Maintenance Mechanisms in Children’s Verbal Working Memory

  •  Anne-Laure Oftinger    
  •  Valerie Camos    


Previous research in adults has indicated two maintenance mechanisms of verbal information in working memory, i.e., articulatory rehearsal and attentional refreshing. However, only three studies have examined their joint contribution to children’s verbal working memory. The present study aimed at extending this line of research by investigating the developmental changes occurring from 6 to 9 years old. In two experiments using complex span tasks, children of three different age groups maintained letters or words while performing a concurrent task. The opportunity for attentional refreshing was manipulated by varying the attentional demand of the concurrent task. Moreover, this task was performed either silently by pressing keys or aloud, the latter inducing a concurrent articulation. As expected, recall performance increased strongly with age. More interestingly, concurrent articulation had a detrimental effect on recall even in 6-year-old children. Similarly, introducing a concurrent attention-demanding task impaired recall performance at all ages. Finally, the effect of the availability of rehearsal and of attentional refreshing never interacted at any age. This suggested an independence of the two mechanisms in the maintenance of verbal information in children’s working memory. Implications for the development of rehearsal use and for the role of attention in working memory are discussed.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0526
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0534
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: semiannual

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1. Google-based Impact Factor (2021): 1.11
2. h-index (December 2021): 29
3. i10-index (December 2021): 87
4. h5-index (December 2021): N/A
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