ece353 week 2 assignment ASAP

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timer Asked: Apr 20th, 2017

Question Description

n Chapters 3 and 4 of your primary text, Farrar and Montgomery discuss executive functioning and memory development (2015), and the factors that influence brain development. For this assignment, you will build upon that knowledge by further investigating how the brain learns. Remember that working memory, attention, and executive functions are interconnected and are crucial to the learning process. This includes the ability for a child to pay attention, demonstrate inhibitory control, and goal-directed behavior. Children may possess varying degrees of each of these functions, but they work together to create cognitive control and flexibility. For this assignment, you will assume the role of a professional development coordinator for your state’s early childhood programs and develop a flyer titled “How the Brain Learns” that informs families about the role of working memory, attention, and executive function in learning and development. You may develop your flyer using Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher. Before completing this assignment, review the Week Two Instructor Guidance for additional information, resources, and support. Additionally, review the Grading Rubric for this assignment to understand how you will be evaluated and contact your instructor using the “Ask Your Instructor” discussion before the due date with questions.

In your “How the Brain Learns” flyer, include separate sections that address each of the following:

  • Key Words (1 point): Define working memory, attention, and executive functions.
  • Relationship Among Executive Functions (1 point): Using examples, discuss the relationship among the three core executive functions (i.e., working memory, inhibitory control, and set-shifting).
  • Development of Executive Functions (2 points): Using examples, discuss how the three core executive functions develop from infancy through age 8.
  • Executive Functions and Role (2 points): Examine the role the three core executive functions play in learning and development. For each of the functions, provide a specific example to support your examination.
  • Neural Regions and Executive Functions (2 points): Explain at least two ways the prefrontal and ventral striatum neural regions are associated with executive functions in emotional situations.
  • Delayed Gratification (1 point): Using examples, discuss at least two different factors that influence young children’s willingness to delay gratification.
  • Environmental Influences (1point): Using examples, explain at least three environmental influences that impact executive functioning and memory.
  • Training of Executive Functions (1 point): Discuss at least two specific ways to help executive functions in children in the classroom.
  • Flyer Design (1 point): Incorporates at least three images or graphics that are related to the content of the flyer.
  • Flyer Length (.5 points): Your flyer must be at least 2 pages in length.
  • Title Page (.25 points): Inclusion of a separate title page with the following:
    • Title of presentation
    • Student’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted
  • Source Requirement (0.5 Points): Reference two scholarly sources in addition to the text. All sources included in the References list must be cited in the content of the flyer.
  • APA Formatting (0.25 Points): Use APA formatting consistently throughout the assignment, which includes citations in the body of the assignment, the title page, and references list.
  • Syntax and Mechanics (0.25 Points): Display meticulous comprehension and organization of syntax and mechanics, such as spelling and grammar.

Proofread work and only address the items listed in the instructions.

USE in-TEXT citations and use the reference:

Farrar, M. J. & Montgomery, D. (2015). Cognitive development of children: Research and application [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu

What is Special Education? Executive Functioning 1 3 iStockphoto/Thinkstock Pre-Test Poplasen/iStock/Thinkstock 1. 1. You can use the terms disability and handicap interchangeably. T/F Learning Objectives 2. 2. The history of special education began in Europe. T/F 3. the 3. end Theoffirst legislation protected students with disabilities was passed in the 1950s. By thisAmerican chapter, you should that be able to: T/F • Compare and contrast core executive-function processes. 4. 4. All students with disabilities should be educated in special education classrooms. T/F • Describe common measurements of core executive-function processes and evaluate how results of the mea5. 5. Special education law is constantly reinterpreted. T/F surements are interpreted. 6.• Analyze Answershow canattention be foundsupports at the end of the chapter. executive functioning. • Explain how prefrontal and ventral striatum neural regions are associated with executive functions in emotional contexts. • Articulate how different factors influence young children’s willingness to delay gratification. • Connect efforts to train executive functions in children to relevant theories and findings. Pretest Questions  Pretest Questions 1. Children play a game in which they say “day” whenever they see a picture of the moon and “night” whenever they see a picture of the sun. Children cannot succeed on this task until they begin formal schooling around age 6 or 7. T/F 2. The inattentiveness of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is solely a deficit in attention and is unrelated to other cognitive processes such as memory. T/F 3. By adolescence, the brain is still maturing, which may explain why adolescents engage in risk-taking more than younger children and adults. T/F 4. Young children find it easiest to delay gratification when they attend to a reward and are reminded why the reward is worth waiting for. T/F 5. There is evidence that practice can help improve children’s memory, but it is inconclusive whether the positive effects are long lasting. T/F Mr. Gupta, a preschool teacher, has been recently hired to lead a classroom of 3- and 4-year-old children. Nothing he learned in his education up to this point prepared him for setting up a classroom by himself. As he considers how to arrange the classroom in anticipation of the school year beginning, he recalls conflicting advice and material learned in classes. Gupta remembers from one of his early childhood education courses that the quality of the surrounding environment can impact learning. One experienced teacher told him that children love a brightly colored room with lots of decorations, posters, and charts on the walls. Classrooms should feel safe and inviting, since this can also impact learning. Another told him to make sure the room was free of clutter and decoration. Gupta realizes both recommendations probably cannot be met—a classroom that has a lot of wall decorations and other materials will also tend to be cluttered. He also wonders if he interpreted this correctly. Ideally, he would like to have a bright but organized room. Gupta also wonders if he should allow children to sit where they prefer. Should he assign seating during activities that require concentration and attention? He has learned that children should be encouraged to have freedom and self-control—does this freedom include choosing seating arrangements? He is also trying to decide how to reward good behaviors like paying attention to the teacher. He is considering placing an attractive reward—such as stickers or a small treat—in the front of the room each day to remind children that they will be rewarded for good behavior. While the visibility of the reward could serve as a reminder to children, it might also pose a distraction. He is unsure which alternative is better. Questions to Think About 1. How does the classroom environment impact learning? What factors must a teacher consider to optimize learning? 2. Are 3- and 4-year-olds capable of making good seating-arrangement decisions? How much control should children have in the classroom? What are some of the pros and cons of too much or too little control for this age group? Introduction 3. Rewards need to be used cautiously and appropriately. What reward system is best for increasing positive behaviors? What part of the brain responds to rewards? 4. What strategies can be used to keep a room clean and organized yet also appropriate for the students’ age? Introduction In 1972 researchers in New Zealand initiated a long-term study assessing more than 1,000 individuals during infancy and at various points thereafter (Moffitt et al., 2011). Central to the investigation was identifying whether cognitive differences in childhood predicted health and criminal outcomes in adulthood. The general idea was to see if early predictors can help prevent later difficulties. By the time participants were 32 years old, some had been convicted of crimes. Others had developed cardiovascular problems, substance dependencies, and/or other health-related concerns. The researchers found that self-control was an important childhood predictor of these poor outcomes. Measurements of self-control included ratings by parents and teachers of children’s impulsive and inattentive behaviors. The predictive role of self-control was evident even after accounting for differences in the children’s socioeconomic status and intelligence (Moffitt et al., 2011). Specifically, 11-year-olds who had difficulty paying attention, persisting when challenged, and refraining from acting impulsively were at risk for the variety of negative outcomes listed above. Why? One reason is that poor self-control in childhood was associated with harmful lifestyle choices in adolescence (a developmental period defined by this book as roughly ages 13 to 18). Adolescents who smoke, drop out of school, and in general make poor choices place themselves at risk for later problems in adulthood. These important findings raise many questions relevant to this chapter. What exactly is selfcontrol? Is it composed of a single cognitive factor, or is it the product of many interacting cognitive factors? Can children’s self-control improve through cognitive training and parental efforts? Although the New Zealand study informs us about the effects of poor self-control, it does not tell us anything about the underlying processes that cause self-control to develop in the first place. This chapter will examine contemporary theories and research providing insight into these questions. Core Themes and Executive Functioning The study of executive functions draws from IP theory. Remember from Chapter 1 that IP theory views the mind as computer-like in that information enters the system, is processed, and then is stored. This model of the mind is closely tied to the operation of executive functions. Executive functions first impact incoming information by influencing what enters the cognitive system and what is ignored. Executive functions then coordinate and regulate information once it enters the system. In IP theory, cognitive processes have a domain-general influence, and their development is continuous rather than stage-like. Notice how the research findings described at the beginning of this chapter illustrate both of these themes of our text. The impact of self-control was Executive Functions: Introduction Section 3.1 far-reaching (evidence of a domain-general impact). Moreover, the qualities that define selfcontrol (persistence and attention) are the same (continuous) from childhood onward. In addition, individual differences in self-control exhibited a degree of stability over time (Moffitt et al., 2011), demonstrating idiographic continuity. The two other themes also recur in this chapter. First, the nature–nurture theme is evident in the influence of both neurological development and the environment on executive functions. Second, IP theory approaches the study of cognition through careful analysis of a task’s demands. How a child performs on the task indicates the developmental strength of the cognitive process needed to successfully meet the task’s demands. We will carefully describe some common executive-function assessments in this chapter. The performance–competence theme is evident as we point out how particular performance demands of a task relate to specific executive-functioning processes. 3.1 Executive Functions: Introduction Self-control in the New Zealand study was defined by behaviors like persistence, attention, and impulse control. Psychologists group these and other related processes under the term executive functions (EFs). EFs are a set of cognitive processes that regulate thought and behavior in the service of attaining a goal (Diamond, 2013). EFs operate like a traffic cop at a busy intersection, flexibly directing the flow of information, often simultaneously blocking one stream of information while permitting another stream to advance. EF development is associated with the maturation of the prefrontal cortex, the anterior (front) portion of the frontal lobe of the brain (see Figure 3.1). Figure 3.1: The human brain and the executive functions The prefrontal cortex is located in the frontal lobe of the brain and is related to executive function development. The ventral striatum in the limbic region is associated with processing information related to rewards. Executive Functions: Introduction Section 3.1 Executive functions are crucial for successfully handling everyday situations in which distractions, mind wandering, and temptations have to be resisted. They provide a foundation for academic success. For example, a beginning reader commonly errs by skipping a word or line of text. The ability to pay close attention and concentrate on the text rather than on noises and other distractions enables the child to minimize these types of errors. Executive functions are generally characterized as a related set of processes. In the next section, we describe the nature of these processes and their interrelatedness. Before we begin, some key findings of EF development that are often supported in the research literature are presented in the following list. 1. Components of executive functions are moderately interrelated. They appear to share an underlying structure, but the components are also distinct from one another. EF components are both unified and diverse. 2. The development of executive functions has broad, domain-general implications. EFs are associated with a variety of academic and behavioral outcomes. 3. Individual differences in executive functions exhibit a degree of stability during development. Thus, children who lag in EF development tend to remain behind in subsequent years. However, EFs may also be sensitive to environmental influences and consequently subject to improvement with intervention. 4. Maturation in regions of the prefrontal cortex is closely associated with the development of executive functions. 5. Executive functions often undergo rapid development in early childhood (roughly ages 3 to 7). Development during later periods continues but generally at a more gradual pace (Best & Miller, 2010; Diamond, 2013; Miyake & Friedman, 2012). Core Executive-Function Processes For many children, homework is a weeknight ritual. Some nights the complexity and quantity of certain assignments pose significant challenges. The executive functions are crucial for meeting homework demands, since they regulate and coordinate the child’s cognitive efforts. Without the executive functions, students would be unable to concentrate and would simply respond to whatever distracting sounds or stimuli were present in the environment at any given moment. For any homework children complete, they have likely had to filter out some competing demands, whether incoming text messages, a television show in the next room, or nearby conversations between family members. It takes a number of cognitive processes working in a coordinated fashion to ignore distractions and produce self-regulated, goal-directed thought. What precisely are the cognitive components that underlie our ability to concentrate and think deeply and attentively? Most researchers regard working memory, inhibitory control, and set shifting as three core processes of executive functioning (Diamond, 2013). Many also regard attention as a key construct that underlies and unifies these three components. We introduce these processes in this section and describe their measurement and development in Section 3.2. Working memory is the process of holding task-related information in mind while performing a task. If you change your computer password and look for a notepad to write it down, you are using working memory to keep in mind the password while you find a pad. Executive Functions: Introduction Section 3.1 Inhibitory control involves suppressing information, thoughts, and/or actions that interfere with a goal. When children play Simon Says, they get used to obeying the leader’s commands. Inhibitory control is necessary when the leader omits “Simon says” while commanding children to “jump up and down.” Note how working memory and inhibitory control are related in the Simon Says game. Children must actively maintain the game’s rules in working memory (for example, “Act only if I hear ‘Simon says’”) in order to successfully inhibit a response. Set shifting involves flexibly switching attention from one task-related dimension or rule to another. Switching attention is accompanied by making a new response. The A-not-B error described in Chapter 2 is a type of set-shifting problem. The infant’s attention is first directed toward location A because that is where the toy is repeatedly hidden. When the toy is relocated, the infant must exhibit flexibility and switch attention to the new location. The change in attention guides the accurate response of searching in the new location (B). Note again the apparent interrelatedness of the EF processes. As we indicated in Chapter 2, the A-not-B error also involves memory (remembering the most recent hiding place) and inhibition (suppressing the practiced motor action of reaching for location A). Attention supports these three core EF processes. Attention is, broadly speaking, a system that maintains alertness, directs our sensory system in response to stimuli, and regulates thoughts and feelings (Posner, 2012). To get a clearer picture of attention, we turn to the apt description written by William James (1890), a founding figure in the scientific study of psychology: It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state which in French is called distraction. (pp. 403–404) James’s vivid description highlights two features of attention that support executive functioning. One is the ability to focus on a task by filtering out distracting information. This capacity is termed executive attention (Petersen & Posner, 2012). Executive attention is an attentional system that handles and regulates conflicting information so that some information is processed while other information is suppressed or ignored. When a child is listening to a teacher and also hears laughter in the school hallway, the two conflicting sources of information—the teacher’s instruction and the peers’ laughter—have to be handled so that one is suppressed and the other is the object of focus. When conflict occurs, executive attention is the system responsible for regulating and controlling the child’s cognitive focus (toward the teacher in this particular instance). Section 3.1 Executive Functions: Introduction A second feature of attention involves concentration and sustaining an effortful task-related focus. Maintaining a concentrated focus over time draws on the process of sustained attention (Betts, Mckay, Maruff, & Anderson, 2006; see also Petersen & Posner, 2012). Sustained attention is the ability to achieve a state of readiness and maintain that state of arousal; it is like the engine that fuels the child’s efforts. Executive attention is like the engine driver steering those efforts toward the task requirements and away from distraction. Real-World Application: Executive Function and School Readiness The executive functions are linked to academic achievement (Best, Miller, & Naglieri, 2011). Take a moment and imagine the ideal student. What distinguishes him or her from the struggling student? Consider the role played by executive attention, working memory, sustained attention, inhibitory control, and set shifting. Then follow the web link below to read practical examples of how executive functions relate to school readiness in young children. http://www.naccrra.org/sites/default/files/default_site_pages/2012/executive_ function_11-27-12.pdf Critical-Thinking Question How do the instructional demands on executive functions increase from preschool to grade school? The Structure of Executive Functions The previous section identified core EF processes. In this section, we address how the processes are interrelated. This has been the focus of a great deal of research, because if the executive functions are related to one another, then deficiencies in one executive function can impact the other executive functions. For instance, efforts to help the child resist the impulse to talk out of turn might also need to account for how working memory and attention support inhibition. If Question to Consider a child is attentive to an instruction held in memory (“Take turns playing the game!”), he or she may be more Imagine an everyday preschool activity likely to hold an impulsive action in check. for a 4-year-old, such as playing simple When a variety of EF measurements are administered to individuals, statistical analyses generally reveal that core processes (working memory, set shifting, and inhibition) are moderately correlated to one another (Miyake & Friedman, 2012). These interrelations appear to emerge from a common underlying factor. Because the strength of the interrelations is only moderate, each process is also relatively distinct from the others, as shown in Figure 3.2. In essence, the executive functions are like a family in that the individual members are related and form a unit; however, each member of the family is also unique. counting games with a teacher and peers. As you imagine creating an informal counting game, how does each component of the executive function help the child successfully engage in the activity? For instance, which EF component would be especially relevant in helping the child sort numerals into even and odd piles and then sort them again by magnitude (for example, into categories above and below the number 5)? Section 3.2 Development of the Executive Functions Figure 3.2: A hypothetical model of the executive functions The three core EF processes of working memory, inhibitory control, and set shifting are believed to be interrelated and supported by attentional processes. Working memory Attention Inhibitory control Set shifting Source: Adapted from Garon, Bryson, & Smith, 2008; Miyake et al., 2000; Pellicano, 2012. 3.2 Development of the Executive Functions In this section, we look at the measurement and development of the processes described in the previous section. We carefully focus on task measurements in this section because the tasks illustrate precisely how we define EF processes. A brief overview of common childhood measurements of the three core EF processes is found in Table 3.1. Given the influence of the executive functions in so many aspects of our lives, creating accurate measurements of them is a fundamental goal. Accurate measurements inform our understanding of the development of executive functions, our ability to identify individual differences, and our ability to track whether interventions lead to improvement. Table 3.1: Representative tasks measuring three EF core processes in children EF core process Inhibitory control Working memory Set shifting Typical task requirement • Day–night: Say “day” when viewing a card illustrating night, and say “night” when viewing a card illustrating day, over a series of trials. • Stroop: Name the ink color (for example, “red”) when it conflicts with the word (for example, blue) over a series of trials. • Backward digit span: Repeat a series of digits (for example, 1, 4, 2, 8) in the opposite order the digits are presented. • Corsi blocks (backward): Point to a series of blocks in the reverse of the order in which an experimenter points to them. • Dimensional change card sort task: Cards vary in color and shape. In the preswitch condition, children sort cards by one dimension (for instance, blue cards go here, red go there). In the post-switch condition, the same cards are sorted by a different dimension (for example, shape). • Advanced dimensional change card sort task: Cards differ by three dimensions (color, shape, and presence of a border). If there is a border, cards are sorted by color. If there is no border, cards are sorted by shape. Sources: Alloway, Gathercole, & Pickering, 2006; Gerstadt, Hong, & Diamond, 1994; MacLeod, 1991; Pickering, 2001; Zelazo, 2006. Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 Working Memory We are often faced with the need to keep information in mind while carrying out a task. For instance, children are frequently asked in school to remember a set of instructions while completing a worksheet filled with problems. Working memory is the domain-general capacity for coordinating, monitoring, and manipulating information held in short-term storage (Alloway et al., 2006; Baddeley, 2012). By short-term storage we mean a limited amount of information is held in mind for a limited amount of time. Strategies like verbal repetition can extend the amount of information held in short-term storage and the length of time it is stored. (Effective memory strategies are discussed more fully in Chapter 4.) The central executive is the capacity in working memory for strategically attending to and organizing information in short-term storage (Baddeley, 2012). One common measurement of the central executive involves asking children to recall a series of numbers in reverse order (see Table 3.1). The central executive is involved as the child attends to each number in the series, reorders the numbers, and employs strategies to help recall. The central executive acts, in essence, like a command center. The phonological loop is the component of working memory that temporarily stores verbal information such as driving directions or phone numbers. The visuospatial sketch pad is a second component of working memory that temporarily stores visual and spatial information like the colors and arrangement of different eyeglasses in a recently viewed display case. These short-term stores are subsystems in working memory that essentially hold whatever information the central executive allocates to them. Working memory often plays a central role in academic-related tasks (Gathercole, 2008). Consider, for instance, the importance of working memory for mentally multiplying two-digit numbers. A child mentally multiplying 18 × 12 has to carry out the arithmetic operations (for example, 2 × 8 as a first step) while also holding in working memory (a) the products of each multiplication and (b) task-related rules such as carrying a number to the tens place if a product is greater than 10. Complex directions also challenge working memory. If instructed to complete an in-class assignment by, say, “circling verbs with a blue marker and nouns with a red one for even-numbered problems,” the challenge of holding these rules in mind while performing the task could overwhelm children with low working-memory capacity. Spotlight on Research: A Working-Memory Task http://gocognitive.net/demo/working-memory-capacity After clicking on the above link, launch the demo and select “simple math” for an example of a working-memory task. The central executive is tested because attention must be strategically allocated to two tasks, addition and memorization, that are occurring at the same time. How did you do on the task? What are some ways to accommodate children who may have difficulty in tasks that involve working memory? Links between working memory and academic achievement are well established in the research literature. For instance, grade school children with high working-memory capacity Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 employ more sophisticated strategies when solving math problems than peers with lower capacity (Geary, Hoard, & Nugent, 2012). Working-memory differences among beginning readers predict reading comprehension (Nevo & Breznitz, 2011). More generally, individual differences in 5-year-olds’ working-memory capacity better predicted academic achievement than IQ scores when children were retested 6 years later (Alloway & Alloway, 2010). Developmentally, performance on tasks that measure working memory in children (see Table 3.1) is positively related to age. One study found steady improvement between ages 4 and 11 in the number of items recalled on a series of working-memory tasks (Alloway et al., 2006). In another study, the magnitude of age-related improvements was greater for 3- to 6-year-olds than for 8- to 15-year-olds, since improvement began to level off in early adolescence (Tulsky et al., 2013). Working-memory capacity plateaus by early adulthood (McAuley & White, 2011). Prefrontal and parietal (behind the prefrontal) cortical regions of the brain are associated with working-memory performance and are increasingly recruited as development occurs from childhood into adolescence (Bunge & Wright, 2007). Children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) tend to perform more poorly on working-memory tasks than their typically developing peers (Martinussen, Hayden, Hogg-Johnson, & Tannock, 2005). ADHD is a developmental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Approximately 5% of school-aged children are diagnosed with ADHD (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Deficits in the central executive component of working memory mean that children with ADHD are less likely to maintain a task-related focus than peers (Kofler, Rapport, Bolden, Sarver, & Raiker, 2010). For instance, classroom behavior that is off task among children with ADHD—such as fidgeting or looking toward the window—can result from difficulties holding in mind rules or instructions (Gathercole & Alloway, 2006; Kofler et al., 2010). If a child struggles to remember instructions to solve a problem, he or she might simply turn attention elsewhere out of frustration or boredom. Some helpful strategies for teachers to reduce working-memory demands include breaking assignments into small sections and simplifying instructions (Martinussen, Tannock, & Chaban, 2011). We discuss ADHD, additional strategies for overcoming working-memory limitations, and the results of efforts to improve working-memory performance in children later in this chapter. Inhibitory Control Young children’s transition to kindergarten and formal schooling can be difficult. Although there are many challenges children face, such as working independently and getting along with others, teachers identify “following directions” as the biggest obstacle to school readiness (Rimm-Kaufman, Pianta, & Cox, 2000). Inhibitory control is fundamental to overcoming this obstacle. For instance, when children are directed to stop working on their art project and put their paper in a folder, they have to stop (inhibit) what they are doing and activate a new set of responses that comply with the instruction (Rimm-Kaufman, Curby, Grimm, Nathanson, & Brock, 2009). Inhibitory control is a broad concept. For instance, inhibition is an important component of attention when distracting information needs to be suppressed. Inhibition is also important Section 3.2 Development of the Executive Functions for stopping a counterproductive behavior prompted by emotions and arousal. A child may be tempted to run in the hallway unless inhibitory processes delay or halt the impulsive action. Inhibition is also an important component of test taking. Academic test questions often have a superficially obvious but incorrect solution that conflicts with a nonobvious, correct solution. Inhibitory control is needed to block the more visible and obvious option. We will discuss inhibitory processes as they relate to attention when we discuss executive attention later in this section. The inhibition of emotional, counterproductive responses is discussed in Section 3.3 on delay of gratification. At present, we focus on the inhibition of an action during cognitive tasks that possess conflicting solutions. These tasks typically have minimal emotional content and require the child to suppress, or stop, a dominant but inaccurate response in favor of a response that is less dominant but accurate. Many inhibitory-control assessments are derived from the classic Stroop task used in numerous psychological studies over the years (MacLeod, 1991). In the Stroop task, individuals view a series of color words printed in different ink colors (see Figure 3.3). The requirement to suppress the dominant response (reading the word) while activating the less dominant response (naming the ink color) is the essence of the inhibitory challenge. Figure 3.3: Stroop task Reading the words in the following figure is easy, and you can probably quickly and effortlessly read each word. However, if you ignore the words and instead name the ink color of each term, you will find the task is more effortful, takes longer to complete, and may result in occasional errors. Similarly, when instructed to name the ink color of each printed color name, children must inhibit the habitual response of reading the word. The conflict between a habitual response and an instructed, less familiar response taxes inhibitory control. BLUE GREEN YELLOW PINK RED ORANGE GREY BLACK PURPLE TAN WHITE BROWN Accuracy in Stroop task performance when color and word are in conflict increases from childhood to adolescence and is related to maturation of the prefrontal cortex (Adleman et al., 2002). However, the Stroop task is not useful for young children who are not old enough to read the colored words. Consequently, the task must be adapted by using pictures. Beginning around age 3, the day–night Stroop task (Gerstadt et al., 1994) is administered to assess inhibitory control in prereaders (see Table 3.1). Children are instructed to say “night” when they see the sun card and “day” when they see the moon card. Children show steady Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 improvement on the task between ages 3½ and 7 (Montgomery & Koeltzow, 2010). Children’s errors—saying “day” when they see the sun card or “night” when they see the moon card— usually do not occur because they forget the rules of the task (Montgomery & Koeltzow, 2010). Instead, an important source of difficulty is their tendency to respond too fast. Four- and 5-year-olds show significant improvement on the day–night task when experimenters slow children down between trials (Diamond, Kirkham, & Amso, 2002; Montgomery & Fosco, 2012). Thus, children’s competence is linked to whether the performance requirements of the task are altered to take speed into account. The benefits of slowing down give us a clue to the possible underlying processes of inhibitory control. Theoretically, the correct and incorrect responses are, in effect, racing to be activated on each trial of the day–night task (Simpson et al., 2012). Saying “day” to the sun picture is habitual and consequently faster than the correct response (saying “night” for the sun picture). The habitual, but incorrect, answer tends to arrive first to the “finish line” and is more readily activated (uttered) by the child than the correct answer. Slowing children down during the day–night task may permit a sufficient amount of time to activate the less dominant but accurate response. Interestingly, some 3-year-olds show a beginning ability to slow themselves down following an error on an inhibition task (Jones, Rothbart, & Posner, 2003). As might be expected, slowing down following an error tended to relate to their overall accuracy on the inhibition task. From a practical standpoint, young children may have difficulty pacing themselves when working on projects or taking tests and assessments. If young children are particularly prone to rush through items and tasks, deliberate efforts to help them slow their pace could be especially effective in reducing inhibitory errors. Set Shifting As we noted earlier, the A-not-B error occurs when infants find an object in location A and then keep searching at that location in subsequent trials even after seeing the object placed in a different location. This error is an early instance of perseveration, which is repeating a behavior even after experiencing changes in the environment that make the behavior inaccurate. Measurements of set shifting in children often retain the central elements of the A-not-B task: (a) Children follow a task rule that leads to success; (b) they are told the task rule has changed; and (c) an opportunity is presented to either continue behaving in the outdated manner or instead switch to a new, correct behavior. The cognitive flexibility inherent in set shifting is tied to educational achievement. For instance, cognitive flexibility is linked to reading skills among beginners and grade school children (Cartwright, 2012). Words have two properties for readers—the sounds associated with the letters in the words and the meaning of the word when it is read. A poor reader tends to be inattentive to meaning while reading, inflexibly focusing on the letters and associated sounds (Cartwright, 2012). Practice that encourages children to sort words by sound and then by meaning can improve reading comprehension (Cartwright, 2010, 2012). Such findings indicate that flexible thinking can be learned with practice. Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 The most commonly administered measurement of set shifting in young children is the dimensional change card sort (DCCS) task (Zelazo, 2006). Children are instructed to sort a set of cards by one of two dimensions found on each card. As Figure 3.4 illustrates, these card dimensions are typically shape (for example, a car or a dog) and color (for example, red or blue). Figure 3.4: The dimensional change card sort task By age 5 children generally succeed in the post-switch phase of this task. However, younger children often continue sorting by shape even after they are instructed to switch to color. Source: Adapted from Zelazo, P. D. (2006). The dimensional change card sort (DCCS): A method of assessing executive function in children. Nature Protocols, 1(1), 297–301. Three-year-olds can accurately sort by the first dimension. However, until around age 5 children typically experience difficulty on the post-switch trials (Zelazo, 2006). This means they continue sorting by the first dimension after being instructed to switch and sort by the second dimension. Maturation of the prefrontal cortex may support set shifting in early childhood (Moriguchi & Hiraki, 2011). There are various theories explaining children’s difficulties on the DCCS task (Espinet, Anderson, & Zelazo, 2013; Kirkham, Cruess, & Diamond, 2003; Zelazo, 2006). One theory suggests the problem is attentional inertia, meaning that children’s focus is stuck on the irrelevant, Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 outdated dimension of the card in the post-switch condition (Kirkham et al., 2003). For instance, if young children are instructed to sort by shape, they have difficulty breaking free from attending to the shape of the card when they are supposed to sort by color. Helping children attend to the new sorting dimension in the post-switch condition can lead to improved set-shifting performance (Kloo, Perner, Aichhorn, & Schmidhuber, 2010). For instance, 3-year-olds’ accuracy in the post-switch condition improved when they were prompted to verbally label the relevant dimension before sorting (Kirkham et al., 2003). That is, if the new dimension was color, the experimenter asked, “What’s this one (card)?” rather than simply telling the child, “Here’s a blue one.” Apparently, children’s language (“It’s a blue one!”) served as a useful tool for guiding their attention toward the newly relevant dimension on the card (although see Müller, Zelazo, Lurye, & Liebermann, 2008). Notice that using language as a tool to promote cognitive development is consistent with the social constructivist theories discussed in Chapter 1. Interpreting EF Task Performance You may have noticed that many of the tasks we described in this section tap more than one EF process. Task impurity occurs when performance on an EF task is influenced by the core process being measured and other EF processes. For instance, the DCCS task that measures set shifting also requires a degree of inhibition. The child must suppress the pre-switch manner of responding and activate a new, less practiced way of responding. Although primarily measuring working memory, the backward digit span task—in which children are asked to repeat a series of nonsequential digits in reverse order—also requires a degree of set shifting. The child has to overcome the familiar way of ordering the digits and instead follow the novel rule of repeating the digits in reverse order. Task impurity reminds us that the executive functions are interrelated. Consequently, it is very difficult to test one executive function in isolation from the others. From a practical perspective, task impurity means that if a child exhibits a deficit on an EF task, we cannot immediately conclude that the deficit is restricted to a single EF process. For instance, poor performance on working-memory tasks could reflect, to some extent, problems with set shifting in addition to working memory. The interrelatedness of the executive functions also means that deficits in one process could lead to deficits that are symptomatic of other processes. As we mentioned earlier, deficits in working memory could lead to symptoms of poor attention (Gathercole, Lamont, & Alloway, 2006). Mind wandering during an activity may be the consequence of forgetting the information needed to complete the task (Gathercole, 2008). In such instances children may give up on the task at hand and turn their attention elsewhere. In this example, we can see how outward symptoms (poor attention) could be caused by deficits in a related, but distinct, process (working memory). We should be cautious in immediately assuming that poor performance on an EF task is directly tied to an isolated deficiency in a single EF process. Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 Attention Attention skills in early childhood predict later school achievement (Duncan et al., 2007). Indeed, parental ratings of preschoolers’ ability to persist and maintain focus predicted later math and reading skills at age 21 (McClelland, Acock, Piccinin, Rhea, & Stallings, 2013). Moreover, those same ratings of attention were predictive of the likelihood the children would eventually complete college (McClelland et al., 2013). These findings are evidence of idiographic continuity in development. This means individual differences in attentiveness can persist over time. The importance of attention is underscored by its hypothesized role in supporting the core EF processes (Espy & Bull, 2005; Garon, Bryson, & Smith, 2008). In this section, we discuss the development of two central components of attention: executive attention and sustained attention. Executive Attention Imagine a young child is given the following arithmetic word problem: Billy has two apples. He traded one of his apples to a friend for two bananas. All together, how much fruit does Billy have after the trade? While solving the problem, the child has to block out external distractions like the ticking clock in the classroom, the birds singing outside, and noises from other children. Internally, the child cannot become distracted by thoughts of how yummy apples taste or by irrelevant questions like “Why would Billy’s friend trade two bananas for one apple?” Finally, the child must specifically attend to key words in the problem, like all together, while devoting less attention to relatively insignificant words in the problem. These various processes constitute executive attention. Executive attention is a cognitive function that (a) inhibits information that is distracting and/or in conflict with a task goal while (b) monitoring the relationship between a response and a task goal (Rueda, Posner, & Rothbart, 2005). When a child detects an error or filters out irrelevant information, executive attention is at work. It is a broad concept that extends to focusing attention inwardly (such as on-task rules) and/or outwardly (such as blocking out distracting information or noticing when a response is erroneous). As we noted in the inhibitory-control section, children as young as 3 can detect errors and slow down accordingly (Jones et al., 2003). Monitoring performance in this fashion is a form of executive attention. A more common measurement of executive attention in children asks them to selectively focus on a target item surrounded by distracting information. In flanker tasks children have to inhibit interfering information while maintaining focused attention on a target (see Figure 3.5). Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 Figure 3.5: The flanker test of executive attention Across a series of trials, children are instructed to push a button displaying an arrow pointing in the same direction as the middle fish, called the target fish. Executive attention is assessed in the incongruent condition, since children must inhibit the distraction of the surrounding fish. Source: Rueda, M. R., Fan, J., McCandliss, B. D., Halparin, J. D., Gruber, D. B., Lercari, L. P., et al. (2004). Development of attentional networks in childhood. Neuropsychologia, 42(8), 1029–1040. Reprinted with permission from Elsevier. Spotlight on Research: Eriksen Flanker Test http://cognitivefun.net/test/6 Try a flanker test yourself! Use your keypad to indicate the direction of the arrow in the middle of the screen. Notice how the distracting information requires regulation and focus on the target. How well do you think a child under age 6 would perform on this task? Use the information in this section to support your response. Children significantly improve on the flanker task between ages 4 and 6 (Rueda et al., 2005). By age 7 children reach a relatively high level of accuracy, and thereafter age-related improvement into adolescence is more gradual (Zelazo et al., 2013). Given children’s struggle to ignore distracting information, we have information to answer the questions posed in our case study found at the beginning of the chapter. Children who struggle to filter out distracting information can benefit from strategic seating arrangements in the classroom (Carbone, 2001). Children prone to inattention would benefit from sitting where classroom noise is minimized. Possibilities include sitting next to peers who are relatively quiet and sitting away from windows or doors where outside noise is more likely to be detected. Sitting near the front of the class could minimize visual distractions associated with viewing other children. As we see below, the child struggling with attention should also be seated where other visual distractions, such as bulletin boards, are not visible. Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 In the News: Colorful Classrooms Take a moment and picture the walls of a typical kindergarten classroom. In your image are they decorated with drawings, charts, pictures of planets, the alphabet, posters, and so forth? Most of us consider these materials an essential part of kindergarten, believing that they make the school environment engaging for children and thus help them learn. Because of this, media attention was drawn to a recent study investigating if these colorful, attractive displays might actually distract young children’s attention away from the teacher. In a study with kindergarten children, three school lessons occurred in a setting with limited displays on the wall. In another condition, three lessons occurred in a setting featuring walls decorated with a variety of items. Children exhibited less on-task behavior in the decorated classroom than in the other condition. In particular, children were more likely to be distracted by the visual environment in the decorated classroom instead of attending to the teacher and the learning materials. Children also exhibited less learning in the decorated classroom than children in the other condition (Fisher, Godwin, & Seltman, 2014). To learn more about this study and the commentary about it, visit: http://well.blogs. nytimes.com/2014/06/09/rethinking-the-colorful-kindergarten-classroom/?_php=true&_ type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1 Critical-Thinking Questions 1. After reading the article, do you believe the effect of a decorated colorful classroom would also negatively impact older children? Why or why not? 2. Can you think of a way to decorate a classroom that might not adversely impact kindergarteners’ focus? Note that the construct of executive attention is broad enough to overlap with the three EF components described in the previous section (Garon et al., 2008; McCabe et al., 2010). In some theories of Stroop task performance (Banich, 2009), executive attention is what directs the child’s focus toward the ink color rather than the word’s meaning. In the DCCS task, attention to the relevant post-switch dimension on the card and the change in instructions are both important for successful set shifting. In working-memory tasks, children must attend to and actively maintain the information while avoiding distractions. Given the centrality of executive attention, researchers have asked whether the process can be positively impacted through experience. For instance, one study found that giving young children 5 days to practice performing attention-related tasks—such as visually tracking items and ignoring distractions—improved performance on the flanker task described earlier (Rueda et al., 2005). Subsequent work suggested attention training resulted in increases in children’s scores on a measure of intelligence (Rueda, Checa, & Cómbita 2012). When training was completed, the effect was still discernible after 2 months. Speaking a second language can also promote executive attention development. As early as the preschool years, 4-year-old bilingual children performed better than same-aged monolingual children on executive attention tasks (Yang, Yang, & Lust, 2011). As we will discuss in Chapter 9, such findings contradict any suggestions that exposing children to two languages will confuse them and interfere with learning. Development of the Executive Functions Section 3.2 One possibility for the bilingual advantage is that bilingual people have experience blocking interference from the language they are not using when conversing in another language (Bialystok & Craik, 2010). This experience at suppressing interfering or potentially distracting information might then generalize to executive attention tasks. In addition, bilingual speakers are familiar with monitoring their language use in situations where they switch back and forth between different languages. While at home, a child may use one language when speaking to a parent and then talk to a friend in a different language. Routinely switching attention in this manner might also facilitate executive attention (Costa, Hernández, Costa-Faidella, & Sebastián-Gallés, 2009). Sustained Attention Children may become unfocused even in relatively distraction-free environments. A child may become bored and fidget or daydream instead of completing a worksheet. In this case the struggle with attention reflects boredom rather than external distracters. This explanation for the child’s inattention refers to limitations in sustained attention. Sustained attention is the process of maintaining a state of arousal and vigilance during task performance. Toddlers’ ability to sustain attention and become absorbed in a task or activity, as rated by independent observers, significantly increases between 18 and 30 months (Gaertner, Spinrad, & Eisenberg, 2008). These results are consistent with other findings that indicate substantial increases between 26 and 42 months in the ability to sustain attention over time (Ruff & Cappozoli, 2003). Individual differences during this period are somewhat stable, meaning that differences in how well children sustain attention may persist over time (Gaertner et al., 2008). This is another example of idiographic continuity in development. Beginning around age 4, a common measurement of sustained attention is the continuous performance test (CPT). CPTs require children to respond to target items that occasionally appear on a computer screen over an extended time. For instance, in a preschool version of the test, animal pictures briefly appear on a screen one at a time for 200 trials (Müller, Kerns, & Konkin, 2012). Children are instructed to press a space bar whenever a sheep appears and avoid pressing the space bar when other animals appear. Because of the overall large number of trials and the infrequency of the target’s appearance, the task primarily involves sitting still and waiting. The child must overcome boredom and distraction in order to remain focused on the task. Errors of commission occur when the child presses the space bar when a nontarget item appears. Errors of omission occur when the target appears but the child fails to respond, presumably because of inattentiveness. Preschoolers make a relatively high number of both types of errors over the course of testing (Müller, Kerns, & Konkin, 2012). Performance on CPTs shows gradual improvement between ages 6 and 12 before leveling off in early adolescence (Lin, Hsiao, & Chen, 1999). Sustained attention relates to ADHD. Prominent characteristics of the disorder, such as difficulty sitting still and focusing on one thing, may reflect a deficit in maintaining vigilance and alertness. In many studies, children ages 6 to 12 who were diagnosed with ADHD made significantly more omission (inattention) errors on CPTs than comparison groups (Huang-­ Pollock, Nigg, & Halperin, 2006; Huang-Pollock, Karalunas, Tam, & Moore, 2012). Children Section 3.3 Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning with ADHD have a tendency to drift off task at a greater rate than other children. As we suggested at the outset of this section, this form of inattention can occur even in the absence of outside distractions. More generally, some theories suggest that the difficulties ADHD children have in staying on task are associated with the default mode network of the brain (Sonuga-Barke & Castellanos, 2007). The default mode network refers to a set of organized neural regions associated with mind wandering (Mason et al., 2007; Weissman, Roberts, Visscher, & Woldorff, 2006). When working on homework or some other cognitive task, there is a balance between cognition that is unrelated to the task and cognition that is task related. The default mode network is the part of brain implicated in thought unrelated to the task. In contrast, other neural areas—such as the prefrontal cortex—are active when thinking is focused on the task at hand. A recent study of individuals aged 7 to 21 years found that regions associated with EF, such as the prefrontal Questions to Consider cortex, mature at a slower rate for individuals diagnosed with ADHD compared to control groups (Sripada, 1. Language was an effective tool for Kessler, & Angstadt, 2014). directing children’s attentional focus on Additionally, there were neural immaturities in individuals with ADHD in the connection between the default mode network and prefrontal regions of the brains (Sripada et al., 2014). This could mean that regions of the brain associated with executive functioning may have reduced control over activity in the default mode network. Intrusive thoughts (day-dreaming) may occur more frequently for children with ADHD than for others because of these neural immaturities (Sonuga-Barke & Castellanos, 2007). the DCCS task. Can you think of other ways language could help direct children in other EF areas, such as inhibition, working memory, and sustained attention? 