THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN'S MEMORY: SEEING; HEARING; DOING; SAYING
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This study examined whether material presented in the child's preferred mode of representation enhanced his recall of that material. Developmental psychologists, interested in children's memory capacity have begun to argue that traditional assessments of children's memory does not give a true picture of his memory capacity. Reviews of literature have indicated that when traditional measure of recall are used pre-school children have a considerably shorter memory span than adults. The majority of these studies have presented the information to be retained in a verbal-auditory mode and usually the child recalls information verbally. Thus, most inferences of children's memory processes have been based on data obtained from a child's ability to process verbal information. Since prior to age 5 the child's preferred mode of representation is visual and/or sensorimotor this study examined whether the Stimulus or Response mode material must match the child's representation level. The study tested the following hypotheses: (1) When the preferred mode was matched (stimulus and response) to developmental stage, no differences of number of items recalled would be found. (2) When stimulus and responses were not matched in the preferred mode, the older children would remember more than the younger children. (3) When the Stimulus material was presented in the preferred mode the recall score would be better than when Stimulus material was in the non-preferred mode. (4) When Response requirements were in the preferred mode the recall score would be better than when Response requirements were in the non-preferred mode.;A total of 96 children aged 3 1/2, 5 1/2, and 7 1/2 were studied on Simon Says type tasks. To test the hypotheses, each child was required to recall a series of 6 different items on four trials (24 items) under four (4) conditions in which the Stimulus and Response requirements were manipulated. The child's preferred mode was assessed in eight (8) pretest trials with free recall to counter-balanced verbal and motoric stimuli. The pretest indicated the 3 1/2 year olds preferred the motoric recall mode whereas the 7 1/2's preferred mixed modes of responding.;All four hypotheses were supported at the .001 level of significance. Thus the increase in recall efficiency of the youngest children suggest that developmental changes in memory activities have to do with the structure of the Stimulus and Response material that is to be recalled. When items mere modeled and the child could recall them by acting out the series of items, there were no differences between the youngest and the oldest children's performances. When verbal/auditory task demands entered the picture the youngest children failed to recall the items. Interestingly, there were no sex or ethnicity differences. The results are discussed in terms of the children's strategies in memory activities and the variables that impede or enhance their performances.
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