NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1175122
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Tone Series and the Nature of Working Memory Capacity Development
Clark, Katherine M.; Hardman, Kyle O.; Schachtman, Todd R.; Saults, J. Scott; Glass, Bret A.; Cowan, Nelson
Developmental Psychology, v54 n4 p663-676 Apr 2018
Recent advances in understanding visual working memory, the limited information held in mind for use in ongoing processing, are extended here to examine auditory working memory development. Research with arrays of visual objects has shown how to distinguish the capacity, in terms of the "number" of objects retained, from the "precision" of the object representations. We adapt the technique to sequences of nonmusical tones, in an investigation including children (6-13 years, N = 84) and adults (26-50 years, N = 31). For each series of 1 to 4 tones, the participant responded by using an 80-choice scale to try to reproduce the tone at a queried serial position. Despite the much longer-lasting usefulness of sensory memory for tones compared with visual objects, the observed tone capacity was similar to previous findings for visual capacity. The results also constrain theories of childhood working memory development, indicating increases with age in both the capacity and the precision of the tone representations, similar to the visual studies, rather than age differences in time-based memory decay. The findings, including patterns of correlations between capacity, precision, and some auxiliary tasks and questionnaires, establish capacity and precision as dissociable processes and place important constraints on various hypotheses of working memory development.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; 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)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Missouri
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Raven Progressive Matrices
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01HD21338