance in cognitive tasks compared to the performance of individuals with lower negative attributions [4Helton WS, Dember WN, Warm JS, et al. Optimism, pessimism, and false failure feedback: Effects on vigilance performance. Curr Psychol 1999; 18(4): 311-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-999-1006-2] , 5Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460] , 9Ashby FG, Valentin VV, Turken AU. The effects of positive affect and arousal on working memory and executive attention. American Psychol Ass 2002; 44: 245-87.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/aicr.44.11ash] ]. For instance, Levens and Gotlib, (2012) found that people with higher negative attributions (i.e. pessimists) were slower to process emotional n-back tasks than individuals with positive attributions (i.e. optimists). These findings also support the idea that people with higher negative attributions may be unable to employ sufficient effort into the task due to emotional stimuli inducing stress-related mental representations from long-term memory, thereby leading to task-irrelevant activities interfering with WM processing [5Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460] ]. However, these findings do not allow for a great understanding of whether higher-level negative attributional styles influence the processing of all cognitive tasks or only specific ones.

In addition, some studies have failed to show the detrimental effect of negative attributions on cognitive tasks, suggesting that these effects may depend on the presence of certain task characteristics [7Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290] , 29Szalma JL. Individual differences in the stress and workload of sustained attention. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Erogonomics Society Annual Meeting 2002; 46(12): 1002-6.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/154193120204601201] ]. For instance, Szalma (2009) conducted a vigilance task on individuals with higher negative attributional styles; the results demonstrated that negative and positive attributions were not associated with task performance. According to Szalma (2009), negative attributional style only affects specific task performance because WM consists of different components, such as the storage systems (i.e. visuospatial sketchpad and phonological loop) and CES, which themselves are divided into separate functions, such as switching and inhibition. The tasks used to measure these components and functions were different. In light of this, negative attributional style may impair only one component of WM, while the other components and functions remain unaffected. Therefore, it seems negative attributional style only affects certain types of tasks because although previous studies have shown performance decrement associated with negative attributional style in WM processing, others failed to show such an association with other WM tasks. The distinction of the current study is to investigate the association between negative attributional style and WM processing from a new and unexplored perspective by employing different WM tasks; each of these will be associated with a different aspect of WM in order to resolve the inconsistencies among the past empirical research.

In the current study, the Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ) [22Peterson C, Seligman ME. Causal explanations as a risk factor for depression: Theory and evidence. Psychol Rev 1984; 91(3): 347-74.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.91.3.347] [PMID: 6473583] ] was used to measure the attribution scores of participants and following by that the participants performed three WM tasks. Thus, we aimed to investigate the associations between negative attribution scores and WM performance. To test this, well-validated and standardised WM tasks were selected, therefore relying on Baddeley and Hitch’s WM theory [30Baddeley A, Hitch G. Recent developments in working memory. Curr Opin Neurobiol 1998; 8(2): 234-8.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-4388(98)80145-1] [PMID: 9635207] ] in a highly detailed manner. Furthermore, to test whether negative attributional styles influence WM processing, the Stoking Of Cambridge task (SOC) (assessing inhibition and planning), the Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shifting task (IED set-shifting task: assessing switching and inhibition) and the Spatial Working Memory task (SWM: assessing visuospatial storage) were utilised [15Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922] ]. These measures were chosen to demonstrate the influence of negative attributions on the different components and functions of WM, i.e. executive functions and the visuospatial sketchpad. To further investigate the association between negative attributional style and CES functions, we selected IED set-shifting and SOC tasks based on the study of Miyake et al. (2000), who provided a highly detailed description of how to assess CES functions. We selected the SWM task to measure the visuospatial sketchpad instead of the phonological loop because we preferred to be consistent by using visual tasks. It should be noted that, at present, it is not possible to measure one’s functions using purely heterogeneous WM tasks because most tasks involve multiple aspects of WM due to the homogeneity of functions in tasks [14Miyake A, Shah P. Models of working memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control 1999; 1-27.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139174909] , 15Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922] ]; however, the magnitude of a function can be considerably greater in WM tasks [14Miyake A, Shah P. Models of working memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control 1999; 1-27.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139174909] , 15Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922] ]. Therefore, each task was predominately associated with a different aspect of WM. Taken together, the first aim of the current study was to determine whether negative attributions really impaired WM performance. The second aim was to explore the influence of negative attributions in more detail to see whether negative attributions were indeed associated with impairment in every WM component.

In conclusion, research on the detrimental effects of negative attributional style in relation to WM is limited and somewhat inconclusive. For example, while it has been shown that people with higher negative attributions encounter interference in one study [5Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460] ], in another study this result could not be confirmed [7Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290] ]. Importantly, the behavioural correlations of negative attributional style in relation to the different components of WM (i.e. executive functions and storage systems) is still unknown. Therefore, the broad aim of the current study is to investigate an association between negative attributional style and WM processing by using three standard and well-validated WM tasks.

