The development of memory maintenance: children's use of phonological rehearsal and attentional refreshment in working memory tasks.


Journal Article

Past research suggests that children begin to phonologically rehearse at around 7 years of age. Less is known regarding the development of refreshment, an attention-based maintenance mechanism. Therefore, the use of these two maintenance methods by 6- and 8-year-olds was assessed using memory span tasks that varied in their opportunities for maintenance activity. Experiment 1 showed that nonverbal processing impaired both groups' performance to similar extents. Experiment 2 employed phonologically similar or dissimilar memory items and compared the effects of verbal versus nonverbal processing on recall. Both groups showed evidence of phonological maintenance under nonverbal processing but not under verbal processing. Furthermore, nonverbal processing again impaired recall. Verbal processing was also more detrimental to performance in 8-year-olds than in 6-year-olds. Together, the results suggest that nonverbal processing impairs recall by obstructing refreshment and that developmental change in maintenance between 6 and 8 years of age consists primarily of an increase in phonological rehearsal.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tam, H; Jarrold, C; Baddeley, AD; Sabatos-DeVito, M

Published Date

  • November 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 107 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 306 - 324

PubMed ID

  • 20576275

Pubmed Central ID

  • 20576275

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1096-0457

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jecp.2010.05.006


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States