Preschool children’s memory for word forms remains stable over several days, but gradually decreases after 6 months

Gordon, Katherine R., McGregor, Karla K., Waldier, Brigitte, Curran, Maura K., Gomez, Rebecca L. and Samuelson, Larissa K. ORCID: (2016) Preschool children’s memory for word forms remains stable over several days, but gradually decreases after 6 months. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. ISSN 1664-1078

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Research on word learning has focused on children’s ability to identify a target object when given the word form after a minimal number of exposures to novel word-object pairings. However, relatively little research has focused on children’s ability to retrieve the word form when given the target object. The exceptions involve asking children to recall and produce forms, and children typically perform near floor on these measures. In the current study, 3- to 5-year-old children were administered a novel test of word form that allowed for recognition memory and manual responses. Specifically, when asked to label a previously trained object, children were given three forms to choose from: the target, a minimally different form, and a maximally different form. Children demonstrated memory for word forms at three post-training delays: 10 mins (short-term), 2–3 days (long-term), and 6 months to 1 year (very long-term). However, children performed worse at the very long-term delay than the other time points, and the length of the very long-term delay was negatively related to performance. When in error, children were no more likely to select the minimally different form than the maximally different form at all time points. Overall, these results suggest that children remember word forms that are linked to objects over extended post-training intervals, but that their memory for the forms gradually decreases over time without further exposures. Furthermore, memory traces for word forms do not become less phonologically specific over time; rather children either identify the correct form, or they perform at chance.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 Gordon, McGregor, Waldier, Curran, Gomez and Samuelson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords: word learning,memory,retention,preschool children,word form
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Cognition, Action and Perception
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
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Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2016 09:00
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 01:34
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01439


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