2. Is your answer more consistent with IP theory or social constructivist theory? Why? 3.3 Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning Some tasks and problems have emotional consequences. Consider the EF demands that occur when a child is reading a passage during a high-stakes exam. The child’s attention is not only directed toward the text but also perhaps to strong emotions associated with passing or failing the exam. The executive functions are required to regulate the child’s emotions while also contributing to task performance. This section examines the operation of EF processes within emotional circumstances. Researchers characterize the potential impact of emotional and motivational contexts on task performance by distinguishing between “hot” and “cool” aspects of executive functioning (Metcalfe & Mischel, 1999; Zelazo & Carlson, 2012). Cool EF operates on traditional cognitive tasks that are generally neutral in emotional content. For instance, remembering instructions or strategies while solving homework math problems is a context that routinely elicits cool EF. Traditionally, a lot of developmental research focuses on this aspect of executive functioning, as we saw in the previous section. Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning Section 3.3 Hot EF operates when emotions and/or motivation and arousal processes possess heightened relevance during task performance. Researchers are assessing hot EF when, for instance, they place candy in front of a young child and tell the child he or she can have the candy only by waiting until time is up (Willoughby, Kupersmidt, Voegler-Lee, & Bryant, 2011). In this example, inhibitory processes are activated in the context of suppressing an emotionally gratifying behavior. Even if a child knows the correct response to a problem, emotions can complicate the process of arriving at it. For instance, in one study 3-year-olds were given a choice between either immediately receiving one treat or receiving multiple treats after a short time. Many 3-year-olds failed to inhibit immediate gratification and chose to receive the lesser of the two rewards. Children’s heightened emotional investment in the decision interfered with their ability to exert inhibitory control and make a good decision. However, when the stakes were “cooled down” and children were asked to choose on behalf of the experimenter, many 3-yearolds indicated the experimenter should wait for the better reward (Prencipe & Zelazo, 2005). Hot EF in the Context of Risk The emotional significance of hot EF assessments often involves the possibility of loss or reward. To illustrate, researchers presented the Iowa gambling task to children aged 8 to 15 (Prencipe et al., 2011). The task is a competitive game in which participants select cards from any of four decks. Cards in each deck contain both losses and gains measured in play money. In two of the decks, cards deliver large, immediate gains, but overall those decks are stacked so that choosing from them ultimately results in a net loss. The other two decks deliver smaller rewards, but choosing from them leads to net gains. In the gambling study, only the oldest age group (14- to 15-year-olds) eventually figured out it was advantageous in the long run to accept smaller rewards (Prencipe et al., 2011). This study illustrates that adolescents are better able to inhibit immediately rewarding responses compared to younger children. Nevertheless, adolescents’ inhibitory abilities are still immature relative to those of adults. For instance, adults are better than adolescents at avoiding high risk and ultimately disadvantageous choices on measurements like the Iowa gambling task (Cauffman et al., 2010). Related, the presence of peers can inflate the value adolescents attach to a risky decision (Albert, Chein, & Steinberg, 2013). To illustrate, adolescents were more likely to take risks on a laboratory gambling task when they believed a peer was watching them compared to when they believed they were unobserved (Smith, Chein, & Steinberg, 2014). More generally, adolescents’ risk taking in sexual activity, drinking, and driving poses a significant societal concern (Steinberg, 2007). Adolescence is theorized as a period of heightened sensitivity toward and anticipation of rewards (Blakemore & Robbins, 2012). Thus, adolescence may be a period of imbalance in which on the one hand, the “brakes” necessary for inhibiting risky behavior are relatively immature, whereas on the other hand, decisions are biased toward attaining rewards and sensations (Casey, Jones, & Somerville, 2011). Dual Systems Theory According to dual systems theory, the imbalance between sensation seeking and inhibitory control is associated with neural development (Blakemore & Robbins, 2012; Casey et. al., 2011; Somerville, Jones, & Casey, 2010; Strang, Chein, & Steinberg, 2013). Dual systems theory posits that separable neural systems are responsible for inhibitory control (saying “no”) Section 3.3 Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning and risk taking or sensation seeking (saying “yes”). Further, the theory posits that both neural systems have not reached maturity in adolescence. Recall that the neural system associated with inhibitory control is the prefrontal cortex. Consistent with dual systems theory, the prefrontal cortex is still maturing in adolescence (Giedd, 2004). As noted earlier, evidence indicates adults outperform adolescents on some inhibitorycontrol measurements; adults also show increased activation in prefrontal regions of the brain compared to adolescents on those tasks (Rubia et al., 2006). The increased activation for adults compared to adolescents means those areas of the brain associated with EF are still maturing during adolescence. In essence, the prolonged immaturity of the prefrontal cortex may be a contributing factor to adolescents’ vulnerability on tasks and in situations requiring inhibition. The second area of the brain relevant to dual systems theory is the ventral striatum. The ventral striatum is associated with detecting emotionally rewarding stimuli. This region of the brain showed elevated activation for adolescents when processing rewards compared to individuals in earlier and later periods of development (Braams, Peters, Peper, Güroğlu, & Crone, 2014; Van Leijenhorst et al., 2010). By activation we mean that functional magnetic resonance imaging measurements indicated that neurons in that area of the brain were active when a reward (such as money) was received. According to dual systems theory, if the ventral striatum is overactive during adolescence, a person may have a tendency for risky decision making that is biased toward rewards rather than restraint (see Figure 3.6). Figure 3.6: Dual systems theory Sensation seeking peaks in adolescence (ages 14 to 18 in the graph). Although impulsivity decreases during adolescence, impulse control is still relatively immature compared to young adulthood (ages 20 to 24). 0.2 Observed means (z-score) 0.1 0.0 –0.1 Impulsivity –0.2 –0.3 Sensation seeking –0.4 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Age Source: Harden, K. P., & Tucker-Drob, E. M. (2011). Individual differences in the development of sensation seeking and impulsivity during adolescence: Further evidence for a dual systems model. Developmental Psychology, 47(3), 739–746. Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning Section 3.3 Two points of clarification are needed with respect to dual systems theory. First, this theory is still being tested, and more research is needed to determine how well it withstands additional scrutiny (Pfeifer & Allen, 2012). Second, risky decision making can be influenced by many environmental factors, such as peers, families, and cultural norms (Viner et al., 2012). Families in which parents drink, smoke, or model risky behavior increase the likelihood that adolescents will engage in those behaviors (Viner et al., 2012). Generally speaking, we should be wary of attributing behavior to just one factor such as, for instance, neural immaturities. As we mentioned in Chapter 1, separating nature and nurture in explaining behavior is rarely helpful; instead, it is more productive to ask how nature and nurture work together to produce cognitive development. Delay of Gratification Delay of gratification occurs when an immediate reward is refused in order to obtain a greater reward at a later time. The use of rewards in delay of gratification tasks introduces an emotional component, and therefore, these tasks are measuring hot EF. In a classic series of studies that began in the 1960s, 4-year-olds were told they could have two treats, such as marshmallows, if they waited for a departing experimenter to return (Mischel, Shoda, & Rodriguez, 1989). They were also told that if they could not wait, they should ring a bell, in which case the experimenter would return and they would receive just one treat. The length of time children withheld from ringing the bell increased with age (Mischel et al., 1989). Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the results, however, was revealed many years later when the researchers revisited the original participants. Individual differences in the amount of time children were able to delay gratification and refrain from ringing the bell were positively related to SAT scores in high school (Shoda, Mischel, & Peake, 1990). Additional follow-ups revealed that children who waited longer than their peers were, as adults, less likely to use drugs (Ayduk et al., 2000), less likely to be overweight (Schlam, Wilson, Shoda, Mischel, & Ayduk, 2013), and more likely to attain higher education degrees (Ayduk et al., 2000). Neurological Differences in Delay of Gratification In the delay of gratification study, neurological differences between high delayers (those who waited a relatively long time) and low delayers were also observed when those same children (now adults) were tested approximately 40 years after the initial study was administered (Casey et al., 2011). Brain imaging data revealed that high delayers more actively engaged a region of the prefrontal cortex than the low delayers on trials that required inhibiting a response to a stimulus. In addition, the ventral striatum (associated with rewards and motivation) was more active in low delayers when the inhibitory task required ignoring an emotionally positive stimulus. The authors of the study speculated that low delayers could overreact to emotion-provoking stimuli that interfere with inhibitory control. This means that when an attractive stimulus was presented, the low delayers recruited the “reward center” of the brain to an exaggerated extent, increasing their challenge of suppressing the emotional information when it was necessary to do so. Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning Section 3.3 It is worth remembering that neural differences between groups could be the consequence, rather than the cause, of behavioral differences. We also caution that the effects summarized in the previous two paragraphs are often modest. This means that other factors substantially contribute to the developmental outcomes discussed. For instance, many environmental and cognitive factors beyond delay of gratification ultimately contribute to academic and behavioral outcomes. Recall that nature and nurture work together to produce development and change. Nevertheless, the long-lasting link between delay of gratification and later outcomes in adolescence and adulthood is intriguing. It prompts us to ask what factors impact children’s ability to resist temptation and wait for the better reward. Attention and Delay of Gratification Young children are routinely asked to delay gratification. Things they want to do immediately—play outside while sitting in class, talk during nap time, blurt out a comment instead of waiting for their turn, grab a snack before dinner—must be suppressed in order to follow rules. As we see in the next two sections, research provides some clues about how children can learn to gain control over their impulses. Researchers have found that attention plays a critical role in children’s delay of gratification. For instance, in one study treats were either covered or left exposed for the child to view (Mischel & Ebbesen, 1970). Children waited nearly twice as long (approximately 11 minutes) when the treats were hidden. Preschoolers are generally unaware that attending to a reward actually increases the difficulty of delaying gratification (Mischel & Mischel, 1983). It is only as children approach their sixth birthday that they consistently judge that covering the reward is the better strategy for delaying gratification (Mischel & Mischel, 1983). This evidence applies to a question we asked at the outset of the chapter. Recall that the teacher was considering placing an attractive reward for good behavior at the front of room. On balance, this would probably not be a good idea, because young children’s focus on the reward could make it more difficult for them to wait for it. The importance of diverting attention is evident in Mischel’s (2012) observations: The kids who managed to delay were doing anything they could to distract themselves from the rewards and reduce their frustration while continuing to wait; for example, by fidgeting, squirming, hiding their eyes to not see the temptations, kicking the table, playing with their toes and fingers, picking their noses and ears in elaboratively imaginative ways. (p. 7) Other researchers have also found that inhibition is compromised by directly attending to a treat. In one study, 3-year-olds were instructed to point to a lesser reward (two candies) in order to obtain a greater reward (five candies). Many children pointed to the large number of candies even though doing so meant receiving the lesser reward (Carlson, Davis, & Leach, 2005). For these young children it was as though the very sight of a large amount of candy was so dominant that it overwhelmed the instruction to instead focus on (and point to) the smaller amount of candy. Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning Section 3.3 In another condition of the study, the candy was placed inside a closed box. Children were taught that symbols on the boxes represented different amounts; for instance, a picture of an elephant was placed atop a box containing the larger number of candies, and a picture of a mouse symbolized the smaller amount of candy contained in another box. Children were much better at correctly pointing to the small amount of candy when it was not visible but instead symbolized by the mouse picture (see Figure 3.7). Symbolic representations were helpful substitutes that replaced the alluring perceptual features of the candy. The researchers conclude that distancing oneself from immediate properties of the rewards can help reduce the power of the temptation (Carlson et al., 2005; see also Addessi et al., 2014). From a practical standpoint, strategies that involve imagining the temptation as something without allure are similarly effective. If young children are taught, for instance, to think of marshmallows as fluffy clouds or pretzels as brown logs rather than yummy treats, delay of gratification substantially increases (Mischel & Baker, 1975). Figure 3.7: Delay of gratification using treats and symbols Three-year-olds find it difficult to inhibit pointing to a large amount of candy when it is visible. When the different amounts of candy are symbolized (with animal pictures), children more readily inhibit pointing to the box containing more candy. Source: Adapted from Carlson, S. M., Davis, A. C., & Leach, J. G. (2005). Less is more executive function and symbolic representation in preschool children. Psychological Science, 16(8), 609–616. Pretend Play and Delay of Gratification Some research suggests that experience with pretend play might be one way young children develop skills to use symbols and distance themselves from the immediate properties of stimuli. For instance, when a child pretends a banana is a telephone, the child is ignoring the alluring edible properties of the banana so long as the fruit is simply a symbolic prop in a game (Carlson, White, & Davis-Unger, 2014). Similarly, Vygotsky theorized that pretend play requires, and stimulates, self-control in young children. To illustrate, if a child is pretending that pieces of candy are cars, the game with the “cars” is ruined if the child cannot resist the impulse to unwrap the candy and start eating it. Section 3.3 Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning Vygotsky (1978b) wrote: A child’s greatest self-control occurs in play. He achieves the maximum display of willpower when he renounces an immediate attraction in the game (such as candy, which by the rules of the game he is forbidden to eat because it represents something inedible). Ordinarily a child experiences subordination to rules in the renunciation of something he wants, but here subordination to a rule and renunciation of action on immediate impulse are the means to maximum pleasure. (p. 99) To date, evidence that pretend play improves children’s executive functions is inconclusive (Lillard et al., 2013). The possibility, however, is intriguing and continues to receive attention by researchers. Spotlight on Research: Social Trust and Delay of Gratification Children’s willingness to delay gratification may depend on how much they trust the promised reward will, in fact, arrive (Kidd, Palmeri, & Aslin, 2013). If children suspect the delayed reward may not be delivered, then it is reasonable for them to accept the lesser, but immediate, reward. To test this hypothesis, 3- to 5-year-old children were placed in two conditions featuring a “reliable” or “unreliable” experimenter. In the unreliable condition, the experimenter made a promise that was later broken. For instance, the experimenter promised to replace worn-out crayons with brand-new art supplies. Children were asked to wait while the investigator went into another room to retrieve the new supplies. After a predetermined amount of time, 2½ minutes, the experimenter returned and said, “I’m sorry, but I made a mistake. We don’t have any other art supplies after all” (Kidd et al., 2013, p. 111). A second broken promise occurred when the experimenter did not bring the children some colorful stickers. Next, a single marshmallow was revealed. The experimenter informed the children they could have two marshmallows, but first they would have to wait for the experimenter to retrieve the additional marshmallow. As the experimenter left the room, children were also told that if they ate the one marshmallow left on the table in front of them, they would not receive the second, promised marshmallow. Children in the unreliable condition waited, on average, roughly 3 minutes before eating the marshmallow (see Figure 3.8). In contrast, children in the reliable condition waited approximately 4 times longer! By comparison, preschoolers waited approximately 6 minutes, on average, in Mischel’s original delay of gratification studies (Mischel & Ebbesen, 1970). We can speculate on how children in each condition interpreted the situation. In the unreliable condition, children’s patience was relatively limited because they had grown to distrust the experimenter. In contrast, children in the reliable condition presumably learned to trust the experimenter and were willing to wait for a longer time for the promised reward. (continued) Section 3.3 Hot EF: Emotions and Executive Functioning Spotlight on Research: Social Trust and Delay of Gratification (continued) Figure 3.8: Differences in children’s delay of gratification when experimenters are reliable or unreliable 1.0 15 0.8 Reliable Reliable 0.6 0.4 0.2 Mean wait time (minutes) Proportion of children who waited 15 minutes Children who viewed reward-promising experimenters as reliable were more likely to wait 15 minutes for a better reward than those who saw the experimenters as unreliable. The figure on the right illustrates the differences in the average amount of time children were willing to delay gratification. 10 5 Unreliable Unreliable 0.0 Unreliable Reliable 0 Unreliable Reliable Source: Kidd, C., Palmeri, H., & Aslin, R. N. (2013). Rational snacking: Young children’s decision-making on the marshmallow task is moderated by beliefs about environmental reliability. Cognition, 126(1), 109–114. Reprinted with permission from Elsevier. These findings indicate that children’s views about the trustworthiness of others may be a factor that influences their willingness to delay gratification. Kidd et al. (2013) suggest that children growing up in challenging circumstances may find it difficult to wait for a delayed reward because they have learned to mistrust others. Financial struggles may prevent a parent from following through on a promised toy or gift; unsupervised older siblings may routinely cheat a young sibling out of an anticipated treat; and so forth. What appears to be impulsive behavior may, in actuality, be a reasonable cognitive strategy of capitalizing on the immediate reward instead of waiting for a promised one that will probably not materialize. Alternatively, children growing up in environments in which promises are routinely kept may be especially prepared to delay gratification in some circumstances. Critical-Thinking Questions 1. Think of some rewards or circumstances young children anticipate in the context of preschool and early childhood care. What factors impact the consistency of the delivery of those anticipated outcomes? 2. What are some ways that a preschool setting might feature consistency and reliability throughout the day? Environmental Influences on EF Section 3.4 Assessing delay of gratification in older children often involves money or game tokens rather than marshmallows. For instance, a common measurement asks children if they would prefer to immediately accept an envelope containing one dollar or wait a week and receive two dollars. In one study, the choice eighth graders made for either the immediate or better reward correlated with other measures of self-discipline (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005). In that study, adolescents’ overall self-discipline was a stronger predictor of school grades than IQ scores. Questions to Consider increases from early to late adolescence (Steinberg et al., 2009). One explanation for the change is the increased ability to anticipate future consequences (Steinberg et al., 2009). For instance, adolescents are more likely than younger children to endorse statements such as “Things work better if they are planned in advance.” 2. Why do you think delay of gratification in 4-year-olds predicts their SAT scores in high school? What does your answer say about the nature–nurture debate? 