Development of Recall in 2− to 4−Year-Old Children

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journal abstract

Three studies were carried out to examine early development or recall. Children between 2 years and 9 months and 5 years of age were tested on nine-item lists containing three objects from each of three conceptual categories or nine objects from nine different conceptual categories. Recall was poor, although age differences were observed. There was no evidence of active or deliberate strategy use in either age group, No overt rehearsal was observed, parallel serial position curves indicating a lack of primacy effects were obtained, and there were similar low levels of clustering over the age range studied. There was evidence of semantic category effects on recall of both age groups. All children recalled more items from categorically related than unrelated lists, responded more rapidly when reporting adjacent pairs of related than unrelated items, produced above-chance-level category clustering, and profited from categorical blocking at presentation and categorical cuing at retrieval. Reliable Age × List Type interactions indicated that the presence of category relations was more facilitating to older than younger children. The results were discussed in terms of a nondeliberate, but categorical, nature of very young children's memory, and it was suggested that early improvements in recall may be related to growth in semantic category knowledge. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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