Oberauer Klaus

Oberauer Klaus, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology

Postal Address:
Department of Experimental Psychology
12a Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU, UK

Unit: Department of Experimental Psychology/University of Bristol

Phone: ++44-117-9289943


Keywords: working memory, reasoning, deduction, intelligence, aging, conditionals.

The question driving most of my research is: Why are we not smarter than we are? In other words, why is human cognition limited? This led me to investigate working memory, a system responsible for holding representations available for processing and for combining them into new structures. The capacity limit of working memory is strongly related to performance in various reasoning tasks and other cognitive achievements such as reading comprehension and complex skill learning. I investigate the nature of working memory capacity through factor-analytic studies of individual differences, cognitive experiments, and age comparative studies.
A second line of my research is concerned with deductive reasoning. In particular, I am interested in how people understand conditionals and how they reason from them. The dominant theory in the field, the theory of mental models developed by Johnson-Laird & Byrne (1991), defines the conditional in close relation to the material implication from formal logic. An alternative approach is to understand conditionals probabilistically. My aim is to integrate the strengths of both views.

Some recent publications
  • Oberauer, K. (2005). Control of the contents of working memory - a comparison of two paradigms and two age groups. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 31, 714-728.
  • Oberauer, K. (2005). Binding and inhibition in working memory – individual and age differences in short-term recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134, 368-387.
  • Lewandowsky, S., Stritzke, W., Oberauer, K., & Morales, M. (2005). Memory for fact, fiction and misinformation: The Iraq war 2003. Psychological Science, 16, 190-195
  • Lange, E., & Oberauer, K. (2005). Overwriting of phonemic features in serial recall. Memory, 13, 333-339.
  • Oberauer, K., Schulze, R., Wilhelm, O., & Süß, H.-M. (2005). Working memory and intelligence – their correlation and their relation. A comment on Ackerman, Beier, and Boyle (2004). Psychological Bulletin, 131, 61-65.
  • Oberauer, K. & Kliegl, R. (2004). Simultaneous cognitive operations in working memory after dual-task practice. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 30, 689-707.
  • Oberauer, K., Lange, E. B., & Engle, R. W. (2004). Working memory capacity and resistance to interference. Journal of Memory & Language, 51, 80-96.
  • Oberauer, K. (2003). Understanding serial position curves in short-term recognition and recall. Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 469-483.
  • Oberauer, K. (2003). Selective attention to elements in working memory. Experimental Psychology, 50, 257-269.
  • Oberauer, K. & Wilhelm, O. (2003). The meaning(s) of conditionals - conditional probabilities, mental models, and personal utilities. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29, 680-693.
  • Oberauer, K., Süß, H.-M., Wilhelm, O. & Wittmann, W. W. (2003). The multiple faces of working memory: storage, processing, supervision, and coordination. Intelligence, 31, 167-193.
  • Oberauer, K. (2002). Access to information in working memory. Exploring the focus of attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 28, 411-421.