Christopher Was

Christopher Was

Department of Psychological Sciences
Associate Professor
Office Location:
Room 313 Kent Hall
Contact Information



Does Dr. Was plan to recruit a doctoral student for the next incoming class?

Research Interests:

My research interests include the broad area of working memory models. My research program has focused on testing different models and aspects of working memory to determine how processing limits in working memory affect complex cognitive processes such as comprehension. Research in this area provides evidence that working memory as an attention driven storage capacity and the facilitation of procedural memory (strengthening of prior cognitive operations) are related yet independent. My studies in this area consist of both experimental studies as well as individual difference studies.

A second area of interest involves metacognition and student self-regulated learning. Research in this field includes in class experiments designed to test interventions designed to increase students knowledge monitoring abilities as well as studies aimed at increasing the ability to measure students’ metacognition.

Lab Site:

Procedural Cognition and Learning Lab


  • Was, C. A., *Hirsch, D., *Todaro, R., & *Romig, C. (2014). Registered replication report: Schooler, & Engstler-Schooler (1990). ​Perspectives on Psychological Science (9), 556-578.
  • Was, C. A. (2014). Discrimination in Measures of Knowledge Monitoring Accuracy. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 10(3), 104-112.
  • *Smith, F. X, & Was, C. A. (2014). Efficient cognitive operations predict skill acquisition. Learning and Individual Differences, 29, 30-40.
  • Sansosti, F. J., Was, C. A., Rawson, K. A., & *Remalkus, B. (2013). Eye movements during processing of text requiring bridging inferences in adolescents with higher functioning autism spectrum disorders: A preliminary investigation. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7(12), 1535-1542.
  • Was, C. A., Dunlosky, J., Bailey, H., & Rawson, K. A. (2012). The Unique Contributions of the Facilitation of Procedural Memory and  Working Memory to Individual Differences in Intelligence. Acta Psychologica, 139, 425-433.
  • *Ariel, R., *Al-Harthy, I. S., Was, C. A., & Dunloksy, J. (2011). Habitual Reading Biases in the Allocation of Study-time. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review,18,1015–1021.
  • Was, C. A., Rawson, K. A., Bailey, H., & Dunlosky, J. (2011). Content-embedded tasks beat complex span for predicting comprehension. Behavioral Research Methods.
  • Was, C. A. (2010). The persistence of content-specific memory operations: Priming effects following a 24-hour delay. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17(3), 362-368.
  • Was, C. A., & Woltz, D. J. (2007) Reexamining the relationship between working memory and comprehension: The role of available long-term memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 56(1), 86-102.
  • Woltz, D. J., & Was, C. A. (2007). Available but Unattended Conceptual Information in Working Memory: Temporarily Active Semantic Knowledge or Persistent. Memory for Prior Operations? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33(1), 158-168.


University of Utah


Working Memory, Long-term Semantic Priming, Comprehension, Knowledge Monitoring, Psychology, Educational Psychology, Human Learning and Memory, Metacognition, Models of working memory, Implicit memory processes, Intelligence

Research Methods

Quantitative, Multivariate statistics, Factor analysis, Structural equation modeling, Latent growth curve modeling