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Dev Sci. 2015 Jan;18(1):132-45. doi: 10.1111/desc.12197. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Knowledge cannot explain the developmental growth of working memory capacity.

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1
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, USA.

Abstract

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJdqErLR2Hs&feature=youtu.be.

PMID:
24942111
PMCID:
PMC4270959
DOI:
10.1111/desc.12197
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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