2.. METHODS

2.1. Participants

One hundred students were recruited from Brunel University, London. Based on the questionnaires, the following exclusion criteria were employed: presence of any past or current major medical, neurological or psychiatric illness that might have diminished cognitive functioning; use of psychoactive medication; consumption of alcohol; consumption of ≥8 cups or ≥ 900mg of caffeine; a score of over 15 in the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) [18Beck AT, Steer RA, Carbin MG. Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clin Psychol Rev 1988; 8(1): 77-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0272-7358(88)90050-5] ]; and colour blindness [31Oldfield RC. The assessment and analysis of handedness: The Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia 1971; 9(1): 97-113.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0028-3932(71)90067-4] [PMID: 5146491] ]. Thus, seven participants were excluded due to their reports of current or previous depression or anxiety disorders or current psychiatric or neurological disorders. Moreover, two participants were excluded based on their caffeine and alcohol questionnaire. Finally, 91 participants (44 female, 47 male, i.e. genders were matched as 48% female and 52% male) aged 18 to 56 (M = 22.54 years, SD = 6.20) took part in the behavioural experiments. All the participants were right-handed, as assessed by the Edinburgh Inventory [32Ishihara S. Tests for colour-blindness 1960.], and had normal or corrected to normal vision. Before participation, each participant gave written informed consent. The participants were paid £10 for their participation in the study, which lasted for approximately one hour. The study was approved by the Department of Life Sciences Ethics Committee at Brunel University.

2.2. Materials

2.2.1. Questionnaires

The ASQ (Seligman, 1984) includes twelve hypothetical events, of which six are positive and six are negative; these were used to determine negative attributional style in all participants through the three dimensions of internality, stability and globality. While internality measures the cause as internal or external, stability indicates whether the cause is perceived to be transient or permanent. Lastly, globality refers to the extent of the cause and whether this affects other parts of the individual’s life. In the test administration, first, participants were asked to read and then imagine these scenarios given in the ASQ happening to them. Second, they were asked to write down the major cause for the hypothetical event. Third, they were asked to rate the cause of these events along a 7-point continuum scale (from 1 to 7) for each of the three causal dimensions. Overall, the three dimensions’ (i.e. internal, stable and global) composite scores were the two components of positive and negative attributional style; negative and positive scores ranged from three (low) to 21 (high), thus referring to the intensity and greatness of the negative or positive attribution. In the current research, we used negative attributional style as the independent variable.

In addition, the BDI [18Beck AT, Steer RA, Carbin MG. Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clin Psychol Rev 1988; 8(1): 77-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0272-7358(88)90050-5] ] was used to prevent the potential confounding effects of depression so that participants who scored 15 or over were eliminated. To exclude participants with a history of psychiatric or neurological illness, a self-designed questionnaire was used. Also, an alcohol and caffeine consumption survey was used to exclude the possible effects of alcohol and caffeine. The Ishihara Colour Blindness Test [32Ishihara S. Tests for colour-blindness 1960.] was used to confirm that participants were not colour blind.

2.2.2. Cognitive Tasks: Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)

The Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB; Cambridge Cognition, Cambridge, UK) is a system widely applied in neuropsychiatry, neuropsychology and psychopharmacology to investigate cognitive correlations. The test Administration Guide (Cambridge Cognition, Cambridge, UK) was used to adapt all test descriptions. The current study included three CANTAB (www.cambridgecognition.com/cantab) tasks: (a) Stoking of Cambridge (SOC), (b) the Spatial Working Memory task (SWM); (c) the Intra-Extra Dimensional Shift task (IED). The administered tasks are described briefly below.

2.3. Stoking of Cambridge (SOC)

The SOC task performance is associated with the spatial planning function [33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] ]. In this task, two configurations are placed on top of each other (Fig. 1). Each configuration consisted of three coloured balls. The participants were asked to replicate the top configuration in the bottom section by moving the coloured balls into the correct location; in other words, they must make the bottom configuration match the top one. Thus, the participants were to select a ball and then move it to the correct location. There were limited moves available to complete the configuration. In the easiest task, participants were required to copy the configuration using two moves. Gradually, the tasks difficulty increased from two to five moves. In this study, the outcome measures (dependent variables) were the time spent completing the tasks for each SOC, which were two, three, four and five moves SOC tasks.

Fig. (1)
Shows an example of the SOC task with two moves. The top pattern must be copied in the bottom pattern. Thus, the participant moves the red ball into the empty location in the middle just above the blue ball. Next, they must move green ball into the empty location on the right (the figure is retrieved from CANTAB website: http://www.cambridgecognition.com/ cantab/cognitive-tests/ stockings-of-cambridge-soc/).


2.4. Spatial Working Memory Task (SWM)

An SWM task was used to measure a key storage component of WM: the visuospatial sketchpad. In this self-ordered searching task [33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] , 34Owen AM, Downes JJ, Sahakian BJ, Polkey CE, Robbins TW. Planning and spatial working memory following frontal lobe lesions in man. Neuropsychologia 1990; 28(10): 1021-34.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0028-3932(90)90137-D] [PMID: 2267054] ], a number of yellow boxes were presented on a computer screen; these consisted of a hidden blue token in a spatial array beside an empty column. Participants were required to search for the blue hidden tokens by touching yellow boxes (Fig. 2). They were informed when they found a token in a box, as each box only contained one token. When participants found a token, they must to put it in the column on the right-hand side of the screen by touching that place. All boxes then changed back to yellow and thus participants began another search. Participants did not get any feedback during the task performance. Task difficulty increased as the number of searching boxes increased. In other words, participants started searching for hidden tokens in four boxes, then they progressed to six and subsequently eight boxes. In this study, the outcome measures (dependent variables) were the error rates at each level of difficulty (i.e. the error rates for four, six and eight boxes) and the average of the total errors throughout the task performance. Also, we included SWM strategy as one more dependent variable to find out any potential relationship between participants attributional style scores and strategy of task accomplishment.

Fig. (2)
An example of an SWM task with 8 boxes. The blue token in the left bottom is the target. Participants look for blue tokens by touching yellow boxes. When they find a blue token, they should move it in the column on the right side. Then all tokens become yellow again and they should start for another search again. (the figure is retrieved from CANTAB website: http://www.cambridgecognition.com/cantab/cognitive-tests/memory/spatial-working-memory).


2.5. Intra-Extra Dimensional Shift task (IED)

IED is an attentional set-shifting task (a computerised version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test) that is associated with switching and inhibition functions [33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] , 35Mullane JC, Corkum PV. The relationship between working memory, inhibition, and performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test in children with and without ADHD. J Psychoed Assess 2007; 25(3): 211-21.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734282906297627] ]. In the IED task, two compounded figures were presented on a computer screen; one was a coloured shape and one was made up of lines (Fig. 3). Participants were required to act based on two rules of intra and extradimensional shifts; in the intra dimensional shifts, participants were presented a single figure, which was either a line or a shape, and had to determine rule changes based on this. On the other hand, in the extra-dimensional shift two stimuli, i.e. lines and shapes, were compounded; participants had to ignore shapes and respond solely based on lines or vice versa [33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] ]. Moreover, the participants were required to touch the compounded figure to learn which rule they had to follow. Feedback (a high auditory tone for giving the correct response and a low one for giving the incorrect response) was heard by participants after each response. Once participants learned to follow a rule, it changed after six correct responses. In this case, participants were required to learn the new rule and correctly respond to the task [33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] ]. In this study, the task had two outcome measures (dependent variables) as follows: ‘stages completed’, which refers to the successful completion of one of the set tasks (i.e. making six correct responses either in the intra or extra-dimensional rules). ‘Total errors’ refers to the total number of errors made in the trials throughout the task [33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] ].

Fig. (3)
Shows an example of the IED set-shifting task. (the figure is retrieved from CANTAB website: http://www.cambridgecognition.com/cantab/cognitive-tests/intra-extra-dimensional-set-shift-ied/).


2.6. Procedure

The study consisted of two stages. In the first stage, participants were given time to read and sign their informed consent forms and subsequently filled in the questionnaires, including the ASQ (see materials section 2.2). Eligible participants were selected based on the exclusion criteria detailed in the participants section (see participants section 2.1). In the second stage, the participants were seated in front of the CANTAB computer (Model PP-120-RT) with a 10 ½ inch touch-screen monitor. The SOC, SWM and IED tasks were then presented to the participants. The CANTAB tasks started with a practice session to introduce each task and eliminate any sensorimotor or comprehension difficulties that may have restricted the collection of valid data from the participants. After the participants completed the practice session, the study session commenced. The participants were verbally instructed using a script; additionally, the experimenter gave a demonstration of some of the tasks. If the participants were not clear on how to proceed, appropriate instructions were given. To eliminate the order effect, the CANTAB tasks were counterbalanced. Finally, on completion of all the tasks, a debriefing form was issued.

3. RESULTS

Negative attributional style scores among the participants ranged from 6.17 (min) to 18.33 (max) with mean 12.21 and SD 2.02 and Positive attributional style scores ranged from 11 (min) to 21 (max) with a mean of 15.17 and SD 2.21. Preliminary analyses showed that there is a violation of the assumption of normality and linearity, [kurtosis and skewness> 1 for some l variables e.g. SOC, SWM outcome measures]. Therefore, these data have been transformed by using log which normalized the data. In the final case, the analyses showed that there is no violation of assumption of normality and linearity, [-1 < kurtosis and skewness for all variables> 1; collinearity statistics VIF< 10 and CI> 30; Durbin Watson< 2].

To examine the association between negative attributional style and WM performance, first of all, we presented Pearson correlations coefficients to show correlations among the variables. Subsequently, for significant correlations, we performed multivariate regression analyses as we have one independent variable and multiple dependent variables for each task to find out predicted variances by negative attributional style.

To examine the Table 1, it can be observed that negative and positive attributional styles are negatively correlated but this correlation did not reach a significant level. Moreover, while positive attributional style did not significantly correlate with WM task variables, negative attributional style and SWM task performance shows that negative attributional style positively correlated with error rates in 6 (r= .225, p< .01) and 8 searching boxes (r= .423, p< .01) and total number of errors (r= .241, p< .01) in SWM task. However, the correlation between negative attributional and SWM 4 boxes and SWM strategy did not reach significant threshold. Negative attributional style did not correlate with the IED set-shifting task and SOC tasks variables. In addition, Table 1. shows within each task, the variables within a task significantly correlated each other, however, between WM tasks there was no significant correlation all p>.05.

Table 1
Pearson product moment correlation coefficients between variables.


To examine predicted variances by negative attributional style in SWM task which have been shown with significant correlations, we used multivariate regression in the general linear model because we have one dependent variable (Negative attributional style) and multiple independent variables (SWM variables). Preliminary analyses were performed to ensure there is no violation of assumption of normality and linearity.

