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Psychology of Human Growth and Development
cognitive development part 2
Psychosocial development
Development of emotions
Language development
Cognitive development part 1
Perceptual development part 2
Development of attachment
Nature versus nature
Introduction to developmental theories
Prenatal development and chromosomal abnormalities
Prenatal development and teratogens
Brain development
Motor development
Physical growth
Perceptual development

Development of memory



  1. Ask the child if they have seen the material before

        presenting s’s with the material they are to remember

        after an interval representing it

        asked the S’s to judge whether it is familiar or novel

        require them to discriminate it from the material that they have not seen before.


        Shortcomings of this method

-             Language: hard for young children to produce the right words

-             Understanding: hard for young children to understand the instructions.


  1. habituation techniques

        S’s repeatedly shown the same stimulus

        On its first showing the stimulus evokes a lot of attention

        Either measured by how long it is looked at or by physiological measures e.g.: heart rate changes

        If on each successive showing it evokes less attention S’s is said to have habituated

        Decline in interest could only happen if the subject remembered the stimulus from one occasion to another




v      Recognition memory of newborns

         Newborns can remember what they see over a 24 hour period

         E.g.: Werner and Siqueland (1978)

         Babies altered their sucking patterns  when the color of a visual stimuli changed even though they had not seen that stimulus for nearly a day


         Newborns can remember what they hear over a 24 hour period

         E.g.: 14 day old Babies

         mothers repeated the words “tinder “ and “beguile” to their babies 60 times a day for 13 days

         after training researchers tested babies memory for these words

         infants showed that they remembered these words and recongnised them better than their own names.


         Newborns can  to discriminate between stimuli

         E.g.: Siqueland and Lipsitt 1966

         Infants a few hours old  learned to turn their heads to the left or the right depending on if they had heard a buzzer or a tone

         In order to taste a sweet liquid would turn to the right with a tone sounded


         Memory of 3 months old

         E.g.:Rovee-Collier and Hayne (1987)

         Mobile over the infants’ crib attached to a ribbon

         3 month old infants quickly learned which arm or leg would move the mobile

         8 days later same infants placed in the same situation

         they remembered which arm or leg to move

         with a brief reminder before testing infants could remember the connection for more than 4 weeks.

o    infants memory also improves with the context of the setting

o    i.e. they remember more when tested in the same setting.                


         Memory of 10 months old

o    infants memory improves further

         E.g.:Myers, Clifton and Clarkson (1987)

         When infants were ten months old they saw pictures, touched objects and heard sounds

         Upon returning to the lab when they were 3 years old

         Children were more likely to touch the objects and recognize the sounds that they had been exposed to on their earlier visit than were the children who had not had the earlier experiences


         Memory of 4 year old

    • Masurement of the attention child pays to novel and familiar objects

         E.g.: Brown and Campione (1972)

         shown 80 pictures of familiar objects

         after an interval they were shown 120 pairs of pictures

         in 60 pairs one picture had been in the original set of 80 while the other picture had not – but it showed the same object (e.g. original had been dog eating this one would be same dog running)

         the other 60 pairs were entirely composed of new pictures

         recognition was highly accurate

         after 2 hours, after a day and after a week

         comparable with results in work with adults


         improvement of memory over time

o      e.g Nelson(1971)

         1st, 4th, and 7th graders (n = 20 in each group).

         Ss were tested for recognition of slides they had been shown immediately and after 14 days.

         Older Ss were better than younger Ss in reconstructing from memory an arrangement of 6-9 picture cards.


  • Conclusion on findings on recognition memory in infants

        s’s find recognition easier than recall.

        From the age of ten weeks habituation to simple patterns shown in infants. So there is some recognition memory capacity in babies under 3 months old.

        The possibility of conditioning in neonates suggest that there may be  recognition memory earlier still.

        As babies get older time lapse in  recognition memory gets better.

        Recognition memory is virtually as good in children of 4 years and older as adults.

        Recognition of simple objects as good in pre-school children as adults.

        Little difference between pre-school children and adults on abstract pictures or puzzle pieces.

