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12-07-2019 | Original Article

Age-related differentiation in verbal and visuospatial working memory processing in childhood

Auteurs: Frances Buttelmann, Tanja Könen, Lauren V. Hadley, Julie-Anne Meaney, Bonnie Auyeung, Candice C. Morey, Nicolas Chevalier, Julia Karbach

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 8/2020

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Abstract

Working memory (WM), a key feature of the cognitive system, allows for maintaining and processing information simultaneously and in a controlled manner. WM processing continuously develops across childhood, with significant increases both in verbal and visuospatial WM. Verbal and visuospatial WM may show different developmental trajectories, as verbal (but not visuospatial) WM relies on internal verbal rehearsal, which is less developed in younger children. We examined complex VWM and VSWM performance in 125 younger (age 4–6 years) and 101 older (age 8–10 years) children. Latent multi-group modeling showed that (1) older children performed better on both verbal and visuospatial WM span tasks than younger children, (2) both age groups performed better on verbal than visuospatial WM, and (3) a model with two factors representing verbal and visuospatial WM fit the data better than a one-factor model. Importantly, the correlation between the two factors was significantly higher in younger than in older children, suggesting an age-related differentiation of verbal and spatial WM processing in middle childhood. Age-related differentiation is an important characteristic of cognitive functioning and thus the findings contribute to our general understanding of WM processing.
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Voetnoten
1
Ethical approval was given by the research ethics committee of the University of Edinburgh, protocol number 111-1516/2.
 
2
One might criticize the fact that the two indicators for each WM domain were derived from the same task. Of course, two values derived from the same tasks should naturally correlate more strongly than different tasks. However, this has no influence on whether or not the four indicators (two VWM and two VSWM indicators) load on one common factor. Reliable tasks measuring the same underlying psychological construct have common variance over and above the task specific variance some indicators might share. Further, the question of one versus two factors is not central here. The distinction between two strongly correlating factors and one common factor is a cut off on a continuous scale. Rather the notable different correlations between VWM and VSWM for the younger and older children are theoretically important.
 
Literatuur
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Metagegevens
Titel
Age-related differentiation in verbal and visuospatial working memory processing in childhood
Auteurs
Frances Buttelmann
Tanja Könen
Lauren V. Hadley
Julie-Anne Meaney
Bonnie Auyeung
Candice C. Morey
Nicolas Chevalier
Julia Karbach
Publicatiedatum
12-07-2019
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 8/2020
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-019-01219-w

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