Semantic binding, not attentional control, generates coherent global structure in children's narrative memory

Anna K Kapikian, Josie Briscoe

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

4 Citations (Scopus)


Encoding and retrieving global narrative structure influences children's narrative recall. The influence of age and attentional/executive resources on binding processes during sentence list recall was examined in 5- to 6-and 8- to 9-year-old children. Older and younger children showed superior recall of lists, and achieved higher scores on two metrics of chunking; access to different sentences (i.e., number of chunks) and sentence completion (i.e., chunk size), when lists were presented within a coherent global structure. Children's list recall and sentence access, but not their sentence completion scores, were affected by a concurrent self-paced attention-demanding task. Children, unlike adults, engage in active storage of verbal information in thematically related sentence lists. The coherence-advantage effect was stable across age groups and insensitive to the secondary task. Overall, findings imply that semantic binding generates stronger memory representations and superior recall for sentences within a story context than for sentence sets that lack global narrative structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751-764
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2012

Structured keywords

  • Memory

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