        Older children and adults outperform younger children on recognition of complex scenes.



v                           childhood amnesia




         coined by Freud 1905 when he observed that most of his patients were unable to recall events in their first 3 – 5 years of life.\

o        E.g. Sheingold and Tenney 1982

o        If the sibling wads born before the person was 3 years old they could not remember anything about it.

         rate of decline of memory was much steeper for first 6 years of life than thereafter

         Events that take place in the first 2 years after birth cannot be sufficiently consolidated. And therefore can’t be remembered


o        Events that take place in the first 2 years after birth cannot be sufficiently consolidated

o        And therefore can’t be remembered


why does this occur


1.      Freud

         Repression of sexual and aggressive feelings a young child experiences towards his/ her parents

         But this predicts amnesia only for events related to sexual and aggressive thoughts when in fact childhood amnesia extends to all kinds of events.


2.      More accepted explanation

         Due to a massive differences between how children encode experience and how adults organize their memories.

o        Adults structure their memory in terms of categories and schemata

o        Young children encode their experiences without embellishing them


shift from early childhood to adult forms of memory


         Biological development

o        Hippocampus (involved in consolidating memories)

         Not mature until a year or two after birth

o        Cognitive development

o        Fact memory develops later.



v                           basic capacity/ short term memory


Memory span

Amount of information that can be held in short term memory.


Reasons for the growing capacity of short term memory

  • Actual changes in the brain improve basic memory capability
    • No solid evidence for this
  • Interest and motivation play a role in remembering things
  • Children and adults apply different strategies to the task.
  • General information about what we have acquired over time


        Processing efficiency Case (1996)

o        proposes that it is the more efficient use of what he calls executive processing space, rather than any increase in the basic memory capacity that serves as a major mechanism for development.

o        Executive processing space: space available for major cognitive functions.

o        The two components of executive processing space:

1. operating space

the amount of space necessary for a  particular operation to take place.

2.short term operating space

           the amount of space being devoted to short term memory storage

o        Increased efficiency in children due to

         Streamlining of executive control structures (e.g. using strategies like chunking)

         Biological maturation.


        Processing speed (Kail 1991)

o        Suggests that the age-related increases in the speed of information processing are responsible for much of the improvement that occurs in children’s cognitive abilities as they develop

o        Processing speed is a global mechanism that affects all aspects of information processing.

o        Processing speed increases with age and its effect is evident after practice effects have been taken into account.

o        Universal

o        Biological basis: processing speed increases with physical maturation i.e.: gain in height.


v                           mnemonic strategies


        Physical aids




Children’s use of rehearsal

        under the age of 7

o        Little spontaneous rehearsal in under 7

        At 7 years

o        Sometimes use rehearsal

o        Likely to be rudimentary and inefficient e.g.: limited to only one name.

        Above 7 years to adulthood

o        Rehearsal techniques get more flexible and efficient with age.


        Semantic organization

o        Organizing information to be remembered by means of categorizations and hierarchical relationships.

Children’s use of semantic organization

         2 - 3 year olds

         use basic category labels to help them learn and remember.

         7 year olds

         possible to teach them to use category labels


        Context cues




v      why children rarely use mnemonics?

        Children don’t realize how useful and necessary mnemonic strategies are

        Children don’t realize the demands of the task or their own capacities

        Children often mis-judge the difficulty of the task (easier than it is)

        Children don’t have enough knowledge about things

        Mediation deficiency: Inability to use strategies to store information in long term memory

        Production deficiency: Inability to spontaneously generate and use memory strategies that one knows.

        Utilization deficiency: Inability to generate and use memory strategies that one knows.

        Interaction of the costs and benefits E.g. Kunzinger and Witryol (1994)


v      developmental use of mnemonic strategies

o        Children use

         Multiple strategies

         A combination of strategies

         Progress in use of strategies tends to be cyclic

         Number of strategies increases with age

         The more strategies younger children tried to use the poorer their recall


v                           world knowledge

         What individuals know about the world, influences:

o        What they understand about a present event

o        What they will recall about it later.


v                           memory changes and ageing


  • Aging may affect memory by changing:

        the way information is stored

        harder to recall information the brain has already stored.


The most dramatic memory changes associated with normal aging involve:

        the working memory--active thinking that involves processing, storing and recalling things;

        and episodic memory, recalling a past experience:


The difference between normal memory problems and dementia is that the

        memory loss that normally occurs with aging doesn't get much worse over time.

        Dementia gets much worse over a period of several months to several years.


How does Alzheimer's disease change memory?

      Alzheimer's disease starts by changing the recent memory-ability to learn and store new information.

      At first, a person with Alzheimer's disease will remember even small details of his or her distant past but not be able to remember recent events or conversations.



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