Evaluating pediatric cochlear implant users’ encoding, storage, and retrieval strategies in verbal working memory

Angela M. AuBuchon, David B. Pisoni, William G. Kronenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: The current study adopts a systematic approach to the examination of working memory components in pediatric cochlear implant (CI) users by separately assessing contributions of encoding, storage, and retrieval. Method: Forty-nine long-term CI users and 56 typically hearing controls completed forward and backward span tasks with 3 stimulus sets: visually presented digits, pictures of concrete nouns, and novel symbols. In addition, measures associated with each memory stage were collected: Rapid digit naming provided an estimate of phonological recoding speed, nonword repetition assessed the robustness of representations within phonological storage, and vocabulary knowledge (as measured by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test; Dunn & Dunn, 1997) estimated redintegration abilities during retrieval. Results: Linear mixed modeling revealed that digit naming speed and vocabulary knowledge were consistently related to short-term and working memory span in both CI users and typically hearing controls. However, nonword repetition only contributed to the model for short-term memory. Conclusions: Nonword repetition, an index of phonological storage, explained little of the individual variability inworking memory differences between CI users and typically hearing peers. On the other hand, individual differences in encoding and retrieval explained a significant amount of outcome variability in both short-term and working memory tasks. Differences between CI users and typically hearing peers in working memory therefore appear to reflect process components of encoding and retrieval and not simply differences in memory storage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1016-1032
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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