Towse, John N. and Cowan, Nelson and Horton, Neil and Whytock, Shealagh (2008) Task experience and children’s working memory performance : a perspective from recall timing. Developmental Psychology, 44 (3). pp. 695-706. ISSN 0012-1649
Working memory is an important theoretical construct among children, and measures of its capacity predict a range of cognitive skills and abilities. Data from 9- and 11-year-old children illustrate how a chronometric analysis of recall can complement and elaborate recall accuracy in advancing our understanding of working memory. A reading span task was completed by 130 children, 75 of whom were tested on two occasions, with sequence length either increasing or decreasing during test administration. Substantial pauses occur during participants’ recall sequences and they represent consistent performance traits over time, whilst also varying with recall circumstances and task history. Recall pauses help to predict reading and number skills, alongside as well as separate from levels of recall accuracy. The task demands of working memory change as a function of task experience, with a combination of accuracy and response timing in novel task situations being the strongest predictor of cognitive attainment.
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