Working memory and Down syndrome

Elizabeth A Smith, Christopher R Jarrold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


A considerable body of research has explored working memory function in individuals with Down syndrome, given the fact that working memory is a strong predictor of numerous cognitive abilities over the course of development. Understanding working memory among individuals with Down syndrome is therefore key to providing a full picture of their overall cognitive profile. A pattern of poorer verbal working memory relative to less impaired visuospatial working memory has been well documented among individuals with Down syndrome, typically in the context of the Baddeley and Hitch (1974) working memory model. Here the review is extended to explore the nature of working memory capacity in terms of the maintenance of item versus order information in working memory. Deficits in both storage and control are explored, and explanations from different models of memory are considered. The relationship between long-term memory and working memory among persons with Down syndrome is subsequently outlined, and the role of working memory is considered in relation to learning among individuals Down syndrome.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Down Syndrome and Development
EditorsJacob Burack, Jamie Edgin, Leonard Abbeduto, Jorge Busciglio
PublisherOxford University Press, New York
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9780190645441
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jul 2020

Structured keywords

  • Cognitive Science
  • Memory


  • Down syndrome
  • working memory
  • verbal storage
  • visuospatial storage
  • executive control
  • cognitive profile
  • development
  • memory models


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