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Lifespan CognitionMechanisms of Change$
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Ellen Bialystok and Fergus I. M. Craik

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.001.0001

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Working Memory in Children: A Cognitive Approach

Working Memory in Children: A Cognitive Approach

Chapter:
(p.112) 8 Working Memory in Children: A Cognitive Approach
Source:
Lifespan Cognition
Author(s):

Graham J. Hitch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169539.003.0008

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

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