Multivariate regression in the general linear model was calculated to predict participants WM performance-based upon their negative attributional scores. Table 2 shows beta values for each variable in linear regression analyses. The strongest beta value has been observed for SWM 8 boxes and then for SWM total errors and SWM 6 boxes respectively. It is known that beta values indicate the strength of contribution in the regression models. In line with that, further results showed significant regression equations between negative attributional scores and SWM task variables which are mainly associated with visuospatial sketchpad storage of WM. In more detail, a significant regression equation was found for SWM 6 boxes [F (1, 90) = 6.37, p=.013 with an R2 of .067]; SWM 8 boxes [F (1, 90) = 24.87, p=.000 with an R2 of .218.] and SWM total errors [F (1, 90) = 7.62, p=.007 with an R2 of .079]. However, the results regarding SWM 4 boxes and SWM strategy did not reach significant threshold p> .05. The results indicated negative attributional style accounted for 6.7% in errors of SWM six boxes, 21.8% of the explained variability in errors of SWM eight boxes and 7.9% in SWM total errors.

Table 2
Shows beta values and t statistics for SWM 6, 8 boxes, total errors and SOC 3 move.


4. DISCUSSION

The results showed that negative attributional style associated with impairments in SWM tasks performance as evident by the positive association between negative attributional style and higher error rates in 6, 8 and total errors. However, it has been found that negative attributional style did not associate with SOC tasks performance and IED set shifting tasks. Also, there was a negative correlation between negative and positive attributional style, however this relationship did not reach significant threshold. The other results showed significant association neither between positive attributional and WM task performance nor between WM tasks.

The primary aim of the present study was to test whether negative attributional style leads lower WM tasks performance which associated with different functions of WM. For instance, while some of the empirical research suggest that negative attributions impair cognitive tasks performance [4Helton WS, Dember WN, Warm JS, et al. Optimism, pessimism, and false failure feedback: Effects on vigilance performance. Curr Psychol 1999; 18(4): 311-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-999-1006-2] , 5Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460] ], others have found no correlation between negative attribution and cognitive tasks performance [7Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290] , 29Szalma JL. Individual differences in the stress and workload of sustained attention. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Erogonomics Society Annual Meeting 2002; 46(12): 1002-6.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/154193120204601201] , 36Szalma JL. Individual differences in performance, workload, and stress in sustained attention: Optimism and pessimism. Pers Individ Dif 2009; 47(5): 444-51.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2009.04.019] ]. The main limitation of these reported studies was that they often investigative negative attributions by employing only one cognitive task i.e. either vigilance task [29Szalma JL. Individual differences in the stress and workload of sustained attention. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Erogonomics Society Annual Meeting 2002; 46(12): 1002-6.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/154193120204601201] ] or n back task [5Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460] ] which prevent understanding of the detrimental effect of negative attributional style on all components of WM. Therefore, in the present study, negative attributions were investigated on a broader level by the selection of three different WM tasks, each associated with a different function of WM. The results showed that negative attributions may contribute to impairment in WM performance. However, the task impairment could be explained by negative attributions only on SWM task performance.

It seems that negative attributional style may impair performance during SWM tasks which are purely associated with visuospatial working memory because the impairment in SWM task could be explained to some degree (6.7% to 21.8%) as evident by significant regression equations in 6, 8 boxes and total average of errors in SWM task. In more detail, task impairment increased as difficulty increased (i.e. from 4 boxes to 6 and then 8 boxes) in WM tasks. Similar patterns of these results have been found previously in patients with anxiety [37Shackman AJ, Sarinopoulos I, Maxwell JS, Pizzagalli DA, Lavric A, Davidson RJ. Anxiety selectively disrupts visuospatial working memory. Emotion 2006; 6(1): 40-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.6.1.40] [PMID: 16637749] ] depression [38Nakao K, Ikegaya Y, Yamada MK, Nishiyama N, Matsuki N. Hippocampal long-term depression as an index of spatial working memory. Eur J Neurosci 2002; 16(5): 970-4.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1460-9568.2002.02159.x] [PMID: 12372034] ] and schizophrenia [39Park S, Holzman PS. Schizophrenics show spatial working memory deficits. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1992; 49(12): 975-82.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820120063009] [PMID: 1449384] ] during processing of various SWM tasks. Generally, it has been suggested that stress-related anxiety with such subjects increases task-irrelevant activities which disrupt SWM function [37Shackman AJ, Sarinopoulos I, Maxwell JS, Pizzagalli DA, Lavric A, Davidson RJ. Anxiety selectively disrupts visuospatial working memory. Emotion 2006; 6(1): 40-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.6.1.40] [PMID: 16637749] ]. Previously, it has been indicated that negative attributional style is associated with stress and is a pivotal precipitating factor for such psychological disorders [19Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Francis EL. Do negative cognitive styles confer vulnerability to depression? Curr Dir Psychol Sci 1999; 8(4): 128-32.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00030] , 23An SK, Kang JI, Park JY, Kim KR, Lee SY, Lee E. Attribution bias in ultra-high risk for psychosis and first-episode schizophrenia. Schizophr Res 2010; 118(1-3): 54-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2010.01.025] [PMID: 20171849] ]. Therefore, these results indicate that individuals with negative attributional style may be inclined to similar cognitive deficits with those psychological disorders.

The impairment in SWM tasks seems to be related impairment in a visuospatial sketchpad. The reason for that is that negative attributional style found to contribute impairment in errors rates which related to finding visuospatial locations of boxes on the screen. As participants with negative ASQ found to be stressful individuals, such patterns of results have been explained by inverted U curve model in the studies related to stress and performance [26Hancock PA, Szalma JL. Performance under stress 2008; 323-57., 40Eysenck HJ. Biological basis of personality. Nature 1963; 199(4898): 1031-4.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/1991031a0] [PMID: 14066934] ]. Based on the inverted U curve, if the task is very easy, individuals with high and low-stress level may perform similarly [26Hancock PA, Szalma JL. Performance under stress 2008; 323-57., 27Saylik R. Neuroticism related differences during porcessing of controlled congnitive tasks 2017., 40Eysenck HJ. Biological basis of personality. Nature 1963; 199(4898): 1031-4.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/1991031a0] [PMID: 14066934] ]. The reason for that is if the task is easy, the arousal level may not reach the threshold level even in stressful individuals [26Hancock PA, Szalma JL. Performance under stress 2008; 323-57., 27Saylik R. Neuroticism related differences during porcessing of controlled congnitive tasks 2017., 40Eysenck HJ. Biological basis of personality. Nature 1963; 199(4898): 1031-4.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/1991031a0] [PMID: 14066934] ]. However, if the task becomes difficult, while stress level exceeds a critical threshold in stressful people, it remains below the critical threshold in people with low-stress level [26Hancock PA, Szalma JL. Performance under stress 2008; 323-57., 27Saylik R. Neuroticism related differences during porcessing of controlled congnitive tasks 2017., 40Eysenck HJ. Biological basis of personality. Nature 1963; 199(4898): 1031-4.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/1991031a0] [PMID: 14066934] ]. This argument is well fitted for SWM tasks results because while negative attributional style did associate with relatively difficult tasks i.e. SWM 6 boxes, SWM 8 boxes, it did not associate with the easiest SWM task i.e. SWM 4 boxes performance.

It should be noted that there was no significant association between SWM strategy which somehow may link to central executive functions because people may use different strategies (i.e. Top-down or bottom-up) to achieve a goal during task performance [33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] ]. These strategies are related to attention regulation and involves in central executive functions [34Owen AM, Downes JJ, Sahakian BJ, Polkey CE, Robbins TW. Planning and spatial working memory following frontal lobe lesions in man. Neuropsychologia 1990; 28(10): 1021-34.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0028-3932(90)90137-D] [PMID: 2267054] ]. Current results indicate that negative attributional style did not influence on participants strategy on SWM tasks. Thus, in terms of SWM tasks, the impairments seem to be due to visuospatial sketchpad but not executive functions.

Although we are not able to point out exactly why negative attributional style is associated with impairment in visuospatial sketchpad, there are few studies suggest that anxiety-related traits may selectively impair visuospatial sketchpad due to rehearsal process in inner scribe. The reason is that visuospatial sketchpad storage has been divided into two components, which are the visual cache and inner scribe [10Baddeley A. Working memory: Theories, models, and controversies. Annu Rev Psychol 2012; 63: 1-29.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100422] [PMID: 21961947] , 11Baddeley A. Working memory: Looking back and looking forward. Nat Rev Neurosci 2003; 4(10): 829-39.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrn1201] [PMID: 14523382] ]. While the visual cache is associated with storing information as a passive component, the inner scribe is rather a dynamic component and it deals with the retrieval and rehearsal of information [10Baddeley A. Working memory: Theories, models, and controversies. Annu Rev Psychol 2012; 63: 1-29.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100422] [PMID: 21961947] , 11Baddeley A. Working memory: Looking back and looking forward. Nat Rev Neurosci 2003; 4(10): 829-39.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrn1201] [PMID: 14523382] ]. For instance, when a visuospatial stimulus is demonstrated, it is maintained in the visual cache and refreshed by rehearsal processes. If not refreshed by the inner scribe, the information decays in a few seconds. Therefore, during this retrieval and rehearsal of visuospatial information, task-unrelated activities (i.e. anxiety related activities) overlap rehearsal processes (task-related activities) so that limited resources of attention are shared between these activities [41Shackman AJ, Sarinopoulos I, Maxwell JS, Pizzagalli DA, Lavric A, Davidson RJ. Anxiety selectively disrupts visuospatial working memory. Emotion 2006; 6(1): 40-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.6.1.40] [PMID: 16637749] , 42Awh E, Jonides J. Overlapping mechanisms of attention and spatial working memory. Trends Cogn Sci (Regul Ed) 2001; 5(3): 119-26.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01593-X] [PMID: 11239812] ]. In this context, negative attributional may selectively impair function of visuospatial sketchpad because negative attributional style is closely linked to anxiety.

