Deficits in verbal long-term memory and learning in children with poor phonological short-term memory skills

Susan E. Gathercole, Josie Briscoe, Annabel Thorn, Claire Tiffany, ALSPAC Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Possible links between phonological short-term memory and both longer term memory and learning in 8-year-old children were investigated in this study. Performance on a range of tests of long-term memory and learning was compared for a group of 16 children with poor phonological short-term memory skills and a comparison group of children of the same age with matched nonverbal reasoning abilities but memory scores in the average range. The low-phonological-memory group were impaired on longer term memory and learning tasks that taxed memory for arbitrary verbal material such as names and nonwords. However, the two groups performed at comparable levels on tasks requiring the retention of visuo-spatial information and of meaningful material and at carrying out prospective memory tasks in which the children were asked to carry out actions at a future point in time. The results are consistent with the view that poor short-term memory function impairs the longer term retention and ease of learning of novel verbal material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-490
Number of pages17
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date6 Feb 2008
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

Structured keywords

  • Developmental

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