1. According to Vygotsky, play helps young children develop self-control. Could play positively impact selfcontrol beyond early childhood? For instance, could playing games that require a lot of rule following help or hinder self-control during adolescence? Do you think it would matter if the rulefollowing games were video games? Why or why not? Developmentally, choosing to wait for the better reward 3.4 Environmental Influences on EF If children who lag behind peers in cognitive development can make gains in executive functioning, it is hoped that these gains will lead to lasting improvement in school and other settings. For instance, a young child may have trouble adjusting to school. Perhaps the child talks out of turn or either rushes through activities or takes too long to complete assignments. Is there some activity or set of activities parents, teachers, and others can do to help the child make gains in areas like inhibition and attentiveness? Although this question emphasizes the influence of nurture on development, it is also the case that nature (brain maturation) may be especially open to the influence of the environment on executive functions. In particular, the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with EF development, takes a relatively long time to reach full maturity. In fact, maturation can continue into early adulthood (Giedd, 2004). The extended immaturity suggests the prefrontal cortex possesses plasticity. This means it may be modifiable by experiences. In this section, we first describe various interventions designed to improve children’s executive functions. Second, we look at how everyday parenting behaviors might also contribute to the optimal development of children’s executive functions. Interventions and training programs involve practicing EF tasks over time. Training can take place in schools or researchers’ labs. Typically, such programs are evaluated on at least three criteria. First, does training produce measureable gains for the executive function that is being trained? Second, if improvements occur, do they transfer to other related measurements and behaviors? For instance, if training efforts improve working-memory performance, are related constructs like inhibitory control and academic achievement also positively impacted? The Environmental Influences on EF Section 3.4 third criterion follows from the first two; namely, how long do the gains resulting from training last? To date, the research literature permits two general conclusions to be drawn about efforts to improve children’s executive functioning. Some evidence indicates that various interventions might be effective in improving executive functioning. However, evidence is inconclusive about whether improvements in executive functioning are long-lasting gains that transfer to academic and behavioral outcomes. Factors that may improve children’s executive functions include: 1. repeated practice on tasks and computerized activities that challenge executive function skills; 2. engagement in aerobic exercise and exergames (video games that stimulate physical activity) beginning as early as age 6; and 3. preschool curricula that support and promote opportunities to regulate emotion and attention, reduce stress, focus on communication skills, and/or encourage self-talk as a tool to regulate behavior (Best, 2012; Diamond, 2012; Guiney & Machado, 2013; Ursache, Blair, & Raver, 2012). Note how intervention efforts reflect theory and evidence discussed in this chapter. Aerobic exercise may improve blood supply to cortical areas and, in turn, promote the growth of new neurons (Davis et al., 2011). This theory is consistent with evidence we have discussed elsewhere that relates EF development to neural maturation. We have also seen in this chapter how practice can improve executive functioning on tasks. Also, our earlier discussion of bilingual effects on executive attention illustrated the role of language in facilitating executive functioning. In short, the interventions listed are motivated by, and expand on, theory and research. OJO Images/SuperStock Physical exercise may improve executive functioning in children. It must be emphasized, however, that these effects are not confirmed in the research literature (Melby-Lervåg & Hulme, 2013; Rapport, Orban, Kofler, & Friedman, 2013). Sometimes they are not replicated, and as we noted earlier, there is no consensus on whether observed improvements on executive function tasks are long lasting and impact social and academic outcomes. To illustrate, a body of research has examined whether training working memory improves outcomes for children diagnosed with ADHD. Training typically involves extensive, daily practice on computerized memory tasks. Practice may last a month or longer. If performance improves and the child demonstrates mastery, the tasks become increasingly difficult. In some respects, training is similar to learning to play a game. Mastery of beginning levels leads to higher and more challenging levels that, with practice, will also be eventually mastered. In a representative study, practice improved aspects of working memory in 7- to 11-yearold children with ADHD (Chacko et al., 2014). The improvement was evident in digit recall, Environmental Influences on EF Section 3.4 for instance, when working memory was measured a few weeks after training. However, the training did not impact ADHD symptoms (attention, impulsivity, and high activity level). Working-memory training’s lack of effect on ADHD symptoms is a common outcome in the research literature to date (Rapport et al., 2013). Thus, while some improvement in executive function can occur with training, the effects of that training on symptoms and behavior are still open to debate. Improving Executive Functions in the Classroom It should also be emphasized that training efforts are not substitutes for other means of intervention. In particular, adapting the environment so it does not overly tax executive functions is another way to help children. For instance, if a child exhibits poor working memory, adapting classroom demands, when possible, could positively impact academic performance. Gathercole (2008) suggests working-memory loads could be reduced in the classroom by: • • • • • having the teacher repeat important task information; using external memory aids like charts; restructuring complex tasks and instructions into small, meaningful units; encouraging the use of memory strategies; and creating a classroom environment in which the child can ask for help when instructions are forgotten. In addition, we have seen throughout the chapter evidence that direct intervention and instruction can improve EF performance. Recall, for instance, how directing children’s attention away from interfering information on the DCCS and delay of gratification tasks improved performance. Other factors, like slowing children down or lessening visual distractions in the classroom, also reduce EF demands. Parenting and Executive Functions Some of the characteristics of effective preschool curricula—low stress and an emphasis on using language for self-regulation—are also evident in certain parenting behaviors that may be particularly beneficial to the early development of executive functions. To illustrate, researchers in one study observed 15-month-olds and their mothers putting together two puzzles (Bernier, Carlson, & Whipple, 2010). Autonomy support occurred when mothers supplied emotional encouragement along with age-appropriate hints and suggestions. The suggestions were not too direct; that is, they assisted the child while still leaving room for the child to make choices and actively participate. Thus, autonomy (that is, a sense of independence) was encouraged but balanced with enough support and encouragement so that the child could successfully complete the task. Fifteen-month-olds whose mothers were high in autonomy support performed significantly better at follow-up (18 and 26 months) on EF measurements compared to children whose mothers were low in autonomy support. The authors suggest that parental hints, reminders, and suggestions in problem-solving contexts can teach children how language can serve as a tool for regulating and guiding behavior (see also Bibok, Carpendale, & Müller, 2009). This view is consistent with social constructivist theories that posit a crucial role for language in promoting cognitive development. Summary and Resources For instance, we know from discussions earlier in the chapter that inhibitory control improves if children slow down. If a parent helpfully reminds a toddler to “slow down,” the child may imitate the parent and begin repeating the same reminder. Self-reminders might then generalize to new circumstances and help the child regulate his or her own behavior. The use of language to teach and guide problem solving is discussed in Chapter 7. In contrast, there is a tendency for EF development to lag between ages 2 and 4 in children growing up in a family environment that is disorganized, unpredictable, and generally chaotic (Hughes & Ensor, 2009). In addition, children growing up in chronic poverty often experience high levels of stress, which is in turn linked to relatively low EF scores (Raver, Blair, & Willoughby, 2013). In early childhood, therefore, efforts to support inhibitory control can be especially useful in combating the adverse consequences of poverty on children’s development. These efforts include preschool classroom management by reinforcing positive behavior, establishing and enforcing clear rules and routines, and managing children’s negative behaviors (Raver et al., 2011). A structured environment at school can be a welcome contrast to instability at home. Poverty can involve moving frequently from home to home and/or having a parent be unpredictably available if work hours shift from week to week. It may be difficult for a child to learn to plan and follow rules under such circumstances. A positive and structured environment at school can help improve children’s inhibitory control, perhaps because children gain practice in remembering and following rules and also in planning and organizing their daily routines (Raver et al., 2011). Questions to Consider 1. If you only had time and resources to devote to training just one of the executive functions, which would you choose? Why? 2. Would it matter which age group you chose to work with? Why or why not? Summary and Resources Given the importance of executive functions in everyday life, we can see how delays in EF development coupled with a challenging home life can place a child at risk for poor outcomes. Hopefully, as researchers learn more about executive functions and the factors that support their development, efforts to help children in this foundational area of cognitive development will grow in effectiveness. Chapter Summary • • Three core executive functions are inhibitory control, set shifting, and working memory. These core processes are moderately related to one another. Attention enhances and supports the executive functions. Inhibitory control involves suppressing incorrect responses while activating correct ones. Set shifting is flexibly modifying behavior in the context of change. Working memory is maintaining task-related information in short-term storage while performing the task. Summary and Resources • • • • • • • • • The executive functions undergo rapid development in early childhood. Individual differences on tasks that measure the executive functions are consistently related to academic outcomes. Because of task impurity, poor performance on an executive function task could reflect deficits in more than one executive function process. Executive attention is a broad construct that involves maintaining a task-related focus. It supports working memory, inhibitory control, and set shifting. Sustained attention is the process of maintaining cognitive readiness. Children with ADHD have difficulty sustaining attention. The executive functions continue to develop in adolescence, as evidenced by adolescents’ vulnerability to poor executive functioning in emotional contexts (hot EF). Dual systems theory associates elevated risk-taking among adolescents with immaturity of the prefrontal cortex coupled with heightened sensitivity to rewards in the ventral striatum. Research investigating young children’s delay of gratification focuses on the importance of factors such as attention, cognitively distancing oneself from a temptation, pretend play, and children’s familiarity with receiving promised rewards. Individual differences in children’s ability to delay gratification are associated with differences in later academic and health outcomes. Children’s executive functions may be improved through training and parenting behaviors. Evidence is inconclusive about whether improvements in the executive functions are long lasting or have a wide impact on academic and social outcomes. Posttest Questions 1. The executive functions tend to develop most rapidly during which age period? a. b. c. d. early childhood (ages 3–7) middle childhood (ages 8–12) early adolescence (ages 13–15) late adolescence (ages 16–18) 2. Which statement about the structure of executive functions is FALSE? a. Three core processes of the executive functions are inhibition, working memory, and set shifting. b. The core processes of the executive functions are unrelated to one another in early childhood and become strongly interrelated during development. c. The core processes of the executive functions are both interrelated and distinct from one another. d. The core processes of the executive functions are each supported by attention. 3. Maintaining concentration and focus over an extended time is most closely associated with . a. b. c. d. sustained attention executive attention inhibitory control set shifting Summary and Resources 4. Suppose some children are instructed to sort cards of boats into the boat pile and cards of houses into the house pile. Some cards of houses and boats are red and others are blue. When later instructed to switch to sorting the cards by color, 3-yearolds will most likely . a. sort the cards randomly because they will forget the sorting rules b. put house and boat cards into a single pile because of the two-dimensional nature of the cards c. continue to sort the cards by shape d. switch and sort by color 5. All else being equal, children who are bilingual tend to . a. perform worse than monolingual children on tests of executive attention b. not understand instructions for executive attention tests, making comparisons with monolingual children invalid c. perform better than monolingual children on tests of executive attention d. perform the same as monolingual children on tests of executive attention 6. A child is given a task that involves sorting odd- and even-numbered cards one at a time into two piles. While doing so, the child must hold in mind the total number of cards in each pile. This task is most directly a test of the child’s . a. b. c. d. deductive reasoning “hot” inhibitory control working memory delay of gratification a. b. c. d. high; high low; low high; low low; high a. b. c. d. they attend to the reward they trust the experimenter who promised the delayed reward they do not attend to the reward they symbolize the reward so that its alluring properties are reduced a. b. c. d. relatively low SAT scores very few later outcomes increased incidence of obesity increased incidence of drug use 7. According to dual systems theory, compared to adulthood the period of adolescence is a time of inhibitory control and sensitivity to reward and sensation. 8. Young children tend to exhibit low delay of gratification when . 9. Evidence indicates that low delay of gratification in young children is related to all of the following EXCEPT . Summary and Resources 10. Research indicates that executive functions in toddlers are stimulated when parents . a. intervene and take over as soon as the child exhibits difficulty on a task b. let the child figure out a task completely on his or her own c. encourage the child to solve the task independently, but intervene when necessary to aid completion of the task d. create an unpredictable environment that requires the toddler to impose order over somewhat chaotic circumstances 11. Which statement about training executive functions is NOT accurate? a. Plasticity means the brain is potentially modifiable by interventions designed to impact the executive functions. b. Evidence indicates that some interventions might be effective in improving executive functioning. c. Evidence is inconclusive about whether interventions produce long-lasting gains in executive functioning. d. Extended working-memory practice conclusively leads to better academic and behavioral outcomes for children. Critical-Thinking Questions 1. How would you explain to an educational administrator why preschools should spend more time stimulating young children’s EF development? How would you respond if the administrator countered that training should instead be exclusively devoted to improving preschoolers’ traditional academic skills in areas like reading and math? 2. Task impurity characterizes many EF tasks. Describe how the DCCS task, which is designed to measure set shifting, also tests other EF processes. What does your answer suggest about the nature of the executive functions? 3. Ms. Lyons is a preschool teacher. Ten minutes before snack time, she begins to set out snacks while the children are completing worksheets. When snack time arrives, preschoolers go to the snack table one at a time while the others wait their turn. Some children find it difficult to delay gratification under these circumstances, and they often run to the snack table before they are allowed to do so. What changes could Lyons make that would facilitate delay of gratification during snack time? What simple suggestions could she give the children to help them delay gratification? 4. A professional company claims to have developed an effective training program to improve children’s working-memory capacity. What criteria would you use to determine the program’s effectiveness and decide whether your school should invest in it? Summary and Resources Key Terms attention A cognitive system that regulates mental activity, regulates the focus of the sensory system, and maintains alertness. attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) A developmental disorder characterized by acting on impulse, difficulty maintaining attentional focus, and elevated levels of motoric activity. autonomy support A type of parent-child interaction characterized by providing emotional support and age-appropriate prompts that encourage a sense of independence. central executive The working-memory capacity for strategically and actively maintaining information in short-term storage. cool EF The operation of executive functions during tasks and situations with relatively minimal emotional or arousing stimuli and/or consequences. default mode network Interrelated regions of the human brain associated with mind-wandering tendencies and inattention, typically less active when prefrontal neural regions are recruited for goal-directed behavior. delay of gratification The capacity to put off receiving an immediate reward in order to obtain a better reward after a length of time elapses. dual systems theory The theory that immaturity in two neural systems, related to sensation seeking and inhibitory control, contributes to elevated levels of risk-taking behavior. executive attention A process that regulates and inhibits distracting information that conflicts with task-related goals. executive functions (EFs) A constellation of cognitive processes that direct behavior in a plan-based, organized, and purposeful manner. hot EF The operation of executive functions when task-related features are motivationally and emotionally significant to the participant. inhibitory control The process of stopping a practiced and potent incorrect or irrelevant action or thought, often while activating a less potent but task-appropriate thought or action. perseveration The repetition of a behavior that was once appropriate but became outdated when a circumstance noticeably changed. phonological loop The short-term memory component that temporarily retains speechbased information. prefrontal cortex A region in the frontal lobe of the brain’s cerebral cortex associated with executive function development and use. set shifting The process of flexibly modifying behavior in response to changes in goals and/or circumstances. sustained attention The process of maintaining arousal and a task-related focus over a span of time. task impurity An imprecision in measurement that occurs for the executive functions when success on an assessment requires more than one executive function. ventral striatum A system of the brain involved in the processing of reward information. Summary and Resources visuospatial sketch pad A temporary storage system for holding visual and spatial information in memory. Additional Resources working memory The process of actively maintaining and organizing information in short-term storage while performing a task related to the information. Web Resources Building Brain Power: Executive Function and Young Children http://extension.psu.edu/youth/betterkidcare/news/2014/building-brain-powerexecutive-function-and-young-children This site provides an overview of executive functions and how to support their development in children. What Happens When the Development of Executive Function Goes Awry? http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/News/Series/ExecutiveFunction/Pages/Executive-Function-Part-Five-What-happens-when-the-development-of-executive-functiongoes-awry.aspx A professor of child development discusses atypical development of executive functions. Further Reading Diamond, A., & Lee, K. (2011). Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old. Science, 333(6045), 959–964. This article provides a comprehensive overview of possible effective interventions to promote executive-function development. Gathercole, S. E., & Alloway, T. P. (2008). Working memory and learning: A practical guide. London: Sage. This clear handbook addresses applying working-memory research to the classroom. Meltzer, L. (Ed.). (2011). Executive function in education: From theory to practice. New York: Guilford Press. This book discusses practical applications of executive-function research to the classroom. Mischel, W., Ayduk, O., Berman, M. G., Casey, B. J., Gotlib, I. H., Jonides, J., ... Shoda, Y. (2011). ‘Willpower’ over the life span: Decomposing self-regulation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 6(2), 252–256. This article broadly extends the concept of willpower from childhood all the way to adulthood. Ursache, A., Blair, C., & Raver, C. C. (2012). The promotion of self‐regulation as a means of enhancing school readiness and early achievement in children at risk for school failure. Child Development Perspectives, 6(2), 122–128. This article provides a research-based explanation of how the executive functions relate to school readiness. Summary and Resources Answers and Rejoinders to Chapter 3 Pretest 1. False. The executive functions, which enable children to block interference, develop rapidly before children begin school. Beginning around age 3½, children show improvement on the task described in the question. 2. False. Deficits in holding information in mind are observed in children diagnosed with ADHD. These deficits in memory contribute to symptoms of inattention associated with the disorder. 3. True. Neural maturation continues during adolescence in areas of the brain associated with executive functioning and rewards. Risk taking occurs when rewards are impulsively sought despite evident risk. 4. False. Attention directed away from the reward helps children wait for it. Attention directed toward the reward makes it harder to resist. 5. True. Practice can at least temporarily improve aspects of memory in children. However, long-lasting benefits are not yet consistently evident in research. Answers and Rejoinders to Chapter 3 Posttest 1. a. early childhood (ages 3–7) Performance on EF tasks often shows accelerated growth in early childhood. Although EF development can occur throughout childhood, improvement tends to be more gradual in later periods of development. 2. b. The core processes of the executive functions are unrelated to one another in early childhood and become strongly interrelated during development. Core EF processes are interrelated in early childhood. This means that one process depends on other EF processes. 3. a. sustained attention The process of sustained attention is responsible for maintaining effort and focus. It is typically assessed by asking children to focus on a relatively simple task over an extended time so that they must suppress mind wandering and boredom while maintaining a focus. 4. c. continue to sort the cards by shape Three-year-olds exhibit set-shifting difficulties on the DCCS task. They continue sorting in an outdated fashion after they are told to shift to a new sorting rule. 5. c. perform better than monolingual children on tests of executive attention Evidence indicates an advantage for bilingual children on EF measures such as those measuring executive attention. One explanation is that bilingual people have experience attending to one language while blocking interference from a second one. 6. c. working memory Working memory is the capacity to temporarily attend to and maintain information. It is assessed by tasks that require temporarily holding task-related information in mind while performing the task. 7. d. low; high Dual systems theory posits that neural immaturities are associated with oversensitivity to rewards coupled with limitations in inhibitory control. This combination occurs in adolescence and may help explain the tendency toward risk taking during that period of development. 8. a. they attend to the reward When a reward is not attended to, children tend to better resist immediate Summary and Resources gratification. Consequently, factors that divert their attention from its alluring properties increase delay of gratification. 9. b. very few later outcomes Follow-up studies find a degree of stability between early delay of gratification and later development. Delay of gratification is linked to academic and behavioral outcomes. 10. c. encourage the child to solve the task independently, but intervene when necessary to aid completion of the task Research indicates that a balance between providing support and encouraging autonomy is related to executive function development. This is known as autonomy support. 11. d. Extended working-memory practice conclusively leads to better academic and behavioral outcomes for children. Taken as a whole, research on the effects of working-memory training has not yet demonstrated that improvements result in clear academic and behavioral improvements in children.
