A developmental transition in spatial working memory

Project: Research project

Description

The Dynamic Field Theory (DFT) is a neural network model of spatial workung memory (SWM) first proposed by Thelen et al. (2001) to explain the disappearance of the A-not-B error in infancy. The goal of the proposed research is to test a new version of the DFT (Spencer et al., 2002) that explains the processes underlying a qualitative change in SWM in childhood. Previous research has found that between three and six years of age, there is a qualitative change in how children use reference axes when remembering locations in space. This research will examine whether the change in reference axis effects can be explained with a quantitative change in the same parameters Thelen et al. used to explain the disappearance of the A-not-B error; thereby, connecting a transition in infancy with a transition later in development. Experiment 1 explores the timing of the transition in reference axis effects and the nature of the transition. Experiment 2 tests thr prediction of the DFT that increasing the salience of a reference axis will cause children who are close to the transition to use the reference axis in the same way as older children. Lastly, Experiment 3 uses microgenetic methods to examine the role of experience in this transition. When completed, this research will have moved the DFT closer to being a complete account of the development of spatial working memory. Moreover, this research will have taken an important step forward in the study of the mechanisms underlying developmental change.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/15/02 → …

Funding

  • National Institutes of Health: $22,788.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $22,945.00

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field theory
experiment
neural network
childhood
cause
experience

ASJC

  • Medicine(all)