The current study explores the question of how an auditory category is learned by having school-age listeners learn to categorize speech not in terms of linguistic categories, but instead in terms of talker categories (i.e., who is talking). Findings from visual-category learning indicate that working memory skills affect learning, but the literature is equivocal: sometimes better working memory is advantageous, and sometimes not. The current study examined the role of different components of working memory to test which component skills benefit, and which hinder, learning talker categories. Results revealed that the short-term storage component positively predicted learning, but that the Central Executive and Episodic Buffer negatively predicted learning. As with visual categories, better working memory is not always an advantage.

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