What is Special Education? Memory Development 1 4 iStockphoto/Thinkstock Pre-Test Michaeljung/iStock/Thinkstock 1. 1. You can use the terms disability and handicap interchangeably. T/F Learning Objectives 2. 2. The history of special education began in Europe. T/F 3. the 3. end Theoffirst legislation protected students with disabilities was passed in the 1950s. By thisAmerican chapter, you should that be able to: T/F • Identify the different types of memory from an information-processing perspective. 4. 4. All students with disabilities should be educated in special education classrooms. T/F • Describe the nature and development of memory during infancy. 5. 5. Special education law is constantly reinterpreted. T/F • Analyze the roles of capacity, knowledge, strategies, and metamemory in memory development. 6. Answers can be found at the end of the chapter. • Trace the relationship between brain development and memory. • Explain the emergence of autobiographical memory and the end of childhood amnesia. • Evaluate whether children are credible eyewitnesses in legal proceedings. Pretest Questions  Pretest Questions 1. Once information is stored in long-term memory, it can be permanent. T/F 2. Infants are able to remember some of their previous experiences. T/F 3. Age-related improvements in memory performance are due primarily to increases in memory capacity or size of memory storage. T/F 4. Most adults’ earliest childhood memory is for an event that occurred around age 4. T/F 5. It is easy to implant a false memory in children from age 3 to 5 years; thus, they should not be allowed to testify in court. T/F Mr. Lee’s second-grade class was learning many facts and skills such as writing, spelling, and vocabulary. As part of a spelling lesson, Lee was teaching several words and their meanings. His students were having a difficult time memorizing the words in addition to their correct spelling and definition. Lee wondered whether introducing some memory strategies would help his students recall the words. He remembered from his cognitive psychology course that there are a number of possible strategies that can facilitate memory recall. Two such strategies are rehearsal and categorical organization, or chunking. It did not appear children were using any of these strategies spontaneously. Lee was uncertain if second-grade children could even be taught to employ these types of strategies, but he decided it was worth a try. First, Lee explained to his students the importance of using memory techniques and the process involved. Using a picture of the brain, he explained that consolidation takes place when information from short-term or working memory is transferred into long-term memory for later use. His students thought he was funny when he said, “What’s the point in learning something if we can’t remember it later on!” He decided to make learning fun and engaging by splitting the class into two groups—those who would practice rehearsal and those who would practice categorical organization. The groups would switch so that all students were able to learn and apply both memory techniques. After he split the class into two groups, he gave the rehearsal group a list of spelling words that included spring, second, fall, joyful, minute, grateful, summer, kindness, and hour. He told the group to repeat the words in the list as they were presented and then write them down several times. He also asked them to pair up and repeat the list of words to their partner several times. In order to increase retention, he suggested that the group use elaborative rehearsal to make the words more meaningful to them. For example, he asked each student to come up with a personal example to connect the word with a feeling or experience; for instance, one student might connect the word summer with swimming and having fun, and fall with school and cold weather. Making personal associations with information increases material’s meaning and therefore improves retention. The other memory strategy Lee wanted to use was categorical organization, or chunking. This strategy requires students to take different types of words and categorize them into meaningful and related “chunks.” Lee had the other group of students create categories for the same list of words; they came up with time, seasons, and feelings. Once the words were chunked into these categories, students were able to more efficiently remember the words under each category. Children (and adults) will often chunk material based on its semantic relatedness, which is more Introduction meaningful. Teaching children to organize material by categories helps students remember information in groups, as opposed to each piece of information separately. Lee was quite surprised that after several minutes of practicing these techniques, his students were much more engaged in the lesson and were able to remember the words better—they even had fun doing it! Questions to Think About 1. What type of memory strategies might be effective for children in higher grades? Can you think of different strategies that might be successful? 2. Mr. Lee did not believe his second graders were naturally using these strategies. What type of behavior might indicate that children are in fact strategic in learning words and definitions? 3. What types of cognitive skills would children need to be able to effectively use a memory strategy? 4. Take a moment to reflect on your own experience using memory strategies. What memory strategy did you use (or currently use) to learn and retain new information? Introduction Memory is an incredible cognitive process that is critical for almost all human abilities. Memory enables us to recognize a familiar face from years ago, ride a bike, find our way home, and much more. We can also quickly sort through our memory to recall information on the spot. If asked the capital of Paraguay, for example, you would likely know immediately if you knew the answer. Considering the amount of information stored in our memories, this is an impressive ability. Memories also allow us to establish a personal identity based on our life story. What is your earliest memory? Why is it that adults have such a difficult time remembering experiences from their early childhood? These are questions regarding autobiographical memories, or memories about the self. These memories are fundamental to our identity. Memory development is foundational to children’s cognitive development and education. In order for children to engage in any cognitive or educational activity, they need to store, process, and retrieve information from their memory. This chapter will explore the development of different types of memory primarily from an IP approach. Our discussion will include working memory, short-term memory, and many different forms of long-term memory. In addition, social constructivist approaches to autobiographical memory will be considered in the discussion of autobiographical memories. The study of memory development is not a frequently researched topic from Piagetian and nativist perspectives, so these perspectives will not be considered in this chapter (although see Howes & O’Shea, 2014). Core Themes and Memory The majority of memory-development research is conducted from an IP perspective. The core developmental themes regarding memory are consistent with this perspective. Although memory processes and stores may be basic biological capabilities (nature), the development of memory is influenced by experiences such as school, family, and friends (nurture). Memory development is generally characterized as reflecting continuous improvement, such as Information-Processing Memory Models Section 4.1 increases in working memory, as opposed to discontinuous improvement. Research focuses on children’s memory performance, such as how much they recall, rather than their competence. Memory is generally characterized as involving domain-general processes rather than domain-specific processes. That is, regardless of what material is remembered, in most cases the basic processes for retaining memory are the same. (One exception may be memory for faces, which some research has shown might be domain specific; see James, Arcurio, & Gold, 2013). Similar to the IP perspective on memory, the social constructive perspective takes a domain-general perspective on the social construction of some memories, particularly autobiographical ones (Fivush, Reese, & Haden, 2006). 4.1 Information-Processing Memory Models Memory is involved in all aspects of our cognitive and social life. It allows us to remember our experiences and to recognize the voice of a long-lost friend. It also permits us to do mental arithmetic, recall information for a test, or remember a phone number long enough to place a call. All these different functions of memory require different memory systems. In Chapter 1 we introduced the IP approach to cognitive development. This perspective tracks the flow of information through the brain using a computer analogy. Central to this approach are the different types of memory for storing information. As information such as visual input or sound is received from the environment through our sensory systems, it is initially held in sensory memory, which is very brief in duration (less than a second). This information is next transferred to short-term memory. Short-term memory has a limited capacity and duration. If children are presented a random sequence of digits to remember, such as 8, 3, 7, 2, 4, the number of digits they can recall is a reflection of their short-term memory. Short-term memory increases until adulthood (Halford, 1994; Ottem, Lian, & Karlsen, 2007). At around age 5, the average digit span is about five items, which by age 12 increases to about six items. The average adult has a short-term memory span of around seven items. The duration of short-term memory is about 30 seconds, although it can be affected by performance demands (Rattat & Picard, 2012). Closely related to short-term memory is working memory, introduced in Chapter 3. Although these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are differences (see Andin et al., 2013; Cowan, 2014). Short-term memory is primarily used for temporary storage, and working memory is a temporary storage where encoded information is worked on or processed to accomplish some cognitive task, such as mentally adding numbers. As described further in Chapter 3, working memory comprises both the phonological loop for verbal information and the visuospatial sketch pad for visual information. Working memory varies considerably among children. As pointed out in Chapter 3, differences in working-memory capacity are associated with different cognitive outcomes, particularly in an academic setting. This is especially the case with learning to read (Gathercole, Alloway, Willis, & Adams, 2006). Children who have low working memory have difficulty remembering what they read. This causes them to reread the same material again and again. In a study of more than 3,000 children ages 5 to 11, about 10% were identified as having Information-Processing Memory Models Section 4.1 low working-memory scores. These children not only had difficulty with verbal ability and learning, but also had attention problems. They were distractible, inattentive, and had difficulties assessing their schoolwork (Alloway, Gathercole, Kirkwood, & Elliott, 2009). Working memory also has been associated with mathematical achievement (Toll & Van Luit, 2013). Once information is in short-term or working memory, it can be transferred to long-term memory. Long-term memory is the central memory store of long-lasting memories. It has essentially unlimited capacity and can last decades; many long-term memories may be permanent. Transfer of information from working memory to long-term memory is more likely to occur if children engage in some strategic activity, such as rehearsing or repeating the information to be remembered. Long-term memory can be divided into several subtypes. The top of the hierarchy consists of explicit and implicit memory. An explicit memory is consciously available and involve memories for both semantic and episodic information. Semantic memory is a subtype of explicit memory and is general knowledge not tied to a specific event. It includes information such as the meaning of words, capitals of states, and all types of general information. Semantic memory also includes scripts, which are generalized knowledge structures regarding familiar events, such as making a cake or going to the beach. Although you may remember the chemical formula for water (a semantic memory), you are less likely to remember exactly when you learned it (an episodic memory). Episodic memory involves memories for particular events, such as your high school graduation or the end of a significant relationship. Episodic memories such as these that are personally meaningful are autobiographical memories. Episodic memories also include less significant memories, such as remembering what you had for lunch yesterday. The latter insignificant memories may not remain in long-term storage for very long. Flashbulb memories are also a type of episodic memory. This involves remembering the details of where you were when a highly salient historical event or personally significant event occurred (Schmidt, 2012). For instance, you might remember many details from the day of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, such as where you were, what you were doing, and who you were with when you heard the news. Implicit memory is the other type of long-term memory; it is memory without conscious awareness. These memories are not consciously available for recall and are sometimes referred to as procedural memories. There are several types of implicit memory (Lloyd & Miller, 2014). The first are motor skills, like playing piano or riding a bike. The second type of implicit memories involves classical and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning occurs when a neutral stimulus (one that elicits no automatic response) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (one that does elicit a natural response). After repeated presentations of the two paired stimuli, the neutral stimulus begins to evoke the same response as the unconditioned stimulus. When this occurs, the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus. For example, you might have noticed that you automatically feel hungry whenever you smell cookies baking (an unconditioned stimulus). It is unlikely that the sound of a phone ringing (a neutral stimulus) produces the same response for you. However, if every time you smelled cookies in the oven a phone rang, eventually you might begin to feel hungry simply from hearing the ring (now a conditioned stimulus), regardless of whether cookies were present. Section 4.1 Information-Processing Memory Models Operant conditioning involves reinforcing or punishing a spontaneously produced behavior to increase or decrease its probability of occurring again, respectively. If every time a child makes the sound “ma” the parent becomes excited and pays attention to the child, he or she is likely to continue to make the sound and eventually say “mama.” Priming is the third type of implicit memory and occurs when a stimulus previously presented enhances processing of it when the same stimulus is presented again (Turati, 2008). For instance, identifying a picture previously seen occurs more quickly than for an unfamiliar picture (Tulving & Schacter, 1990). If identification is faster on the second presentation, it implies that there is an implicit memory of the original picture. Memory is involved in each of these examples because they require remembering the association between the preceding event (stimulus) and the behavior. However, they are implicit because the associations occur automatically and are not consciously available. Figure 4.1 illustrates the hierarchical relationships between these different types of memory. Their development will be discussed in subsequent sections of the chapter. Figure 4.1: Relationships between different types of memory Memory is not one simple process; it is made up of various types and subtypes. Different aspects of memory allow people to perform activities ranging from memorizing numbers to recalling events from their past. Types of memory Sensory memory Short-term memory Long-term memory (Working memory) Implicit memory Priming Procedural memory Explicit memory Classical and operant conditioning Semantic memory General memory Scripts Episodic memory Autobiographical memory Flashbulb memory To reflect the storing and transfer of information from the different memory types, three phases of memory formation have been identified (Bauer & Fivush, 2014). Encoding refers to attending to the stimulus to be remembered. In order to remember something, it has to be noticed. For instance, if the goal is to remember state capitals, both the states and the capitals Infant Memory must be noted. If attention is only focused on capitals but not the states, learning is limited. Consolidation is the process of stabilizing and integrating the information into long-term memory. Initially, memories may be fragile, but the more effort that is expended in memorizing the information, the more stable the memory. Once information is stored, it will need to be recalled to be useful. Retrieval is the process of recalling the information in memory (Bauer & Fivush, 2014), which is quite helpful during exam time. Section 4.2 Questions to Consider 1. Imagine teaching a third-grader how to multiply numbers. What memory stores must children use to successfully solve the problem? 2. How are the various forms of long-term memory related to different types of educational attainment? For instance, what roles do episodic and semantic memory play in learning? 4.2 Infant Memory One of the many fascinating aspects of memory is the absence of adults’ memory for their experiences during infancy and early childhood. The absence of these early memories is known as infantile or childhood amnesia. We will discuss this when addressing the issue of autobiographical memory development. However, we begin by considering whether children have memories while they are infants and toddlers. Until fairly recently it was believed that infants could not remember specific events because of an inability to symbolically represent the world (Bauer, 2004), though we now know this is not true (Lukowski & Bauer, 2014). As discussed in Chapter 2 on infant physical cognition, the challenge of studying infant cognition is that infants are nonverbal. They cannot directly tell us what they remember, so researchers must use indirect methods to study their memory. Before considering these methods, we need to first make a distinction between recall memory and recognition memory. Recall memory is retrieving information that was previously stored in long-term memory. This distinction is easily illustrated by comparing different types of exam questions. To answer an essay question, it is necessary to retrieve previously studied information from memory. Recognition memory is linking or associating an event or object with one previously encountered. To answer a multiple-choice question, the possible correct choices are compared with previously learned memory. Infant Implicit Memory As adults, we do not remember our experiences during the first year of life. However, this does not mean that infants do not have memories of their experiences. Implicit memory emerges first in infancy, followed later by explicit memory (Bauer, 2004). Operant conditioning procedures are used to study infant recognition memory. Infants in one study had a ribbon tied to their ankle, which was then connected to the mobile above them. As the infant kicked, the mobile moved, which the infants seemed to find reinforcing, because they continued to kick to make the mobile move (Rovee-Collier, 1987; Rovee-Collier & Cuevas, 2009). To study how long memories for the mobile persisted, infant kicking responses to the training mobile were compared after delays of 1 day, 1 week, or 1 month. Two-month-old infants can only recognize the training mobile for 1 to 2 days. By age 6 months, memory for the mobile can last as long as 3 weeks. If the mobile’s appearance was changed, however slightly, infants did not kick, indicating they recognized the original stimulus (Rovee-Collier & Shyi, 1992). Section 4.2 Infant Memory Cusp/Superstock A ribbon connecting an infant’s ankle to a mobile causes the mobile to move when she kicks. Researchers have found 2-month-old infants can learn to move the mobile by kicking and that they remember the mobile after 1 or 2 days have elapsed. The habituation procedure (described in detail in Chapter 2) is another useful technique for assessing infant recognition memory, which is an implicit memory. In this procedure infants are shown a picture, such as a human face. When a different face is presented, they will look longer at it. When the familiar face is displayed again, they will continue to habituate and not look at it very long (Flom & Bahrick, 2010). The fact that infants look longer at a novel face suggests that they recognize or remember the original face. Two-month-old infants take several minutes to habituate to a novel stimulus. By age 4 to 5 months, it may take only 10 seconds. Infants can recognize a wide variety of stimuli, including faces and sounds (Oakes & Kovack-Lesh, 2013). There is an interesting twist to this description. Whether infants show greater interest in the familiar or unfamiliar picture depends on the amount of time between initial presentation and the novel stimulus (Richmond, Colombo, & Hayne, 2007). If the time is brief, then infants (and adults) prefer the novel stimulus. If the delay is long, infants (and adults) prefer the familiar stimulus (Courage & Howe, 2001). This might make more sense if you imagine returning to a familiar place you have not visited for years, such as your elementary school. You would be likely to spend more time looking at the things you recognized than at any changes. Infant Explicit Memory Explicit memory is more difficult than implicit memory to measure in infants, since they have to “report” that they are remembering something without doing so verbally (Bauer & Fivush, 2014). That is, they have to indicate that they recall a prior experience by their behavior. It is not clear they are consciously aware of their recall. Deferred imitation can be used to demonstrate explicit recall memory. This occurs when infants observe a model engaging in an action and then repeat the action after some delay. Piaget argued that infants cannot engage in deferred imitation until they have representational abilities in the preoperational stage. Recent work suggests that this is not accurate (Bauer & Fivush, 2014). A very effective deferred-imitation task has been to demonstrate a sequence of actions such as building a toy rattle (Bauer, Larkina, & Deocampo, 2011). As shown in Figure 4.2, the actions for constructing a rattle are putting a ball in a cup, placing the top on the cup, and then shaking the rattle. For this particular task the actions have to be performed in a certain sequence to be successful, because of the causal relationships between the actions. After a delay, the infants are given the props, and their task is to recall the actions. Other tasks involve temporal relationships between actions that have no causal connections. For example, infants can be Section 4.2 Infant Memory asked to make a clown by following a sequence of steps. Unlike the rattle, the steps in creating the clown do not have to be followed sequentially for the final product to function. Thus, the task focuses only on recall of the actions specified, not the infant’s understanding of causal relationships. Figure 4.2: Deferred-imitation task for making a rattle In this deferred imitation task, children watch an adult complete a sequence of actions to build a rattle. This type of task is used to measure explicit memory in infancy and early childhood. Deferred-imitation tasks have been used with infants as young as age 6 months. After a 24-hour delay, most of the 6-month-old infants were