Developmental Differences in the Influence of Distractors on Maintenance in Spatial Working Memory

Anne R. Schutte, Brian A. Keiser, Heidi L. Beattie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined whether attention to a location plays a role in the maintenance of locations in spatial working memory in young children as it does in adults. This study was the first to investigate whether distractors presented during the delay of a spatial working-memory task influenced young children’s memory responses. Across 2 experiments, 3- and 6-year-olds completed a spatial working-memory task featuring a static target location and distractor location. Results indicated a change from 3 years to 6 years of age in how distractors influenced memory. Six-year-olds’ memory responses were biased away from a distractor that was close to the target location and on the outside of the target location relative to the center of the monitor. Distractors that were far from the target or that were toward the center of the monitor relative to the target location had no effect. Three-year-olds’ responses were biased toward a distractor when the distractor was on the outside of the target location and farther from the target. Distractors that were near the target location or toward the center of the monitor had no effect. These biases provide evidence that young children’s maintenance of a location in memory is influenced by attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-357
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 27 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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