Reference : Working memory and learning
Scientific congresses, symposiums and conference proceedings : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Working memory and learning
Engel de Abreu, Pascale mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Educational Measurement and Applied Cognitive Science (EMACS)]
Annual Meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society
6-7 january 2010
[en] working memory ; learning ; children ; attentional control
[en] This study presents the findings of a 3-wave, latent variable longitudinal study,
exploring variations of working memory in children and its contributions to key domains
of learning. A sample of 119 Luxembourgish children, learning German and French as
secondary languages, were followed from kindergarten to second grade and completed
multiple assessments of working memory, short-term memory, phonological awareness,
fluid intelligence, vocabulary, language comprehension, foreign language knowledge,
reading, spelling, and mathematics. Results indicate that relations between the measures
were best characterized by a model consisting of two related but separable constructs -
corresponding to short-term storage and a central executive - that were highly stable
across the years. Whereas verbal short-term memory was more specifically linked to
vocabulary, the central executive supported learning in a wide range of learning domains,
including language comprehension, literacy, and mathematics. The findings suggest that
verbal short-term memory is one of the main contributors to vocabulary development by
supporting the formation of stable phonological representations of new words in longterm memory. The central executive in contrast makes general rather then specific
contributions to learning - possibly in terms of an attentional control system that actively
maintains crucial information and regulates controlling processes during complex
cognitive activities.

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