ERIC Number: EJ1167970
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
The Limits of Visual Working Memory in Children: Exploring Prioritization and Recency Effects with Sequential Presentation
Berry, Ed D. J.; Waterman, Amanda H.; Baddeley, Alan D.; Hitch, Graham J.; Allen, Richard J.
Developmental Psychology, v54 n2 p240-253 Feb 2018
Recent research has demonstrated that, when instructed to prioritize a serial position in visual working memory (WM), adults are able to boost performance for this selected item, at a cost to nonprioritized items (e.g., Hu, Hitch, Baddeley, Zhang, & Allen, 2014). While executive control appears to play an important role in this ability, the increased likelihood of recalling the most recently presented item (i.e., the recency effect) is relatively automatic, possibly driven by perceptual mechanisms. In 3 Experiments 7 to 10 year-old's ability to prioritize items in WM was investigated using a sequential visual task (total N = 208). The relationship between individual differences in WM and performance on the experimental task was also explored. Participants were unable to prioritize the first (Experiments 1 and 2) or final (Experiment 3) item in a 3-item sequence, while large recency effects for the final item were consistently observed across all experiments. The absence of a priority boost across 3 experiments indicates that children may not have the necessary executive resources to prioritize an item within a visual sequence, when directed to do so. In contrast, the consistent recency boosts for the final item indicate that children show automatic memory benefits for the most recently encountered stimulus. Finally, for the baseline condition in which children were instructed to remember all 3 items equally, additional WM measures predicted performance at the first and second but not the third serial position, further supporting the proposed automaticity of the recency effect in visual WM.
Descriptors: Short Term Memory, Visual Perception, Children, Individual Differences, Sequential Approach, Executive Function, Foreign Countries, Elementary School Students, Recall (Psychology), Statistical Analysis, Attention
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A