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ERIC Number: EJ1014874
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Infants Hierarchically Organize Memory Representations
Rosenberg, Rebecca D.; Feigenson, Lisa
Developmental Science, v16 n4 p610-621 Jul 2013
Throughout development, working memory is subject to capacity limits that severely constrain short-term storage. However, adults can massively expand the total amount of remembered information by grouping items into "chunks". Although infants also have been shown to chunk objects in memory, little is known regarding the limits of this ability. In particular, it remains unknown whether infants can create more complex memory hierarchies, binding representations of chunks into still larger chunks in recursive fashion. Here we tested the limits of early chunking, first measuring the number of items infants can bind into a single chunk and the number of chunks infants can maintain concurrently, and then, critically, whether infants can embed chunked representations into larger units. We tested 14-month-old infants' memory for hidden objects using a manual search task in which we manipulated memory load (the number of objects infants saw hidden) and the chunking cues provided. We found that infants are limited in the number of items they can chunk and in the number of chunks they can remember. However, we also found that infants can bind representations of chunks into "superchunks". These results suggest that hierarchically organizing information strongly affects working memory, starting in infancy. (Contains 1 figure and 1 footnote.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A