Working Memory in Children: A Cognitive Approach

Graham J. Hitch

in Lifespan Cognition

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847204 | DOI:
Working Memory in Children: A Cognitive Approach

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This chapter discusses the development of working memory as children grow up. It argues that working memory is an important resource for acquiring and performing cognitive skills and that its limited capacity places key constraints on children's abilities. It then describes some of the tasks that have been used to explore working memory in adults. It makes a key distinction between simple span tasks, used to assess the capacity to hold different types of temporary information, and complex span tasks that assess the ability to hold and manipulate temporary information. The chapter outlines the developmental progression of performance in these tasks. It discusses the possible role of speed of information processing as a general factor accounting for developmental change in all aspects of working memory. It also explores whether the structure of working memory is the same in children and adults, and whether working memory serves similar cognitive functions in children. A final topic concerns the developmental relationship between working memory and knowledge acquisition.

Keywords: working memory; children; adults; cognitive skills; span tasks; information processing; cognitive functions; knowledge acquisition

Chapter.  11044 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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