The second aim of the study was to explore whether negative attributional style contributes to task impairment in all WM task. The results regarding the SOC (measures inhibition and planning functions) and IED set-shifting task (measures switching and inhibition functions) showed that negative attributional style does not associate with these tasks performance. IED set-shifting task is a computerized version of WCST and used as one of the most common measures of switching and inhibition functions because task the participants were required to switch their attention from one rule to another [15Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922] , 33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] , 35Mullane JC, Corkum PV. The relationship between working memory, inhibition, and performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test in children with and without ADHD. J Psychoed Assess 2007; 25(3): 211-21.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734282906297627] ]. To do that, they were also required to inhibit previous task-relevant information, which had become task-irrelevant information [13Baddeley A. The fractionation of working memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996; 93(24): 13468-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.93.24.13468] [PMID: 8942958] , 33Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933] , 35Mullane JC, Corkum PV. The relationship between working memory, inhibition, and performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test in children with and without ADHD. J Psychoed Assess 2007; 25(3): 211-21.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734282906297627] ]. These two functions are commonly assessed as main functions of CES [14Miyake A, Shah P. Models of working memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control 1999; 1-27.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139174909] , 15Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922] , 27Saylik R. Neuroticism related differences during porcessing of controlled congnitive tasks 2017.]. Also, SOC task is a computerized version of Tower Of Hanoi (TOH) and it is generally supposed to measure inhibition tasks. However, some researchers suggest that SOC may involve in planning functions in difficult stages of the tasks because the magnitude of the evaluation and selection of a sequence of actions become greater in difficult SOC tasks i.e. SOC 5 moves. It is known both inhibition and planning are functions of the central executive system. Therefore, the current results showed that negative attributional style may not have a significant influence on CES functions in SOC and IED set shifting tasks.

To summarize above paragraphs, it is proposed that negative attributional style contributes to impairments in WM task processing, but this impairment could not be generalized to all WM tasks. The significant impairments may be associated with VSSP component of WM rather than with main functions of CES i.e. switching and inhibition. The reason for that is that higher stress in people with negative attributional style may lead to cognitive deficits, particularly in VSSP.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the current experimental results indicate that negative attributional style contributes to task impairment when the task associates VSSP components of WM. On the other hand, when the task associates main functions of CES, the negative attributional style has no influence on the task performance. Because the studies regarding the effect of negative attributional style on cognitive processing are rare, it is important that future studies focus on this aspect. Particularly, future research should focus on the reasons behind such impairment specifically in visuospatial sketchpad because although we have shown that negative attributional style contributes to impairments in this storage component, it is still unknown why negative attributions particularly impair this system. Thus, they could draw more strong conceptualization in relation to cognitive deficits in people with high negative attributional style.

ETHICS APPROVAL AND CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE

The study was approved by the Department of Life Sciences Ethics Committee at Brunel University.

HUMAN AND ANIMAL RIGHTS

No Animals were used in this research. All human research procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the committee responsible for human experimentation (institutional and national), and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2013.

CONSENT FOR PUBLICATION

Each participant gave written informed consent.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare no conflict of interest, financial or otherwise.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Declared none.

