Children's awareness of the interaction of person, task and strategy variables in memory and communication

Miletić, Gordana
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The purpose of the present study was: (1) to look at when children become aware of how different variables presented individually and in combination influence one's memory and communicative performances, and (2) to assess whether or not children's understanding of these variables follows the same pattern of development across memory and communication. The variables tested were: person (who is doing the memorizing/communicating), task (what is to be remembered/communicated) and strategy (how to memorize/communicate);Eighteen 4, 5 and 7-year-old children participated in the study. The stimuli consisted of 18 sets of 3 or 4 different picture cards with drawings of easily recognizable objects. The same stimuli were used for both the memory and communication tasks in order to assure constancy among variables in terms of difficulty. On each task children were asked to judge the difficulty of a memory and a communication task based on variations in one variable only (person, task or strategy), two variables together (person x task, person x strategy, strategy x task) and all three variables simultaneously, (person x task x strategy). Responses recorded were both the chosen picture card and an explanation given by the child as to why that particular card had been chosen;No main effect of cognitive domain was found, suggesting that performances of children seem to be the same across both cognitive domains. Performance of the 4, 5 and 7-year-old children did not differ when their knowledge of the separate effects of the person, task and strategy variables was assessed. However, performance of the 4-year-olds, but not 5 and 7-year-olds differed significantly on the conditions where their knowledge of the interactions of the variables was assessed. Four-year-olds performed poorly across both conditions and both dependent measures. Five and 7-year-olds performed better across both conditions and both measures, however, performances of the 5 and 7-year-olds differed significantly for condition 3 in relation to the number of correct explanations.

Child development