Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Structure of working memory in children from 3 to 8 years old. - PsycNET

 Structure of working memory in children from 3 to 8 years old. - PsycNET 

Several models of working memory (WM) have been proposed in the literature. Most of the research on the architecture of WM is based on adults or older children, but less is known about younger children. In this study, we tested various models of WM on a sample of 739 Italian children, ranging in age from 3 to 8 years, primarily of European heritage and from medium to medium–high socioeconomic background. Participants were assessed with 12 WM tasks, systematically varying the modality and level of executive control required (based on the number of activities to be performed at once: retention alone, ignoring distractors, and dealing with dual tasks). We examined younger children (n = 501, Mage = 56.8 months, SD = 6.4, 48% boys) and older children (n = 238, Mage = 80.0 months, SD = 9.0, 58% boys) separately using multigroup confirmatory factor analyses. A Bayesian analytical approach was adopted. Our results suggested that a four-factor model distinguishing between verbal, visual, spatial–simultaneous, and spatial–sequential components of WM achieved the best fit. Overall, the WM structure was very similar in the two groups. We further explored this result with an additional model with a central executive factor loaded on high-control tasks only and found evidence for the presence of an executive control component. The contribution of this factor in terms of explained variance was only modest, however. Our findings demonstrate that it is important to distinguish between WM components in young children. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Kevin S. McGrew, PhD
Educational & School Psychologist
Institute for Applied Psychometrics (IAP)

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