REFERENCES

[1] Mahasneh AM, Al-Zoubi ZH, Batayeneh OT. The relationship between optimism-pessimism and personality traits among students in the hashemite university. Int Educ Stud 2013; 6(8): 71.[http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ies.v6n8p71]
[2] Mahasneh DAM, Al-Zoubi DZH, Batayeneh DOT. The relationship between attribution styles and personality traits, gender and academic specialization among the hashemite university students. Int J Bus Soc Sci 2013; 4(9)
[3] Alloy LB, Lipman AJ, Abramson LY. Attributional style as a vulnerability factor for depression: Validation by past history of mood disorders. Cognit Ther Res 1992; 16(4): 391-407.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01183164]
[4] Helton WS, Dember WN, Warm JS, et al. Optimism, pessimism, and false failure feedback: Effects on vigilance performance. Curr Psychol 1999; 18(4): 311-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12144-999-1006-2]
[5] Levens SM, Gotlib IH. The effects of optimism and pessimism on updating emotional information in working memory. Cogn Emotion 2012; 26(2): 341-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2011.574110] [PMID: 22233460]
[6] Maruta T, Colligan RC, Malinchoc M, et al. Optimists vs pessimists: Survival rate among medical patients over a 30-year period.Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2000; 75(2): 140-3.
[7] Szalma JL, Hancock PA, Dember WN, Warm JS. Training for vigilance: The effect of knowledge of results format and dispositional optimism and pessimism on performance and stress. Br J Psychol 2006; 97(Pt 1): 115-35.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/000712605X62768] [PMID: 16464290]
[8] Sweeney PD, Anderson K, Bailey S. Attributional style in depression: A meta-analytic review. J Pers Soc Psychol 1986; 50(5): 974-1.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.50.5.974]
[9] Ashby FG, Valentin VV, Turken AU. The effects of positive affect and arousal on working memory and executive attention. American Psychol Ass 2002; 44: 245-87.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/aicr.44.11ash]
[10] Baddeley A. Working memory: Theories, models, and controversies. Annu Rev Psychol 2012; 63: 1-29.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100422] [PMID: 21961947]
[11] Baddeley A. Working memory: Looking back and looking forward. Nat Rev Neurosci 2003; 4(10): 829-39.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrn1201] [PMID: 14523382]
[12] Baddeley A. Recent developments in working memory. Curr Opin Neurobiol 1998; 8(2): 234-8.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-4388(98)80145-1] [PMID: 9635207]
[13] Baddeley A. The fractionation of working memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1996; 93(24): 13468-72.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.93.24.13468] [PMID: 8942958]
[14] Miyake A, Shah P. Models of working memory: Mechanisms of active maintenance and executive control 1999; 1-27.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139174909]
[15] Miyake A, Friedman NP, Emerson MJ, Witzki AH, Howerter A, Wager TD. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “Frontal Lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis. Cognit Psychol 2000; 41(1): 49-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/cogp.1999.0734] [PMID: 10945922]
[16] Shallice T. Specific impairments of planning. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 1982; 298(1089): 199-209.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1982.0082] [PMID: 6125971]
[17] Ahrens AH, Haaga DF. The specifity of attributional style and expectation to positive and negative affectivitiy, depression and anxiety. Cognit Ther Res 1993; 17(1): 83-97.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01172742]
[18] Beck AT, Steer RA, Carbin MG. Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: Twenty-five years of evaluation. Clin Psychol Rev 1988; 8(1): 77-100.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0272-7358(88)90050-5]
[19] Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Francis EL. Do negative cognitive styles confer vulnerability to depression? Curr Dir Psychol Sci 1999; 8(4): 128-32.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00030]
[20] Alloy LB, Abramson LY, Whitehouse WG, et al. Depressogenic cognitive styles: Predictive validity, information processing and personality characteristics, and developmental origins. Behav Res Ther 1999; 37(6): 503-31.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(98)00157-0] [PMID: 10372466]
[21] Mezulis AH, Hyde JS, Abramson LY. The developmental origins of cognitive vulnerability to depression: Temperament, parenting, and negative life events in childhood as contributors to negative cognitive style. Dev Psychol 2006; 42(6): 1012-25.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0012-1649.42.6.1012] [PMID: 17087538]
[22] Peterson C, Seligman ME. Causal explanations as a risk factor for depression: Theory and evidence. Psychol Rev 1984; 91(3): 347-74.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.91.3.347] [PMID: 6473583]
[23] An SK, Kang JI, Park JY, Kim KR, Lee SY, Lee E. Attribution bias in ultra-high risk for psychosis and first-episode schizophrenia. Schizophr Res 2010; 118(1-3): 54-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2010.01.025] [PMID: 20171849]
[24] Martin JA, Penn DL. Attributional style in schizophrenia: An investigation in outpatients with and without persecutory delusions. Schizophr Bull 2002; 28(1): 131-41.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.schbul.a006916] [PMID: 12047013]
[25] Peterson C, Barrett LC. Explanatory style and academic performance among university freshman. J Pers Soc Psychol 1987; 53(3): 603.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.53.3.603]
[26] Hancock PA, Szalma JL. Performance under stress 2008; 323-57.
[27] Saylik R. Neuroticism related differences during porcessing of controlled congnitive tasks 2017.
[28] Szameitat AJ, Saylik R, Parton A. Neuroticism related differences in the functional neuroanatomical correlates of multitasking. An fMRI study. Neurosci Lett 2016; 635: 51-5.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neulet.2016.10.029] [PMID: 27769891]
[29] Szalma JL. Individual differences in the stress and workload of sustained attention. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Erogonomics Society Annual Meeting 2002; 46(12): 1002-6.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/154193120204601201]
[30] Baddeley A, Hitch G. Recent developments in working memory. Curr Opin Neurobiol 1998; 8(2): 234-8.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0959-4388(98)80145-1] [PMID: 9635207]
[31] Oldfield RC. The assessment and analysis of handedness: The Edinburgh inventory. Neuropsychologia 1971; 9(1): 97-113.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0028-3932(71)90067-4] [PMID: 5146491]
[32] Ishihara S. Tests for colour-blindness 1960.
[33] Ozonoff S, Cook I, Coon H, et al. Performance on cambridge neuropsychological test automated battery subtests sensitive to frontal lobe function in people with autistic disorder: Evidence from the collaborative programs of excellence in autism network. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(2): 139-50.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/B:JADD.0000022605.81989.cc] [PMID: 15162933]
[34] Owen AM, Downes JJ, Sahakian BJ, Polkey CE, Robbins TW. Planning and spatial working memory following frontal lobe lesions in man. Neuropsychologia 1990; 28(10): 1021-34.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0028-3932(90)90137-D] [PMID: 2267054]
[35] Mullane JC, Corkum PV. The relationship between working memory, inhibition, and performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test in children with and without ADHD. J Psychoed Assess 2007; 25(3): 211-21.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734282906297627]
[36] Szalma JL. Individual differences in performance, workload, and stress in sustained attention: Optimism and pessimism. Pers Individ Dif 2009; 47(5): 444-51.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2009.04.019]
[37] Shackman AJ, Sarinopoulos I, Maxwell JS, Pizzagalli DA, Lavric A, Davidson RJ. Anxiety selectively disrupts visuospatial working memory. Emotion 2006; 6(1): 40-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.6.1.40] [PMID: 16637749]
[38] Nakao K, Ikegaya Y, Yamada MK, Nishiyama N, Matsuki N. Hippocampal long-term depression as an index of spatial working memory. Eur J Neurosci 2002; 16(5): 970-4.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1460-9568.2002.02159.x] [PMID: 12372034]
[39] Park S, Holzman PS. Schizophrenics show spatial working memory deficits. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1992; 49(12): 975-82.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820120063009] [PMID: 1449384]
[40] Eysenck HJ. Biological basis of personality. Nature 1963; 199(4898): 1031-4.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/1991031a0] [PMID: 14066934]
[41] Shackman AJ, Sarinopoulos I, Maxwell JS, Pizzagalli DA, Lavric A, Davidson RJ. Anxiety selectively disrupts visuospatial working memory. Emotion 2006; 6(1): 40-61.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1528-3542.6.1.40] [PMID: 16637749]
[42] Awh E, Jonides J. Overlapping mechanisms of attention and spatial working memory. Trends Cogn Sci (Regul Ed) 2001; 5(3): 119-26.[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1364-6613(00)01593-X] [PMID: 11239812]

