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ERIC Number: EJ1048628
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1363-755X
Knowledge Cannot Explain the Developmental Growth of Working Memory Capacity
Cowan, Nelson; Ricker, Timothy J.; Clark, Katherine M.; Hinrichs, Garrett A.; Glass, Bret A.
Developmental Science, v18 n1 p132-145 Jan 2015
According to some views of cognitive growth, the development of working memory capacity can account for increases in the complexity of cognition. It has been difficult to ascertain, though, that there actually is developmental growth in capacity that cannot be attributed to other developing factors. Here we assess the role of item familiarity. We document developmental increases in working memory for visual arrays of English letters versus unfamiliar characters. Although letter knowledge played a special role in development between the ages of 6 and 8 years, children with adequate letter knowledge showed practically the same developmental growth in normalized functions for letters and unfamiliar characters. The results contribute to a growing body of evidence that the developmental improvement in working memory does not wholly stem from supporting processes such as encoding, mnemonic strategies, and knowledge. A video abstract is available at:
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS); National Institute of Mental Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Grant or Contract Numbers: R01-HD21338|1F31MH094050