Children's use of semantic organizational strategies is mediated by working memory capacity

T.M.J. Schleepen*, L.M. Jonkman

*Corresponding author for this work

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In adults, the ability to apply semantic grouping strategies has been found to depend on working memory. To investigate this relation in children, two sort-recall tasks (one without and one with a grouping instruction) were administered to 6-12-year-olds. The role of working memory was examined by means of mediation analyses and by assessing whether children who successfully used the semantic grouping strategy had higher working memory capacity than did children who did not show such strategy use. Only children aged 8-12 were able to successfully use semantic grouping strategies (and 8-9-year-olds only after instruction), while strategy use was absent in 6-7-year-olds. Both types of analysis involving working memory suggested that, also in children, working memory (and not short-term memory) mediates the development of successful use of the semantic grouping strategy during both encoding and retrieval.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-269
JournalCognitive Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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