Endorsements



"Open access will revolutionize 21st century knowledge work and accelerate the diffusion of ideas and evidence that support just in time learning and the evolution of thinking in a number of disciplines."


Daniel Pesut
(Indiana University School of Nursing, USA)

"It is important that students and researchers from all over the world can have easy access to relevant, high-standard and timely scientific information. This is exactly what Open Access Journals provide and this is the reason why I support this endeavor."


Jacques Descotes
(Centre Antipoison-Centre de Pharmacovigilance, France)

"Publishing research articles is the key for future scientific progress. Open Access publishing is therefore of utmost importance for wider dissemination of information, and will help serving the best interest of the scientific community."


Patrice Talaga
(UCB S.A., Belgium)

"Open access journals are a novel concept in the medical literature. They offer accessible information to a wide variety of individuals, including physicians, medical students, clinical investigators, and the general public. They are an outstanding source of medical and scientific information."


Jeffrey M. Weinberg
(St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, USA)

"Open access journals are extremely useful for graduate students, investigators and all other interested persons to read important scientific articles and subscribe scientific journals. Indeed, the research articles span a wide range of area and of high quality. This is specially a must for researchers belonging to institutions with limited library facility and funding to subscribe scientific journals."


Debomoy K. Lahiri
(Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)

"Open access journals represent a major break-through in publishing. They provide easy access to the latest research on a wide variety of issues. Relevant and timely articles are made available in a fraction of the time taken by more conventional publishers. Articles are of uniformly high quality and written by the world's leading authorities."


Robert Looney
(Naval Postgraduate School, USA)

"Open access journals have transformed the way scientific data is published and disseminated: particularly, whilst ensuring a high quality standard and transparency in the editorial process, they have increased the access to the scientific literature by those researchers that have limited library support or that are working on small budgets."


Richard Reithinger
(Westat, USA)

"Not only do open access journals greatly improve the access to high quality information for scientists in the developing world, it also provides extra exposure for our papers."


J. Ferwerda
(University of Oxford, UK)

"Open Access 'Chemistry' Journals allow the dissemination of knowledge at your finger tips without paying for the scientific content."


Sean L. Kitson
(Almac Sciences, Northern Ireland)

"In principle, all scientific journals should have open access, as should be science itself. Open access journals are very helpful for students, researchers and the general public including people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals. The articles are high standard and cover a wide area."


Hubert Wolterbeek
(Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

"The widest possible diffusion of information is critical for the advancement of science. In this perspective, open access journals are instrumental in fostering researches and achievements."


Alessandro Laviano
(Sapienza - University of Rome, Italy)

"Open access journals are very useful for all scientists as they can have quick information in the different fields of science."


Philippe Hernigou
(Paris University, France)

"There are many scientists who can not afford the rather expensive subscriptions to scientific journals. Open access journals offer a good alternative for free access to good quality scientific information."


Fidel Toldrá
(Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Spain)

"Open access journals have become a fundamental tool for students, researchers, patients and the general public. Many people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals benefit of them on a daily basis. The articles are among the best and cover most scientific areas."


M. Bendandi
(University Clinic of Navarre, Spain)

"These journals provide researchers with a platform for rapid, open access scientific communication. The articles are of high quality and broad scope."


Peter Chiba
(University of Vienna, Austria)

"Open access journals are probably one of the most important contributions to promote and diffuse science worldwide."


Jaime Sampaio
(University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)

"Open access journals make up a new and rather revolutionary way to scientific publication. This option opens several quite interesting possibilities to disseminate openly and freely new knowledge and even to facilitate interpersonal communication among scientists."


Eduardo A. Castro
(INIFTA, Argentina)

"Open access journals are freely available online throughout the world, for you to read, download, copy, distribute, and use. The articles published in the open access journals are high quality and cover a wide range of fields."


Kenji Hashimoto
(Chiba University, Japan)

"Open Access journals offer an innovative and efficient way of publication for academics and professionals in a wide range of disciplines. The papers published are of high quality after rigorous peer review and they are Indexed in: major international databases. I read Open Access journals to keep abreast of the recent development in my field of study."


Daniel Shek
(Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

"It is a modern trend for publishers to establish open access journals. Researchers, faculty members, and students will be greatly benefited by the new journals of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd. in this category."


Jih Ru Hwu
(National Central University, Taiwan)


Browse Contents



Advertisements


Webmaster Contact: info@benthamopen.com
Copyright © 2018 Bentham Open