able to recall one action when they were presented with the props (Barr, Dowden, & Hayne, 1996). There was significant improvement by age 9 months, with many infants able to recall a temporal sequence 5 weeks later (Carver & Bauer, 1999). During the second year of life, there is more improvement in recall memory for these event sequences. In a large-scale study of 13-, 16-, and 20-month-old infants, even some of the youngest infants in the study were able to recall the temporal sequences after a year (Bauer, Wenner, Dropik, & Wewerka, 2000). What determines how long these early memories persist? Researchers have shown that how well the memory is consolidated affects the length of time the memory lasts. As described earlier, consolidation refers to the process of integrating unstable memories into long-term memory. It is based on the effort involved in establishing the memory. In a study of 20-montholds learning event sequences such as making a rattle, children were assigned to one of three encoding conditions: watch, imitate, or “learn to criterion” (the latter involved, for example, reproducing the complete sequence two times in succession). Each condition increased the opportunity to consolidate the memory. There were no differences in recall immediately following encoding across the three conditions. However, those children in the imitation and learn to criterion conditions recalled more 1, 2, and 3 weeks later than the infants in the watch condition, likely because their memories had become more consolidated in the imitation and learn to criterion conditions. There were no recall differences in these latter two conditions (Bauer, Güler, Starr, & Pathman, 2011). Question to Consider How could you apply these findings regarding the consolidation of memory in infancy to consolidating memory in a classroom setting? Influences on Explicit Memory Development Section 4.3 4.3 Influences on Explicit Memory Development Academic success, whether in preschool or college, is dependent on memory. How well information is encoded, consolidated, and retrieved determines performance on many types of academic assessments. Most of the memories established as you study a text are explicit memories. Beginning in the second year, explicit memories begin to emerge and improve throughout childhood and adolescence. In a standard explicit memory task appropriate for children starting around age 3, children are presented with a set of stimuli (such as pictures) to memorize. As expected, older children typically recall more pictures than younger children (Jarrod & Hall, 2013). Researchers have identified four primary contributors to improvements in children’s memory performance. These include increases in capacity, the development of memory strategies, knowledge of specific domains, and metamemory. In most cases these factors enhance long-term memory by contributing to the transfer of information from short-term or working memory to long-term memory (Bebko, McMorris, Metcalfe, Ricciuti, & Goldstein, 2014). Capacity in Memory Development Most of us have had the experience of trying to save digital information to a flash drive and receiving the message that its capacity has been reached. To add more information, old information has to be deleted. Does human memory have similar capacity limits? How much information can be stored in human memory? Is it unlimited? As children age, memory capacity increases, or at least, the amount of information recalled increases. Capacity is defined as the amount of information that can be kept in the different memory stores (short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory). It also can include the length of time that memory persists. Studies of short-term memory, as assessed by recalling a list of numbers, indicate that 3-year-olds can repeat back about two numbers, but by age 8 it is about five numbers (Cowan, 2014; Gathercole, 1999). In Chapter 3 we described the increase of working memory across childhood using a digit-span test. Other measures include backward digit span and word spans. In these tasks, children must repeat a series of words or numbers in the reverse order that they heard them. The capacity of longterm memory is very large and for all practical purposes is unlimited. Information can clearly be forgotten, though, and several explanations of why forgetting occurs have been proposed (Hardt, Karim, & Nadel, 2013). Assessing and interpreting developmental increases in memory capacity is difficult. It is not possible to directly measure memory capacity. It is not as straightforward as measuring the capacity of a bucket; memory capacity is different because it is influenced by numerous cognitive skills that are also developing along with it (Cowan, Ricker, Clark, Hinrichs, & Glass, 2014). For instance, knowledge also increases with development. Perhaps the increase in capacity reflects changes in knowledge. In one study that examined this question, Englishspeaking children age 6 to 12 years, as well as college students, were asked to recall either English letters or unfamiliar characters after a brief 1-second presentation of each stimulus. Memory capacity improved dramatically with development for the familiar English letters, whereas for unfamiliar characters, the age improvement was slower, as shown in Figure 4.3. These findings indicate that increases in knowledge contribute to memory, discussed in more depth later (Cowan et al., 2014). Section 4.3 Influences on Explicit Memory Development Figure 4.3: Working memory for letters versus unfamiliar characters Across all ages studied, children and college students were able to retain more familiar letters than unfamiliar characters in their working memory. Working memory for both sets of characters increased with age, but this increase was greater for the familiar letters. 5.0 4.5 Items in working memory (k) 4.0 English letters 3.5 3.0 2.5 2.0 Unfamiliar characters 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 1–2 3–4 5–7 College Grade Level in School Source: Cowan, N., Ricker, T. J., Clark, K. M., Hinrichs, G. A., & Glass, B. A. (2014). Knowledge cannot explain the developmental growth of working memory capacity. Developmental Science, 18(1), 132–145. Reprinted with permission. Strategies in Memory Development When studying for an exam, what methods have you used to improve your memory of the material? Which methods were effective and which were not? Behaviors like these that assist in remembering information are known as memory strategies, and we begin to use them in childhood. They are typically intentional behaviors performed either when information is presented at the time of encoding or at the time of retrieval (Baker-Ward, Ornstein, & Holden, 1984; Flavell, Beach, & Chinksy, 1966). Although young children age 2 to 5 rarely employ more sophisticated memory strategies, they can engage in simpler ones. If asked to remember the location of an object hidden in one of two boxes for a short time, 2-year-olds may point to it, name it, or stare at the location to help themselves remember (DeLoache, Cassidy, & Brown, 1985). Intentional strategy use becomes more common once children enter elementary school, where remembering information becomes more critical to school success (Bebko et al., 2014; Flavell, 1970). Typically, 6- and 7-year-olds begin to use various memory strategies to help them remember. By age 12 strategy use is well developed, although increases in effectiveness can continue through adolescence (Roebers, 2014). Section 4.3 Influences on Explicit Memory Development One encoding strategy is rehearsal, which consists of repeating the information in working memory so it can be recalled later from long-term memory (Gathercole, 1998). This strategy generally develops around age 7 (Jarrold & Hall, 2014). If children are asked to remember a list of words presented one at a time, rehearsal involves repeating the words as they are presented. If provided a list such as cat, bed, red, car, and apple, 7-year-olds might only rehearse one word at a time as each word is presented (for example, cat, cat, cat). Older children, around age 10, are more likely to exhibit cumulative rehearsal. This occurs when children repeat several words at a time and update the list by dropping the earlier words as new words are added (for example, cat, bed, red, then bed, red, car). As more words are presented, children’s ability to maintain all of the words in working memory is limited (Schneider, 2011). A more sophisticated strategy is categorical organization, which emerges around age 10. Categorical organization occurs when information is placed into semantically relevant categories characterized by similar meanings. For example, when needing to remember a grocery list, one might separate items into categories such as snacks, vegetables, and so on. This strategy can facilitate retrieval of the items to be bought by recalling the different categories. Items that are grouped together by category are associated by similarity, which facilitates recall (Schneider, Kron, Hünnerkopf & Krajewski, 2004). Alternatively, of course, you could just write them down—also an effective memory strategy. Elaboration involves creating a richer memory representation during encoding. In trying to remember a person’s name, it can help to create a mental image based on their name. To remember a person whose last name is Houseman, an individual may create a mental image of a man sitting on top of a house. If memorizing the countries of South America, a student might create a memorable sentence in which the first letter of each word corresponds to the first letter of each country’s name. If you have ever learned to read music, you might remember the sentence for recalling the treble clef notes: Every good boy does fine (or the version more popular with some children, Every good boy deserves fudge). This is another example of an elaboration strategy. Elaboration strategies have been shown to benefit vocabulary as well (Pressley, Levin, & Ghatala, 1984). Other strategies useful for remembering text materials are text strategies, such as highlighting passages and summarizing the main points, as you are likely doing as you read this textbook. Table 4.1 illustrates the general pattern of strategy development. Table 4.1: Strategy development in childhood and adolescence Strategy type Age of emergence Definition Rehearsal 6 to 8 years Repeating items to be recalled Elaboration 11 to 13 years Creating richer associations or images of material to recall Categorical organization Text strategies 9 to 10 years 13 and older Placing items into similar categories Summarizing, highlighting, keywords, and other strategies used to remember written material As a general rule, strategy use is associated with better memory, and this relationship is strongest among children age 10 and older (Bjorklund & Douglas, 1997). Though children Section 4.3 Influences on Explicit Memory Development younger than 6 or 7 typically do not spontaneously use these strategies, they can be trained to do so (Bjorklund, Miller, Coyle, & Slawinski, 1997). However, there are often limitations in the effectiveness of strategy use for children of this age. Children may not execute the strategy very well, or they may fail to use it spontaneously, even when it can be shown to benefit recall (Clerc & Miller, 2013). As children are acquiring a strategy, the relationship between strategy use and recall is weaker or not present (Schwenck, Bjorklund, & Schneider, 2007). This limitation during strategy development is often due to a utilization deficiency (Clerc & Miller, 2013). This deficiency occurs when children are spontaneously using the strategy, but it does not benefit their recall. It is also exhibited when children are prompted to use a strategy by an adult without it helping their recall (Schwenck et al., 2007). One explanation for why children younger than age 6 do not consistently use strategies, even after training, is that it takes mental effort or cognitive load to execute a strategy, such as rehearsal, when it is being acquired (Clerc & Miller, 2013). For example, using a strategy such as rehearsal takes deliberate effort; one must repeat and update the items being rehearsed. Thus, so much effort is being expended on the strategy that it does not benefit recall. On the other hand, when adults execute the strategy for children, repeating the information aloud to them, children remember more because it reduces the child’s cognitive load, such as working memory (DeMarie-Dreblow & Miller, 1988; Schneider et al., 2004). Additionally, the new strategy may interfere with less effective strategies that the child is using already. Children also may not recognize the benefit of using a strategy (Cleric & Miller, 2013). When they do employ a strategy such as rehearsal, they may not do so effectively. In a memory task that involves recalling a series of pictures, children may use rehearsal as they are exposed to each picture. Children age 10 and older may repeat the names of several pictures and update the words as new pictures are introduced. Younger children, around age 7, may only repeat one name at a time, and as a new picture is presented, they drop the previous name they were rehearsing. Thus, they may not remember the pictures as well as older children, who use a more effective rehearsal strategy to maintain multiple words (Schwenck et al., 2007). Spotlight on Research: Memory Strategies in the Classroom How do children acquire intentional memory strategies? Researchers investigating this question have learned that teachers can facilitate the acquisition of memory strategies by using memoryrelevant language during instruction (Grammer, Coffman, & Ornstein, 2013). In one study, firstand second-grade children were randomly assigned to one of two instructional conditions. The conditions varied in terms of how much memory-relevant language was used by teachers trained in memory-relevant instructional techniques. As illustrated in Table 4.2, ­memory-relevant language consisted of making strategy suggestions for remembering information. It also included asking metamemory questions regarding why children selected the strategy they did. Teachers in the other instructional group did not include either strategy suggestions or metamemory questions. Children in the memory-relevant condition engaged in more effective strategy use and had higher levels of strategic knowledge in a memory task that was administered after the training session and in a second session a month later (Grammer et al., 2013). (continued) Section 4.3 Influences on Explicit Memory Development Spotlight on Research: Memory Strategies in the Classroom (continued) Table 4.2: Memory-relevant instructional techniques Definitions Example Instructional techniques Strategy suggestions Metacognitive questions Recommending that a child adopt a method or procedure for remembering or processing information. Requesting that a child provide a potential strategy, utilized strategy, or rationale for a strategy he or she has indicated using. “If you are having trouble thinking of ways to connect the wheel to the axle, you can look at the diagram to help you.” “How did you figure out which pieces you would need to build a sturdy structure? How did you know that would work?” Instructional techniques co-occurring with deliberate memory demands Instructional activities Cognitive structuring activities Metacognitive information Requests for information from memory and the presentation of instructional information by the teacher. “Today we will be building our own cars. Who knows the first step we take when building a new structure?” Requests for information from memory and the provision or solicitation of metacognitive information. “What kind of gear is this? What clue did you use to help you figure that out?” Requests for information from memory and teacher instruction that could impact the encoding and retrieval of information, such as focusing attention or organizing material. “All of these modes of transportation have wheels. What is another vehicle that you have seen around town that also has wheels?” Source: Grammer, J., Coffman, J. L., & Ornstein, P. (2013). The effect of teachers’ memory-relevant language on children’s strategy use and knowledge. Child Development, 84(6), 1989–2002. Reprinted with permission from John Wiley & Sons. Critical-Thinking Questions 1. Would the strategies described in Table 4.2 be useful for children in preschool or kindergarten? Why or why not? 2. What modifications might be necessary in order to make some of these strategies useful for children younger than first grade? The Role of Knowledge in Memory Development In addition to strategies, knowledge contributes to memory development. If asked to recall new information about topics with which they are already very familiar, both children and adults remember more new information about topics they already know compared to topics Influences on Explicit Memory Development Section 4.3 with which they are unfamiliar (Haden, 2014). As we will see, effects of knowledge are found in highly specialized domains, such as chess and dinosaurs, as well as everyday events, such as trips to a store (Nelson, 1993). Expertise and Recall Suppose you are an expert on some topic, such as sports or art. When you hear new information about your area of expertise, you will likely recall the information more easily than someone who is unfamiliar with it. In addition to capacity and strategies, prior knowledge of a topic is important for memory development. In a classic study, chess pieces were set up on a chessboard in a meaningful arrangement typical of what would occur in the middle of an actual chess match. Adult chess experts and novices were provided 5 seconds to study the board and then recall the positions. Experts’ knowledge of chess helped them organize the new knowledge and later recall the meaningful positions of the pieces better than chess novices. Experts recalled almost all of the positions, remembering an average of 20 locations, whereas novices recalled about 4 locations. However, when the chess pieces were arranged randomly on the board, the memory advantage of the experts over the novices was eliminated. In the random memory task, chess knowledge was less relevant (Chase & Simon, 1973). Similarly, some researchers have examined whether knowledge differences between older and younger children might account for the developmental improvement in memory performance that occurs with age. After all, older children have had the opportunity to learn more about many topics than have younger children, and thus have more “expertise.” A clever way to explore this is to reverse knowledge differences between younger and older children to see if it is possible to reverse memory differences. If knowledge accounts for children’s better memory performance, younger children should be able to recall more than older children or even adults if they know more about a topic. For example, in one study researchers compared 10-year-old children who were chess experts to adults who were chess novices. The child experts recalled more from a chess memory task than the adult novices. However, on a digit-span memory task, used as a control for general memory ability, the adult novices had the advantage. This suggests that the children’s better chess memory was due to greater chess knowledge and not to better overall memory (Chi, 1978; see Schneider, Gruber, Gold & Opwis, 1993, for related chess findings). Similar patterns have been found for young children who are experts about dinosaurs or soccer (Chi & Koeske, 1983; Schneider & Bjorklund, 1992). Together, these findings suggest that knowledge can reduce or eliminate age differences in memory performance, supporting claims that knowledge contributes to developmental improvements in memory performance. Event Memory Children’s memory for everyday experiences, or event memory, can also be used to demonstrate the role of knowledge in memory development. Event memory involves the use of scripts, which are generalized knowledge structures regarding familiar events and a type of semantic memory. An example of a basic script could involve preschoolers describing what happens at a birthday party or a trip to the beach. They are able to report the correct sequence of events in a skeletal manner. For instance, they may report that for a birthday party, “you eat cake and get presents.” Notice there is not much detail provided in these scripts. These memories are nevertheless more organized than traditional memory tasks, such as picture recall, Influences on Explicit Memory Development Section 4.3 for 3- or 4-year old children. Older children show the same basic structural organization but include more details in their script memories (Nelson, 1993). Children have more knowledge and experience going to parties than recalling random lists of pictures. This organization is reflected in their recall of a correct sequence of activities. Another characteristic of script recall is that it is more general than specific; for example, children are more likely to report what typically happens at a birthday rather than a specific party. They are also likely to use the present tense rather than the past tense and use the general “you” and not “I” when referring to participants (French, 1986). Table 4.3 illustrates the developmental progression from 3- to 8-year-olds in their script for making cookies (Nelson & Gruendel, 1981). Notice how these scripts become increasingly detailed with age. However, even the 3-year-old’s script has a temporal structure of the correct order and refers to the general “you.” Table 4.3: Cookie-making scripts of children ages 3 to 8 years Age of child Script 3 years, 1 month Well, you bake them and eat them. 4.5 years My Mommy puts chocolate chips inside the cookies. Then ya put ’em in the oven.… Then we take them out, put them on the table and eat them. 6 years Add three cups of butter… add three lumps of butter.… Two cups of sugar, one cup of flour. Mix it up… knead it. Get it in a pan, put it in the oven. Bake it … set it up to 30. Take it out and it’ll be cookies. 8 years, 8 months First, you need a bowl, a bowl, and you need about two eggs and chocolate chips and an egg-beater! And then you gotta crack open and put it in a bowl and ya gotta get the chips and mix it together. And put it in a stove for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then you have cookies. Then ya eat them! Source: Nelson, K., & Gruendel, J. (1981). Generalized event representations: Basic building blocks of cognitive development. In M. Lamb & A. Brown (Eds.), Advances in developmental psychology (Vol. 1) (pp. 131–158). