Memory enhancements from active control of learning emerge across development

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Description: This paper investigates whether active control of study leads to enhanced learning in 5- to 10-year-olds. Children played a simple memory game. In Experiments 1 and 2, the goal was to remember as many as possible from 64 objects. In Experiment 3, the goal was to learn the French names for the same objects. For half of the materials presented, participants could decide the order and pacing of study (Active condition). For the other half, they passively observed the study decisions of a previous participant (Yoked condition). Recognition memory was more accurate for objects studied in the active as compared to the yoked condition. However, the active learning advantage was relatively small among 5-year-olds and increased with age, becoming comparable to adults' by age 8. Our results suggest that the ability to effectively control study emerges and develops during early childhood and leads to memory benefits over a week delay.

License: CC0 1.0 Universal


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