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PSYC 3440 (22)
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Chapter 7

Cognitive Development - Chapter 7 summary

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University of Guelph
PSYC 3440
Caron Bell

Chapter 7 – Memory Development Children tend to not have the greatest level of accuracy when it comes to memory recall, and will often report false memories. o E.g. Ceci & Bruck’s (1998) study whereby children were asked leading questions such as “do you remember going to the hospital with a mousetrap on your finger? How did it happen?” and the child would then create a memory about hurting his finger when it never actually happened. o Child eye-witnesses have to be interviewed an average of 10 times to determine accuracy and consistency of reports Components of a Child’s Memory: o Encoding:  2 parts – verbatim and gist  Verbatim includes literal details of situation (e.g. exact words spoken)  Gist involves general essence/meaning of situation  Verbatim lasts for only a short time in the memory, while gist can be held for longer periods. Children tend to rely mostly on verbatim, accounting for poor memory recall.  Prior knowledge and experience helps with encoding and long-term recall as children grow up. o Storage:  Children below the age of six have high suggestibility in terms of their memory storage (greatly influenced by experiences that occur after the memory is formed)  Young children will therefore modify their eye-witness reports to fit better with implications made by leading questions  Younger children also forget things quicker – even if they remember as much as older children in the short-term  Will omit important info from memory, but include info that’s plausible but did not happen o Retrieval:  Children – particularly pre-schoolers - provide more accurate answers when asked open-ended questions (i.e. what did you do in school today?), but will also underreport.  Specific questions closely following an occurrence will encourage children to provide more detailed responses  Encouraging deep-thinking is effective for getting accurate and helpful responses from children (e.g. getting children to draw an occurrence as well as describe it) Explicit and Implicit Memory o Explicit memories:  Can be described verbally  Conscious memories  Can be visualized as a mental image  Requires maturation of certain brain structures (eg striatum, prefrontal cortex and cerebellum) o Implicit memories:  Not obviously evident  Can be detected by measuring solution times and physiological responses  Infants form implicit memories from birth onwards  Supported by hypothalamus which is sufficiently developed in first few months after birth o Association  Pairing stimuli with response (eg. Newborns given sweet solution for turning to the left after a tone sounded quickly learned to turn to the left whenever they heard the tone)  One of the most basic processes; used from birth onwards  Core factor in conditioning and primary learning o Recognition  Present from birth  Apparent in studies of habituation in infants (eg. Becoming less responsive towards stimuli that are presented repeatedly over time)  Habituation in two-month olds can last up to 2 weeks  2 year olds recognize pictures more accurately than adults can recall them o Imitation and Recall  Babies as young as six weeks will imitate adults (eg sticking out their tongue)  By 9 months, babies are able to recall and imitate certain actions (eg pressing a button) 24 hours after exposure  By 14 months, babies can repeat unusual actions (pushing forehead against panel to turn on a light) up to 4 months after seeing an adult do it o Inhibition  In memory recall, sometimes it is necessary to inhibit certain thoughts/concepts that might get in the way of efficient recall (eg. Temporarily forgetting about relationship issues when studying for an exam)  Frontal lobe plays an important part in inhibition, but doesn’t sufficiently start to develop until the end of the first year  This accounts for why infants struggle with A-not-B tasks (they cannot inhibit the memory of where an object was hidden in the past and will continue to reach in the same spot after object is moved)  Performance on these tasks increases significantly between 7 and 12 months o Processing Capacity  Children can recall no more than 4 numbers in a set while adults can recall around 7. The number of symbols people can hold within working memory more than doubles from infancy to adulthood  Young children might not be able to recall as much due to over-expenditure of resources  As children learn to be more efficient in their methods of recall, their processing capacity increases o Processing Speed  Speed of processing increases rapidly from ages 1-5, and continues to increase at a slower rate until adulthood  Familiarity with information being processed and a grasp of how to process info more efficiently might contribute to this increase in speed. o Infantile Amnesia  Most people cannot remember anything before the age of 2-3. Why?  Physiological changes such as maturation of the prefrontal cortex throughout childhood – frontal lobe is not developed enough during infancy to form memories involving explicit verbal descriptions  When parents engage their children in conversations o the past, it helps them to not only recall more memories from when they were younger, but also to store memories and retain them. However, this is not effective before age 3  There are incompatibilities between how infants encode memories and how older children and adults retrieve them Strategies (Cognitive or behavioural activities that are deliberately employed to enhance memory performance) o Searching for Objects  Children aged 18-24 months will utilize strategies when searching for a particular hidden object such as pointing to a hiding spot and naming the object out loud.  Will only use this strategy when searching for a distinctive object (ie Big Bird toy)  8 year-olds will come up with more inventive strategies when searching for an object, such as placing a sticker on a cup that an object is hidden during a game of cup shuffling  5 year-olds will be able to clue in to this strategy with some hints, but a 3 year- old will not be able to understand it. o Rehearsing  When verbatim recall is essential, school-age children tend to repeat info over and over again as a method of studying  Ch
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