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Age-related differentiation in verbal and visuo-spatial working memory processing in childhood

Buttelmann, Frances, Konen, Tanja, Hadley, Lauren V, Meaney, Julie-Anne, Auyeung, Bonnie, Morey, Candice ORCID:, Chevalier, Nicolas and Karbach, Julia 2020. Age-related differentiation in verbal and visuo-spatial working memory processing in childhood. Psychological Research 84 , pp. 2354-2360. 10.1007/s00426-019-01219-w

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Working memory (WM), a key feature of the cognitive system, allows for maintaining and processing information simultaneously and in a controlled manner. WM processing continuously develops across childhood, with significant increases both in verbal and visuospatial WM. Verbal and visuospatial WM may show different developmental trajectories, as verbal (but not visuospatial) WM relies on internal verbal rehearsal, which is less developed in younger children. We examined complex VWM and VSWM performance in 125 younger (age 4–6 years) and 101 older (age 8–10 years) children. Latent multi-group modeling showed that (1) older children performed better on both verbal and visuospatial WM span tasks than younger children, (2) both age groups performed better on verbal than visuospatial WM, and (3) a model with two factors representing verbal and visuospatial WM fit the data better than a one-factor model. Importantly, the correlation between the two factors was significantly higher in younger than in older children, suggesting an age-related differentiation of verbal and spatial WM processing in middle childhood. Age-related differentiation is an important characteristic of cognitive functioning and thus the findings contribute to our general understanding of WM processing.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0340-0727
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 June 2019
Date of Acceptance: 20 June 2019
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2022 18:58

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