Working memory in children: Tracing age differences and special educational needs to parameters of a formal model

Katrin Göthe, Günther Esser, Anja Gendt, Reinhold Kliegl

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Abstract


Parameters of a formal working-memory model were estimated for verbal and spatial memory updating of children. The model proposes interference though feature overwriting and through confusion of whole elements as the primary cause of working-memory capacity- limits. We tested two age groups containing each one group of normal intelligence and one deficit group. For young children the deficit was developmental dyslexia; for older it was a general learning difficulty. The interference model predicts less interference through overwriting but more through confusion of whole elements for the dyslexic children than for their age-matched controls. Older children exhibited less interference through confusion of whole elements and a higher processing rate than young children, but general learning difficulty was associated with slower processing than in the age-matched control group. Furthermore, the difference between verbal and spatial updating mapped onto several meaningful dissociations of model parameters.

DOI: 10.1037/a0025660 copyright. The American Psychological Association


Göthe, K., Esser, G., Gendt, A. & Kliegl, R. (2012). Working memory in children: Tracing age differences and special educational needs to parameters of a formal model. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 459-476