Children’s Memory Development: Remembering the Past and Preparing for the Future

Peter A. Ornstein, Catherine A. Haden and Holger B. Elischberger

in Lifespan Cognition

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169539
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847204 | DOI:
Children’s Memory Development: Remembering the Past and Preparing for the Future

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Two themes characterize the voluminous literature on children's memory: the surprising mnemonic competence of infants and young children and the presence of substantial age differences in almost all aspects of memory performance. This chapter begins with a discussion of children's abilities to remember and report salient events that they have experienced and then proceeds with an analysis of their use of deliberate strategies for encoding information for future memory assessments. The chapter is particularly interested in factors that govern developmental changes in the encoding, storage, retrieval, and reporting of information. In terms of young children's encoding, the chapter examines both child and maternal behaviors that regulate the understanding of ongoing activities and interaction with to-be-remembered materials, and hence those that can be expected to influence the establishment of coherent representations. The performance of children of different ages is comparable on priming and other implicit memory tasks in which memory for previously presented information affects ongoing information processing in an indirect manner without conscious awareness.

Keywords: children; memory; mnemonic competence; age differences; salient events; encoding; priming; implicit memory; information processing

Chapter.  12830 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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