Effects of Modality Presentation on Working Memory in School-age Children: Evidence for the Pictorial Superiority Hypothesis
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This study investigated the effects of stimulus presentation modality on working memory performance in elementary school-age children ages 7-13. The experimental paradigm implemented a multitrial learning task incorporating three presentation modalities: Auditory, Visual, and simultaneous Auditory plus Visual. The first experiment compared the learning and memory performance of older and younger elementary school children. The second experiment compared verbal learning and memory performance in elementary school children with major depressive disorder (MDD) to the performance of nondepressed children. All participants benefited from the pictorial presentation of information during learning and recall of information as compared to the auditory presentation alone. Both age and socioeconomic status affected working memory performance in typically developing children. Children with depression demonstrated a more passive learning style during the auditory list acquisition. The present study supports the pictorial superiority hypothesis in verbal learning tasks and the theory that working memory matures during elementary school years. Furthermore, current results indicate that complex working memory measures are not entirely independent of previous experience.
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