Why does visual working memory performance increase with age in childhood? One recent study (Cowan ., 2010b) ruled out the possibility that the basic cause is a tendency in young children to clutter working memory with less-relevant items (within a concurrent array, colored items presented in one of two shapes). The age differences in memory performance, however, theoretically could result from inadequate encoding of the briefly presented array items by younger children. We replicated the key part of the procedure in children 6-8 and 11-13years old and college students (total N=90), but with a much slower, sequential presentation of the items to ensure adequate encoding. We also required verbal responses during encoding to encourage or discourage labeling of item information. Although verbal labeling affected performance, age differences persisted across labeling conditions, further supporting the existence of a basic growth in capacity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience