The nature of the childhood development of immediate recall has been difficult to determine. There could be a developmental increase in either the number of chunks held in working memory or the use of grouping to make the most of a constant capacity. In 3 experiments with children in the early elementary school years and adults, we show that improvements in the immediate recall of word and picture lists come partly from increases in the number of chunks of items retained in memory. This finding was based on a distinction between access to a studied group of items (i.e., recall of at least 1 item from the group) and completion of the accessed group (i.e., the proportion of the items recalled from the group). Access rates increased with age, even with statistical controls for completion rates, implicating development of capacity in chunks.
- Working memory
- Working memory capacity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies