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Research Article

The Role of Structure in Age-Related Increases in Visuo-Spatial Working Memory Span

Authors:

Ineke Imbo ,

Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, BE
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Arnaud Szmalec,

Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, BE
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André Vandierendonck

Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University, BE
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Abstract

There is an important debate in the literature about the possible causes of developmental increases in working-memory span scores. In the present study, we tested the role of structure in relation to the age-related increases in visuo-spatial span performance. To that end, children and adults between nine and nineteen years old conducted structured and unstructured versions of the Corsi blocks task. All age groups performed better on structured than on unstructured paths, which indicates that working-memory control processes recruit resources such as long-term memory knowledge in performing the visuo-spatial span task. Interestingly, older participants benefited more from the presented structure than did younger participants, indicating that the structured presentation of sequence paths enhances the development of visuo-spatial span performance. Additional analyses showed that the effect of structure was not attributable to other path characteristics such as the path length or the number of path crossings. Implications of the present findings for views on the development of visuo-spatial working memory are discussed.
How to Cite: Imbo, I., Szmalec, A. & Vandierendonck, A., (2010). The Role of Structure in Age-Related Increases in Visuo-Spatial Working Memory Span. Psychologica Belgica. 49(4), pp.275–291. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb-49-4-275
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Published on 01 Dec 2010.
Peer Reviewed

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