• Article

The expression of memorization in early childhood

This experiment examined the expression and effectiveness of memorization in young children. Sixty children at each of the ages 4, 5, and 6 were randomly assigned to a memory group or to one of two control groups. All of the children were told that they could play with a group of toys during a brief activity period; the children in the memory condition were also instructed to memorize a specified subset of the toys. Mnemonic mediators were identified on the basis of differences in the activity period behaviors of children given memory and play instructions. Relative to the children in the play groups, the children in the memory conditions played with the toys less; further, their use of naming and visual examination as mnemonic mediators differentiated the groups at all ages and increased with age. Only the oldest subjects given memory instructions, however, demonstrated superior recall. The relationships between activity period behavior and recall among the different conditions were explored with regression techniques. although previous research has focused on identifying the earliest use of memory strategies, the present findings underscore the importance of examining the development of these skills.


Baker-Ward, L., Ornstein, PA., & Holden, D. (1984). The expression of memorization in early childhood. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 37(3), 555-575.