Developmental differences in working memory: Where do they come from?

V Gaillard, P Barrouillet, C Jarrold, V Camos

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

57 Citations (Scopus)


Several models assume that working memory development depends on age-related increases in efficiency and speed of processing. However, age-related increases in the efficiency of the mechanisms that counteract forgetting and restore memory traces may also be important. This hypothesis was tested in three experiments by manipulating both the processing duration within a working memory task and the time available to restore memory traces. Third- and sixth-grade children performed a complex span task in which they maintained series of letters while adding numbers to series of digits. When we equated processing and restoration times between ages, the developmental difference in working memory span was reduced but remained significant. However, this residual difference was eliminated when the time available to reactivate memory traces was tailored to the processing speed of each age group. This indicates that children employ active mechanisms for maintenance and restoration of memory traces that develop with age.
Translated title of the contributionDevelopmental differences in working memory: Where do they come from?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469 - 479
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

Structured keywords

  • Memory


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