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

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© 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: ( 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:



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.


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).


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).


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.