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Durham e-Theses
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Working memory and its role in children’s scholastic attainment

St Clair-Thompson, Helen (2005) Working memory and its role in children’s scholastic attainment. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Previous research has identified links between working memory and scholastic skills. This thesis reports five studies that investigated both the role of working memory in children's scholastic attainment and the resources that underlie working memory task performance. Study 1 demonstrated that both verbal and nonverbal working memory were important predictors of children's academic achievement at 11 and 14 years of age. Study 2 provided evidence for the utility of working memory as a predictor of later academic achievement. Study 3 demonstrated a distinction between the executive processes of inhibition and updating working memory, both of which were uniquely related to children'sscholastic attainment scores. Study 4 revealed that both speeds of processing and working memory span scores predicted unique variance in children's educational attainment. The relationships between speed and span in tasks varying in difficulty were also explored. Speed and span did not always conform to the same linear relationship. Study 5 explored a metric of cognitive cost suggesting that working memory task performance is determined by the difficulty of the retrievals required and the number of these retrievals divided by the time allowed to perform them. The results demonstrated that working memory task performance is constrained by temporal duration and the nature of processing activities. The results were discussed in terms of implications for models of working memory and implications for educational practice.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2005
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 09:57

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