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Children develop script memories prior to developing episodic memories for frequently experienced events (Brubacher, Glisic, Roberts, & Powell, 2011). When young children, such as 4-year-olds, are asked to recall a particular episode of a specific event in which they have had several experiences, such as a birthday party, their episodic memory is generally poor. They often will have false intrusions of specific details from other birthday parties in their recall. For example, they may not remember whether they had chocolate cake at Billy’s party or Alicia’s party. However, their general script memory is correct. Older children, such as 7-year-olds, typically can recall the details of a specific episode (Farrar & Boyer-Pennington, 1999). On the other hand, even young children have fairly good episodic memories for single one-time events. Their difficulty is recalling a specific instance of a type of event that has been repeated several times. In order to remember a particular episode of a frequently experienced event, children need to have established a script to help organize the new experiences. Thus, as with capacities and strategies, knowledge contributes to developmental improvements in memory. Knowledge improves memory in three ways. First, prior knowledge provides a structure for organizing the details of new material to be remembered. In a sense, Influences on Explicit Memory Development Section 4.3 it provides the files to store the new information. A script for an event, for instance, helps organize the specific details of particular event experience. Second, knowledge can help make inferences about what might have occurred. For example, the chess experts could infer that certain arrangements would never occur in the context of a chess game. The novices would be less likely to be able to recognize these patterns. Third, knowledge can enhance automaticity, or how quickly information is processed. An expert can quickly recognize the chess pieces or event script and can therefore devote more cognitive resources to processing the new information. Metamemory and Memory Development What do you know about memory? Most likely you know that memorizing an entire book would be extremely difficult and take a long time. When studying for an exam, you usually have a sense of how well you are learning the material. These examples are illustrations of metamemory, the fourth factor that contributes to memory development. Metamemory is a specific type of metacognition, which refers to awareness of different aspects of one’s own thinking and particular cognitive processes. Metamemory involves conscious and explicit knowledge of one’s own memory as well as memory in general. It includes understanding what strategies are effective, which memory tasks are going to be difficult, and which will be easy. For example, if asked whether they could memorize 50 words in a minute, 5-year-olds are likely to say “yes,” which exhibits poor metamemory. They are very optimistic and tend to overestimate their skills in a wide variety of contexts. This optimism may be adaptive, however, because it enables them to take on challenging tasks (Shin, Bjorklund, & Beck, 2007). Metamemory can be broken down into several dimensions of memory knowledge (Flavell & Wellman, 1977; Lockl & Schneider, 2002; Roebers, 2014). Declarative metamemory is the knowledge of characteristics about oneself (and others), the task, and strategy variables and how these influence memory. For instance, knowing that different memory tasks, such as recall and recognition tasks, may vary in difficulty involves declarative metamemory. Procedural metamemory involves knowing how to perform different memory-related skills. This could involve knowing how to employ an elaboration strategy to assist recall. It is composed of a monitoring component and a control and self-regulation component. Monitoring involves being aware of how well you will perform or are performing a memory task. For example, prior to learning new material to be recalled later, children might be asked how easy it will be to learn the information. Self-regulation or control refers to the ability to use strategies effectively based on knowledge of the memory task. This includes using study time judiciously based on the difficulty of the material to be learned (Roebers, 2014). Overall, as is the case with strategy development, substantial improvements have been observed in children’s metamemory between ages 5 and 12 (Fritz, Howie, & Kleitman, 2010; Sodian, Schneider, & Perlmutter, 1986). In a memory study of second and third graders, children were asked to recall a list of words that could be clustered into categories. Metamemory was assessed through a series of questions about different aspects of memory. The number of items children recalled was directly related to their metamemory and their use of the categorical organization strategy (Pierce & Lange, 2000). Influences on Explicit Memory Development Section 4.3 Other factors such as language proficiency are also associated with strategy use. Children with better language skills can more efficiently and automatically use a language-based strategy such as rehearsal. A recent study examined the dual effects of language proficiency and metamemory in a word recall test of 5- to 11-year-olds. Metamemory was assessed by asking children questions, including whether it would be easier to remember four or eight words and how many cards they would be able to remember from a set. These questions were asked prior to learning and recalling the cards. Children were then instructed to study the cards and recall them later. Both metamemory and language variables were related to recall memory and the use of rehearsal. The strength of the effect of metamemory was affected by children’s language proficiency. Children with higher language skills and more accurate metamemory scores remembered more than those who scored lower in these abilities (Bebko et al., 2014). Source monitoring is a metamemory skill that can affect the accuracy of children’s memory. Source monitoring refers to an individual’s ability to identify the source of the information he or she recalls (Foley, 2014). That is, did the child actually experience the event, or did the child hear about it from his or her parents or watch it on television? Younger children aged 3 and 4 have difficulty in source monitoring (Roberts & Blades, 1999). According to researchers, identifying the source of a memory requires comparing the memory characteristics of different experiences (Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993). Actual experienced events typically have richer details involving the context and perceptual aspects (color, emotions, and so on) than events that were only heard about. Further, the more distinctive events are in these characteristics, the easier it is to identify their source. For instance, a child who experiences one event involving a boy and a similar event involving a girl will be better able to distinguish these events than if the two events each involved a girl (Lindsay, Johnson, & Kwon, 1991). Children with better source-monitoring abilities can more accurately recall episodic events (Thierry, Lamb, & Orbach, 2003). It is possible to improve children’s source-monitoring abilities through training. It is generally easier to improve source monitoring for events experienced live or watched on videos in 5- and 6-year-olds than in younger children (Thierry et al., 2003). However, preschool children who were trained on source monitoring on one set of events were able to transfer their new source-monitoring skills to identify the source for a different set of live and televised events (Thierry, Lamb, Pipe, & Spence, 2010). Thus, even 3- and 4-year-olds can be trained on source monitoring. Overall, improvements in memory can be attributed to all four components: capacity, strategies, knowledge, and metamemory. To examine the relative importance of most of these factors, researchers in one study measured recall memory for words in 5- to 11-year-olds. Children’s working memory was assessed using both a backward digit-span task and a word-span task. Their use of strategies was assessed, including categorical organization, rehearsal, and “self-testing” (assessing how many words they were recalling). Metamemory was measured by asking about their strategy use during specific trials (DeMarie, Miller, Ferron, & Cunningham, 2004). The components affected recall memory in different ways. If children had poor metamemory and low capacity, strategy use had only a small effect on the number of words recalled. If both Section 4.3 Influences on Explicit Memory Development were high, however, increases in strategy use had a stronger impact on recall. The study demonstrates that capacity, strategy, and metamemory interact to influence memory development (DeMarie et al., 2004). One of the study’s limitations was that the influence of knowledge was not examined, although it likely also makes a separate contribution to memory development. Neuroscience and Memory Development Many of the changes that occur in memory development can be attributed to brain development (Bachevalier, 2014). The development of implicit and explicit memory during infancy and early childhood are associated with specific brain regions (Richmond & Nelson, 2008). Specifically, the Question to Consider development of the implicit, unconscious memories during the first few months of life has been linked to the How can teachers apply an understand­ development of the striatum, cerebellum, and brain ing of the fundamentals of memory stem. These regions allow implicit memories, such as operant and classical conditioning procedures. The development to the education of children? development of more explicit memories late in the first Choose a specific grade or age level and year has been linked to development of the hippocam- consider how knowledge, strategies, and pus, which is located near the temporal lobe, and the metamemory each could be incorporated prefrontal cortex (Bachevalier, 2014; Richmond & Nel- to aid children’s memory development. son, 2008). Figure 4.4 illustrates the role of different brain regions in memory. Figure 4.4: Brain regions associated with memory Different memory functions are related to entirely different regions of the brain. Of particular relevance to the development of explicit memory is the hippocampus. Implicit memory is linked to the cerebellum, striatum, and brain stem. Stratium Hippocampus Brain stem Cerebellum Section 4.4 Autobiographical Memory 4.4 Autobiographical Memory Autobiographical memories are personally significant memories about the self. The evidence shows that infants remember their experiences and that these memories can persist over relatively long periods. Why, then, do adults have difficulty remembering their experiences of infancy or even early childhood? As mentioned earlier, infantile or childhood amnesia is the inability to recall these early experiences. Figure 4.5 illustrates the likelihood of adults recalling positive and negative events that occurred at different ages during their early childhood. Most adults are able to recall events from around age 4, although some report memories as early as age 1 to 2. Negative memories tended to be the first memories, but both negative and positive recollections occurred at most ages (Wells, Morrison, & Conway, 2014). Figure 4.5: Age of adults’ earliest memories Adults’ recall of positive and negative memories from different ages of childhood. Most adults’ earliest negative memories are of events that took place around age 4. Positive memories tend to develop somewhat later. 0.2 Age of earliest memory recalled Negative memories 0.15 0.1 Positive memories 0.05 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Probability of recalling a memory at different ages Source: Wells, C., Morrison, C., & Conway, M. (2014). Adult recollections of childhood memories: What details can be recalled? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67(7), 1249–1261. Reprinted with permission from Taylor & Francis. One of the difficulties in autobiographical memory research is verifying a memory’s accuracy. Parents can help confirm the event, although their memories are subject to distortion as well. A related issue involves source monitoring: Are adults actually remembering an event from their own childhood, or are they recalling a story they were told or a video they have seen? Piaget reported that for years he remembered being kidnapped as a young child. It turned out this never happened. His nanny made up the story to cover up a robbery (Piaget, 1951). Some research has shown that as both children and adults get older, the age of their earliest memory gets older as well (Wang & Peterson, 2014). In other words, a child of 5 might remember an event that occurred when he or she was 2 years old. In adulthood, the same individual might remember only events that occurred when he or she was 5. Autobiographical Memory Section 4.4 There have been a number of different explanations of infantile amnesia and the emergence of autobiographical memories. Sigmund Freud proposed one early explanation. He argued that our behavior is often controlled and governed by unconscious psychological processes that can be highly distressing because of their sexual content. Freud believed that early memories are present in the subconscious, but that they are repressed from conscious memory because of their content (Freud, 1931). More recently, other explanations have come to the forefront, including ideas of self-concept and social-constructivist perspectives. Self-Concept and Autobiographical Memory A current argument regarding autobiographical memories is that autobiographical memory requires a self-concept. This includes knowledge about the self, including physical and psychological traits. By definition, autobiographical memories are about the self; thus, a selfconcept is needed before these memories can form. It has been proposed that perhaps the reason infants and toddlers do not maintain their memories into adulthood is that they do not have a self-concept to organize autobiographical memories (Howe, Courage, & Edison, 2003). The standard procedure used to assess self-concept for infants and toddlers is the marked mirror task. The experimenter secretly places a red mark on each child’s nose. The children are then placed in front of a mirror to see if they touch their own nose, rather than the nose on the image in the mirror. If they do touch their own nose, it is taken as an indication that they recognize themselves. This physical self-concept emerges around age 18 to 24 months (Gallup, Platek, & Spaulding, 2014), which is the very earliest age at which adults report their earliest childhood experiences (Wells et al., 2014). More complex forms of self-concept develop over the next several years, including an extended view of self (Povinelli, 2001). The extended view of self reflects the understanding that past experiences can affect the state of current self. Interestingly, this extended view of self does not emerge until around age 4 (Povinelli, 2001), the age at which most adults recall their first memories. Thus, there is indirect support for a link between self-concept and the development of autobiographical memory. Social-Constructivist Perspectives on Autobiographical Memory We have millions of experiences throughout our lives. Why do we retain some as part of our autobiographical memory system and forget others? One perspective on the emergence of autobiographical memory adopts a social-constructivist or Vygotskian view (Nelson & Fivush, 2004). As you may recall from Chapter 1, the social-constructivist approach argues that cognitive development takes place in the context of social interactions. Parents and children often discuss past experiences such as family vacations and birthday parties using memory talk, or conversations about previous experiences. Two different types of parental memory talk have been identified. An elaborative style occurs when parents create a rich narrative or description of the past event. They expand on what the child says by adding detail and eliciting related information. A repetitive style is characterized by the parent asking a series of yes–no questions and not creating a story of the past (Nelson & Fivush, 2004). Table 4.4 provides an example of an elaborative memory style and a repetitive memory style. Section 4.4 Autobiographical Memory Table 4.4: Elaborative and repetitive memory talk styles Elaborative style Repetitive style Mother (M): Do you remember something really, really, really special that you and I got to do? Six-year-old child (C): Uh huh. M:  Do you remember when we were down in Florida? C: Yeah. M: We went to the Omni.… C: Uh huh. And we saw Sesame Street Live. M: What did we do? C: Hmm. Like what? M: Got on the train. … C: Yeah. M: Right. Where were our seats? C: Um, I forget. M: Way up high, how high? C: In the balcony. M:  So high we could see all the over the.… Do you remember? The stage? C: Yeah. M: What did we see? C:  We saw Big Bird. We saw, um the Honkers, we saw Ernie and Bert, we saw Grover. M: And we were dyeing Easter eggs? C: Uh huh. M:  Like remember, well how did we dye the Easter eggs? C:  Oh. Got some little paint something, goes, like that. M: And can you explain more to me what we did? C: Oh. The Easter Bunny came.… M:  But I mean about dyeing the eggs, remember that day we were all dyeing the eggs? Source: Reese, E., Haden, C., & Fivush, R. (1993). Mother–child conversations about the past: Relationships of style and memory over time. Cognitive Development, 8, 403–430. Reprinted with permission from Elsevier.. What do you notice about the two styles? The repetitive mother keeps asking the child the same question about dyeing the eggs even when the child brought up additional information. There is no story in this example. Contrast this to the elaborative mother. She creates a rich narrative or story about seeing Sesame Street Live. She expands on what information the child provides, even though the child’s contribution may initially be quite limited. Children whose parents have an elaborative style tend to recall more about these experiences 1 to 2 years later (Fivush et al., 2006). Interestingly, children do not simply recall what the parents said but recall additional details about the past event. The narratives are facilitative of memory for three reasons. First, they serve as a reminder of the previous event. Reminders enhance memory at all ages. Second, memory talk also illustrates to the child the importance of social bonding by conversing about interactions with important people. Third, memory talk provides children with a narrative framework for talking about the past (see Fivush, 2009). As noted above, children whose parents use an elaborative style have better recall of these events a year or so later. Are these parental style differences in the preschool years related to later autobiographical memory? A recent longitudinal study followed children from preschool to adolescence. When the children were preschoolers, maternal style was assessed as the children and parents discussed past experiences. When these children were adolescents, they were interviewed about their earliest memories. Those adolescents whose parents used the elaborative style had earlier memories than those who used a repetitive style (Jack, MacDonald, Reese, & Hayne, 2009). Cross-cultural comparisons have also demonstrated differences in earliest autobiographical memories based on narrative styles. Specifically, adults from Asian cultures tend to have later first autobiographical memories than adults of European descent (Wang, 2006). Many of Eyewitness Testimony these cultural differences have been attributed to parental style differences. For instance, Asian parents tend to discuss past events less than parents from Western cultures (Wang, 2006). Gender differences have also been found as well, with females having earlier autobiographical memories than males. This may be because parents tend to engage in less elaborative memory talk with boys than with girls (Fivush, Berlin, Sales, Mennuti-Washburn & Cassidy, 2003; Grysman & Hudson, 2013). Section 4.5 Questions to Consider 1. Why is autobiographical memory important? What would happen if someone lost his or her memories of the past? 2. How might autobiographical memory be used to aid children’s academic learning? How could it help their social development? 4.5 Eyewitness Testimony Imagine that you are on a jury listening to the testimony of a preschool child aged 3 to 5 years. The child is the only eyewitness to a crime involving sexual and physical abuse against him or her, or against someone else. Would you believe the child’s testimony? Why or why not? During the past 25 years, these types of cases have generated considerable media attention. Concerns often raised against relying on children’s testimony include beliefs that their memories are inaccurate, that children are highly suggestible, and that they do not understand the difference between the truth and a lie (Malloy, Mitchell, Block, Quas, & Goodman, 2007). Understanding the basic aspects of memory development is of utmost importance in high-stakes situations like this. More broadly, concerns regarding accuracy of eyewitness testimony illustrate the constructive nature of memory. Forming a memory for an event is not the same as making a video recording of the event. Memories of experiences are reconstructions, which means that they can be modified by postevent experiences. This can include the questions or information of others, as well as changes in mood or mental state (Howes & O’Shea). Glow Images/Superstock Allowing children to testify in court as eyewitnesses has raised concerns regarding the accuracy of their memory. A major concern regarding children’s testimony is that young children are suggestible and can be easily influenced by the statements and questions of others. Once abuse is suspected, children are questioned many times by parents, lawyers, and police. During these interviews, adults may make suggestions about what happened to the child. Sometimes these suggestions are made to elicit testimony or memories of abuse, since children may be reluctant or embarrassed to talk about it. The concern is that over time, children may come to believe that the suggestions are true even when they are false (see Price & Connolly, 2013). Eyewitness Testimony Section 4.5 A court case in New Jersey illustrates this problem. A preschool teacher was convicted on multiple charges of child abuse of 20 preschoolers and sentenced to 47 years in prison. The charges were quite graphic. The only witnesses to this abuse were the preschoolers. No adults observed any of the abuse, which took place over a 7-month period. The abuse allegations began based on the comments of a single child to a pediatrician. This led other parents to question their children, which resulted in the preschool teacher’s prosecution and conviction based almost entirely on the children’s testimony. The preschool teacher appealed on the grounds that the interviews were highly suggestive and created false memories in children. Provided below is an example of a recorded interview session between a child, a detective, and a social worker who had previously interviewed the child on several occasions. It was included as part of the appeal. Social worker (SW): Don’t be so unfriendly, I thought we were buddies last time. Child (C): Nope, not any more. SW: We have gotten a lot of other kids to help us since I last saw you.… Did we tell you that [the teacher] is in jail? C: Yes. My mother already told me. SW: Did I tell you that this is the guy [pointing to the detective (D)] that arrested her?… We can get out of here real quick if you just tell me what you told me last time.… C: I forgot. SW: No you didn’t. I know you didn’t. C: I did! I did!… SW: Oh, come on. We talked to a few of your friends. And everyone told me about the nap room, and the bathroom stuff, and the music room stuff.… Come on, do you want to help us out? Do you want to keep her in jail? Real quick, will you just tell me what happened with the wooden spoon? C: I forgot. Detective (D): Now listen you have to behave. SW: Do you want to tell him to behave? Are you going to be a good boy, huh? While you were here did he [D] show you his badge and handcuffs? (Ceci & Bruck, 1993, pp. 422–423) As you can see, the child was pressured to provide testimony and was given suggestions about what happened. Further, threats of punishment were made if he did not provide the correct testimony. This interview was typical of many of the interviews conducted with the children. After spending 5 years in prison, the teacher had her conviction overturned and was released Eyewitness Testimony Section 4.5 from prison. