Age differences in memory span

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89 Scopus citations


Five-year-olds recalled fewer items than adults in memory-span tasks involving both familiar and unfamiliar faces. This occurred even though the use of rehearsal and recoding strategies was minimized for adults. This residual age difference may be partially accounted for by two further processing limitations in children. The five-year-olds needed more time than adults to name a face (Experiment 1) and to encode a face (Experiment 2). In order to test whether limitations in children's initial recognition and stimulus-identification processes could account for recall performance, Experiment 3 reduced adults' exposure duration in the memory-span task. This led to a drastic reduction in the age difference. Other factors contributing to remaining age differences included adults' adaptability in using various alternative encoding and retrieval strategies which elevated their recall performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-281
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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