A Longitudinal Study of Semantic Grouping Strategy Use in 6-11-Year-Old Children: Investigating Developmental Phases, the Role of Working Memory, and Strategy Transfer

Tamara M. J. Schleepen*, Lisa M. Jonkman

*Corresponding author for this work

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This two-cohort longitudinal study on the development of the semantic grouping strategy had three goals. First, the authors examined if 6-7-year-olds are nonstrategic before becoming strategic after prompting at 8-9years of age, and if 8-9-year-olds are prompted strategic before spontaneous strategy use at 10-11years of age. Children 6-7 and 8-9years old performed two sort-recall tasks (one without and one with a grouping prompt) at two time points separated 1.5years from each other. Second, the authors investigated whether short-term or working memory capacity at time point 1 predicted recall in children who did or did not use the semantic grouping strategy 1.5years later. Third, the authors investigated whether prompted strategic children and children who used the strategy spontaneously differed in strategy transfer to a new task. Developmental results confirmed previous cross-sectional results, but in a longitudinal two-cohort study 6-7-year-olds were nonstrategic, and became prompted strategic around 8-9 years of age, followed by spontaneous strategy use at age 10-11years. The authors found that memory capacity was not predictive of later use of the strategy. New findings were that prompted strategic children were as equally able as spontaneously strategic children to transfer the strategy to a new task, albeit with smaller recall benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-471
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2014


  • developmental phases
  • working memory
  • semantic grouping strategy
  • strategy transfer

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