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Verbal Short-Term Memory Span in Speech-Disordered Children: Implications for Articulatory Coding in Short-Term Memory

Adrian Raine, Charles Hulme, Helen Chadderton and Pauline Bailey
Child Development
Vol. 62, No. 2 (Apr., 1991), pp. 415-423
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131013
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131013
Page Count: 9
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Verbal Short-Term Memory Span in Speech-Disordered Children: Implications for Articulatory Coding in Short-Term Memory
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Abstract

One influential explanation of the development of verbal short-term memory in children argues that short-term memory capacity is a direct function of speech rate. This theory predicts that children with pathologically slow speech will show reduced verbal short-term memory capacity and will show less evidence of speech-base coding on verbal memory tasks. To test this prediction, verbal short-term memory span was assessed using a task that did not require a verbal response in 37 speech-disordered children and 37 age- and sex-matched controls (age range 4-15 years). The speech-disordered group had a significantly lower short-term memory capacity, a smaller word length effect, and reduced speech-motor activity during rehearsal periods. Convariance analyses revealed that these differences were not a function of general intellectual or motor speed differences between the groups, and that speech rate as a covariate abolished group differences in short-term memory. These results suggest that speech rate may be a causal determinant of verbal short-term memory capacity.

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