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the interviews were coercive and used suggestive techniques (State v. Michaels, 1993). Thus, because of this and similar cases, some argue that in most cases the testimony of preschool children, generally from age 3 to 5 years, is too unreliable to be used in criminal trials (see Klemfuss & Ceci, 2013, for a discussion). Although concern can be raised about the testimony of children of all ages, special attention has been directed toward preschool children. This is partly because of their central involvement in high-profile cases, but primarily because of their cognitive immaturity and limitations; for instance, as described by Piagetian theory (see Chapter 1). Most developmental researchers would agree that the techniques used in the New Jersey criminal trial were inappropriate. This does not mean, though, that children’s testimony is always unreliable. There has been extensive research examining the influences on children’s testimony, such as the extent of their accuracy, their suggestibility, and ways to optimize the validity of their testimony. Suggestibility Research If children’s eyewitness testimony tends to be inaccurate, then it should be fairly easy to lead children to have false memories in laboratory studies of memory. In these studies, researchers attempt to mislead children by asking questions that include false statements. For example, the child might be asked about the physical description of experimenter, “He wore glasses, didn’t he?,” when in fact he did not (Quas et al., 2007). In one study, 4- and 7-year-old children visited a university playroom to play some games with a male experimenter. One child participated and the other observed. The games included activities of thumb wrestling, putting on a clown outfit, and having their picture taken. All of these activities were perfectly innocent, but under questioning by a concerned or suspicious parent, these events could take on a more sinister meaning. A week later, children were interviewed by another experimenter about their experiences under several recall conditions. First, in the free-recall portion of the interview, children were asked to report what happened without the interviewer making any suggestions. Following free recall, children were asked a series of suggestive questions, some of which were true and some of which were false. Examples included “He touched you didn’t he?” and “He took your clothes off, didn’t he?” These questions could suggest some type of abuse. Other types of suggestive questions were of a nonabusive nature (such as, “He had brown hair, didn’t he?”). During free recall, although older children recalled more information than younger ones, neither age group reported events that did not occur. Of particular interest was how they responded to the suggestibility questions. The younger children were more suggestible than the older ones involving the nonabuse misleading questions. However, even for the youngest children, the majority of their answers were correct. For the abuse questions, accuracy rates were even higher: 93% correct for the 7-year-olds and 83% correct for the 4-year-olds. The errors made frequently involved ambiguous questions involving touching. Children who participated in the event were less suggestible than those who observed (Rudy & Goodman, 1991; see Goodman, Pipe, & McWilliams, 2011). Eyewitness Testimony Section 4.5 One limitation of such studies is they do not mirror what happens in the real world when there is an allegation of abuse. In these situations children are interviewed repeatedly, often by family members and strangers. They are under stress, and there is also a long delay between the abusive event and a trial. In one investigation, researchers examined whether it was possible to implant a false memory in children who were interviewed multiple times. Children were questioned repeatedly about real events that happened to them as well as false events that never occurred, such as going on a hot air balloon ride (Ceci, Huffman, Smith, & Loftus, 1994). A sizable number of children reported the false event actually happened to them and even added additional details that the experimenter never mentioned! They “recalled” the false memory even though the experimenter warned children that not all the events they would be asked about had actually occurred (Ceci et al., 1994). When reinterviewed 2 years later about the same true and false events, children still accurately remembered the true events. Interestingly, however, only half the number of children still recalled the false event, and many recanted their earlier testimony (Huffman, Crossman, & Ceci, 1997). Research has also shown that repeated questioning is not necessary to implant a false memory (Ceci, Kulkofsky, Klemfloss, Sweeney, & Bruck, 2007). This type of research raises serious ethical issues. In order to conduct these types of experiments, researchers must get approval from a university Institutional Review Board, which is focused on protecting participants. Furthermore, parents must give their permission for their child to participate. After the experiment is over, the researchers must explain to the child (that is, debrief) that some of the events they were asked about were false. Despite these precautions, ethical concerns can still be raised regarding the types of questions children are asked and the implanting of false memories. Source monitoring, previously described in the metamemory section, also affects the accuracy of children’s testimony. Many different people likely interview children thought to be victims of abuse, and interview them numerous times. This includes parents, police, lawyers, and social workers. In order to elicit children’s memories, suggestions about what happened are made. When later testifying, children may have difficulty accurately identifying the source from which information was obtained. Spotlight on Research: Stress and Memory in Children From everyday classroom lessons to high-stakes testing, children are often asked to remember information when they are under stress. Perhaps not surprisingly, research has found that children’s stress or anxiety has an adverse effect on some measures of memory (Cheie, Miclea, & Visu-Petra, 2014). Being asked to remember events as an eyewitness in a courtroom is perhaps among the most stressful experiences a child might face, especially if the trial is related to his or her own abuse. Not only could it be difficult or painful, but it is likely that stress might affect his or her testimony. Studying the impact of such stress is a challenge for researchers, since it is unethical to expose children to high levels of stress. However, researchers have found ways to examine previously occurring stressful situations to investigate their effect on memory (Greenhoot, Ornstein, ­Gordon, & Baker-Ward, 1999). (continued) Eyewitness Testimony Section 4.5 Spotlight on Research: Stress and Memory in Children (continued) A recent study investigated memory in 322 abused or neglected children from age 3 to 16 years (Eisen, Goodman, Qin, Davis, & Crayton, 2007). As part of the standard forensic investigation after their abuse was reported, children underwent a potentially stressful medical procedure, which included an anogenital examination, and had blood samples taken. The researchers used these blood samples to assess children’s stress levels by measuring cortisol, a stress hormone. Children’s ratings of their own stress levels were also obtained, as were measures of their dissociative symptoms, characterized by children talking to themselves, hearing voices, and other signs associated with trauma or extreme stress. Children’s memory of the physical exam was assessed 5 days later. Those children who had high cortisol levels and reported dissociative tendencies had high memory errors. They tended to be more suggestible to misleading questions and had poorer recall of the medical procedures. This was not found for children who did not report dissociative symptoms or had low cortisol levels. Finally, those children who had confirmed abuse experiences had greater accuracy compared to children who were neglected by their parents. Together these results indicate that children can have accurate memories if they have been abused. However, their memory is negatively affected by the presence of stress and dissociative symptoms (Eisen et al., 2007). Critical-Thinking Questions 1. What types of situations in the home or at school can lead children to feel stress? 2. What impact could stress have on a child’s academic performance, and what steps can be done to help alleviate such stress? Does the research in children’s eyewitness testimony suggest that 3- and 4-year-old preschoolers are credible witnesses? The overall accuracy rates in free recall are relatively high. This is consistent with the findings described earlier for script and episodic memory. Clearly, children can report events that did not occur, particularly when misleading questions are used. How can teachers, parents, and law enforcement officials use this research to investigate claims of abuse? It may always be difficult to know if a particular child is accurately testifying about an event (as it often is with adults). However, one of the benefits derived from studies of children’s testi- Question to Consider mony is the development of standardized interview procedures. These guidelines from the National Insti- At the beginning of this section, you were tute of Child Health and Human Development are asked to imagine being on a jury that designed to maximize the accuracy of children’s testiwas evaluating a child’s testimony. Now mony (Lamb, Orbach, Hershkowitz, Esplin, & Howowitz, 2007). They include procedures for establishing a imagine that you are the judge providing rapport with the child to make the child feel comfort- instructions to a jury regarding how able. Also, and critically, these guidelines provide exten- to weigh the child’s testimony. What sive interview protocols for using effective questioning instructions and guidance would you techniques to elicit accurate testimony. No one wants an provide the jury? innocent person to be convicted or a guilty person to get away with a crime. Summary and Resources Summary and Resources Chapter Summary • • • • • • • • • • • • • Information-processing models of memory describe different memory stores, including short-term memory, working memory, and long-term memory. The capacity and duration of these memories increase with age through adolescence and young adulthood. Short-term memory is a temporary memory store for holding information received from the senses; working memory is closely related and involves the manipulation of information during problem solving. Long-term memory is used to store information for extended periods and is often permanent. There are different forms of long-term memory. A distinction is made between implicit and explicit memories, which are unconscious and conscious memories, respectively. Implicit memory first emerges in infancy and is exhibited in classical and operant conditioning and priming. Explicit memory comprises semantic (general information) and episodic (a specific event) memories. Infants can demonstrate both recognition and recall memory using a variety of techniques. These include habituation, operant conditioning, and deferred imitation. After infancy, the development of explicit memory continues to develop in early childhood through adolescence. Improvements in children’s memory recall have been attributed to capacity, strategies, knowledge, and metamemory. During the elementary school period, children begin to use a variety of strategies to facilitate recall, such as rehearsal and elaboration. The strategies become more efficient and effective with practice. As children’s knowledge of different topics develop, their recall of new information relevant to that domain increases. Metamemory includes conscious knowledge of memory, such as what are easy and hard memory tasks, the use of strategies, and the ability to monitor one’s own memory performance. Infantile or childhood amnesia is an adult’s inability to recall childhood experiences that occurred before age 4 for most adults, which is the age for establishing autobiographical memories. There are a variety of explanations for why childhood amnesia ends and how autobiographical memories emerge. According to one perspective, the development of a self-concept is necessary for autobiographical memory. The social-constructivist view proposes that memory talk between parents and children about past experiences leads to autobiographical memory development; an elaborative style is more beneficial than a repetitive style in forming memory. The accuracy of children’s eyewitness testimony is affected by several factors, including what interview techniques are used. Preschool children are more suggestible than older children. However, under proper interview techniques, young children can give accurate testimony. Stress can also directly impact memory for traumatic events, as can psychological conditions related to stress or trauma, such as dissociative symptoms. Summary and Resources Posttest Questions 1. Semantic memory is best described as a type of memory. a. b. c. d. implicit procedural long-term sensory a. b. c. d. working memory episodic memory short-term memory sensory memory a. b. c. d. encoding retrieval consolidation utilization a. b. c. d. habituation–dishabituation deferred imitation operant conditioning classical conditioning a. b. c. d. 1 month 6 months 12 months 24 months a. b. c. d. Child experts had better chess memory and digit-span memory. Adult novices had better chess memory and digit-span memory. Child experts had better chess memory. Child experts and adult novices were similar on both memory tasks. a. b. c. d. script implicit episodic procedural 2. What type of memory store is centrally involved in engaging in mental arithmetic, such as 23 × 6? 3. According to the information-processing approach, which memory process is involved in stabilizing and integrating a memory? 4. Which of the following techniques would NOT be appropriate for measuring implicit memory in infancy? 5. At what age do explicit memories first appear? 6. In comparing memory for child chess experts versus adult chess novices, which of the following statements is true? 7. General memory for a routine event is referred to as memory. Summary and Resources 8. Which type of intentional memory strategy appears first in development? a. b. c. d. elaboration rehearsal categorical information text based a. b. c. d. repetitive narrative expansive elaborative a. b. c. d. 1 4 7 10 a. b. c. d. source-monitoring skills use of leading questions repeated questioning inhibitory control a. b. c. d. high stress; no dissociative symptoms low stress; dissociative symptoms high stress; dissociative symptoms low high stress; no dissociative symptoms 9. Parents who provide rich narratives and create a story of previous events are using what type of memory talk? 10. Most adults’ earliest childhood memory occurred at what age? 11. Which of the following factors is related to decreases in children’s suggestibility? 12. Memory studies of abused children indicate that they have poorer memory if they show and . Critical-Thinking Questions 1. Memory is foundational for all cognitive development. Describe how developmental changes in each of the different types of memory stores can lead to improvements in cognitive skills such as problem solving. 2. Should memory strategies be part of the core educational curriculum? If not, why not? If so, at what ages should training be implemented, and how should it be provided? 3. Selecting either autobiographical memory or eyewitness memory, apply your understanding of basic memory stores and processes to explain how they contribute to this type of memory. Summary and Resources Key Terms autobiographical memories Personally significant memories about the self. capacity The amount of information that a memory store can hold. categorical organization A memory strategy of placing items to be recalled in semantically related categories; also known as clustering or chunking. classical conditioning A form of implicit memory in which a neutral stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus repeatedly, until the neutral stimulus elicits the automatic response originally associated with the unconditioned stimulus. consolidation A memory process of integrating information into long-term memory. cumulative rehearsal A memory strategy characterized by repeating several words at a time and dropping the earliest words in the list when new words are added. declarative metamemory The knowledge of how characteristics pertinent to a task influence memory. deferred imitation A procedure used to demonstrate recall memory in which infants observe an action and then repeat it after some delay. elaboration A memory strategy involving creating a vivid mental image of the material to be remembered. elaborative style A narrative style in which parents create a descriptive narrative of a past event they are discussing with children. encoding A memory process of paying attention to the stimulus to be remembered. episodic memory Memory for a specific event that occurred at a particular time. event memory Memory for everyday experiences, such as what happens at a birthday party or what was served at lunch yesterday, or for unusual experiences. explicit memory A memory that is consciously available, including memories for information and experiences. Consists of both semantic and episodic memories. flashbulb memories A type of episodic memory in which a person recalls the details of his or her personal experience (the location, other people present, and so on) of a highly salient historical event. implicit memory A memory that we are not consciously aware of, such as procedural memories and conditioning. infantile or childhood amnesia The inability of older children and adults to recall their early childhood experiences. long-term memory The central memory store of long-lasting memories, with essentially unlimited capacity and a long duration. memory talk Memory conversations between parent and child about previously shared events. metamemory Conscious and explicit knowledge about memory, including one’s own memory capabilities and various memory strategies. monitoring A type of metamemory that involves awareness of how well one is performing a memory task. Summary and Resources operant conditioning A form of implicit memory in which the likelihood of increasing or decreasing a behavior depends on whether it is reinforced or punished. priming A type of implicit memory that occurs when a stimulus becomes easier to process with repeated presentations. procedural metamemory A component of metamemory reflecting awareness that intentional behavior is required to help one remember something. recall memory A memory retrieved of a stimulus without the stimulus being present at the time of recall. recognition memory The knowledge that one had previously experienced a presented stimulus. rehearsal A memory strategy of repeating information to be remembered. repetitive style A narrative style in which parents ask children a series of yes–no questions without creating a story of the past. retrieval A memory process of recalling information from long-term memory. scripts General knowledge structures for familiar events, such as going to the grocery store or what typically happens at a birthday party. self-regulation A component of metamemory involving the awareness that one is ready to recall something one has learned. semantic memory Explicit memory of general information; for instance, memory for word meanings and scientific information. sensory memory A memory store for information received from the environment, with a very brief duration (less than a second). short-term memory A temporary memory store of limited capacity and duration (approximately 30 seconds). source monitoring A process in which individuals identify where they obtained information they recall. suggestible The tendency to modify one’s memory due to the statements or questions of others. text strategies Strategies for remembering written text material, which include highlighting text and summarizing textbook material. utilization deficiency The spontaneous use of a memory strategy that does not lead to memory improvement. Additional Resources Web Resources The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Protocol: Interview Guide http://nichdprotocol.com/NICHDProtocol2.pdf This guide provides information about the proper interviewing techniques for children. Effective Memory Strategies for Special Needs Children http://www.educationcorner.com/special-needs-memory-strategies.html This site provides memory strategies that work well for children with disabilities and special needs. Summary and Resources Family Narratives Lab http://www.psychology.emory.edu/cognition/fivush/lab/FivushLabWebsite This is the website of Robyn Fivush, a leading memory-development researcher who examines autobiographical memory from a social-constructivist approach; the link for her research lab describes her research projects. Further Reading Bauer, P. J., & Fivush, R. (2014). The Wiley handbook on the development of children’s memory (Vols. 1–2). West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. This two-volume set reviews current perspectives on a wide range of memory topics in childhood. Schneider, W. (2015). Memory development from early childhood through emerging adulthood. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. This book from Wolfgang Schneider—an influential researcher who often conducts longitudinal studies of memory development—covers many of the aspects of memory considered in this text. Answers and Rejoinders to Chapter 4 Pretest 1. True. Information in long-term memory is often permanent, although it may be forgotten. However, not all information in long-term memory is permanent. 2. True. Studies have shown that infants can remember some of their experiences for short periods. 3. False. Memory capacity does increase with age, but changes in strategies and knowledge also play important roles. 4. True. Most adults report their first memories as occurring between ages 4 and 8, with the majority around age 4. 5. False. Although it is possible to implant a false memory in children, it is also possible to do so with adults. Evidence suggests that following proper interview techniques reduces the likelihood of implanting false memories in children. Answers and Rejoinders to Chapter 4 Posttest 1. c. long-term Semantic memory is a form of long-term memory involving general information, such as the names of different animals. It is contrasted with episodic memory, which is long-term memory for specific events. 2. a. working memory To solve this problem it is necessary to keep the products of multiplying the numbers in working memory in order to add them to obtain the answer. 3. c. consolidation Consolidation occurs after encoding and reflects the establishment of a stable memory by the amount of cognitive effort. 4. b. consolidation Deferred imitation is used to study explicit memory. Children watch as the experimenter demonstrates a series of actions, which the infants later recall. Implicit memory is investigated with the other techniques listed. Summary and Resources 5. b. 6 months Infants as young as 6 months old can successfully complete the deferred-imitation task, demonstrating that they have explicit memory. 6. c. Child experts had better chess memory. Child chess experts, because of their greater chess knowledge, were better able to recall chess-relevant information than adult novices. These same children had no advantage on the digit-span test, since it was unrelated to chess knowledge. 7. a. script Scripts are generalized memories for events, such as baking cookies or going on vacation. They represent summaries of several similar experiences. 8. b. rehearsal Rehearsal, which involves repeating presented information in order to remember it, occurs first at around age 7. However, children may not initially execute it well, and thus it might not benefit recall. 9. d. elaborative An elaborative parental style leads children to better remember the past because they are more involved in the construction of a story about a previous event. 10. b. 4 Earliest first memories are typically of events that occurred around age 4, although some have reported even earlier memory. 11. a. source-monitoring skills Source monitoring is a metamemory skill that involves knowing the source of information, such as whether it was actually experienced. 12. c. high stress; dissociative symptoms In a memory test for a medical procedure, children with high levels of stress and dissociative symptoms recalled less of the event 5 days later, compared to other children.

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