The field of cognitive psychology has a robust existing literature connecting working memory span to reading comprehension. Despite the plethora of research in that area, there exists a significant gap in scholarship connecting working memory (WM) span and visual narrative comprehension. WM span is a measure of how many items (pieces of information) a person can actively utilize in cognitive processes. Humans use their WM constantly and it is key to comprehending new information. Visual narrative comprehension is the ability to understand visual narratives such as comic books. Based on WM’s relationship with reading comprehension, wouldn’t WM have a similar relationship with visual narrative comprehension. The present study hypothesizes that there will be a positive relationship between WM span and visual narrative comprehension. By performing two different WM span tasks (one visual based, one reading based) and visual narrative comprehension test, this research aims to understand this connection, largely unexplored in the relevant literature. Establishing this relationship would confirm a use and effectiveness of using visual stimuli to teach difficult subject matter and alter how we view standardized training. Unfortunately, the results proved insignificant. This was likely due to flaws in the experimental design that became apparent after it was performed. Despite the failure to reject the null hypothesis, there is still a vast potential for future studies based off of the theoretical framework of this research.


Hutson, John




Cognitive Psychology


Working Memory, Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, Visual Narrative Comprehension, Working Memory Span

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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