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The effects of verbal and spatial memory load on children's processing speed

Morey, Candice C. ORCID:, Hadley, Lauren V., Buttelmann, Frances, Konen, Tanja, Meaney, Julie-Anne, Auyeung, Bonnie, Karbach, Julia and Chevalier, Nicolas 2018. The effects of verbal and spatial memory load on children's processing speed. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1424 (1) , pp. 161-174. 10.1111/nyas.13653

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Examining the impact of maintenance on processing speed allows us to test whether storage and processing resources are shared. Comparing these relationships in children of different ages allows further insight into whether one or multiple resources for these operations must be assumed and whether remembering is proactive throughout childhood. We tested 185 4-6 and 8-10 year-old children using adaptive complex span tasks, in which simple judgments were interleaved between to-be-remembered items. The adaptiveness of our tasks ensured that all participants frequently correctly recalled the items. If storage and processing require a single resource, and if participants serially reactivate the memoranda in between processing episodes, processing response times should increase with serial position of the processing judgment within lists. We observed different within-list dynamics for each age group. Older children’s processing judgments slowed gradually when more than two memory items were maintained. In contrast, younger children showed no evidence of slower processing with increasing memory load. Our results support models of working memory that assume that some common resource is responsible for verbal and spatial storage and processing. They also support the notion that remembering becomes more proactive as children mature.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0077-8923
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 February 2018
Date of Acceptance: 5 February 2018
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2022 12:52

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