Raphaëlle Bertrand thesis defense - Wednesday 15 October 2014 at 14:00 - Campus Dijon, room Conseil de Lettres

Published: 30 sept. 14, 14:47 in Thesis defenses.

Maintien à court terme de l’information chez l’enfant de 2 à 6 ans :
oubli temporel et aide au maintien du but

Working memory is an essential component of thought that is highly involved in learning and academic achievement. However, it is rarely studied in preschoolers, mainly because of a lack of suitable paradigms. Therefore, this thesis investigated the functioning of working memory in children between 2 and 6 years. For this purpose, two original paradigms were used. They were designed to be close to game situations which should help young children to focus their attention on the task. Firstly it was shown that the recall performance decreased over time, even in the absence of an interfering task. Children of this age therefore use a passive maintenance, i.e. without spontaneously implementing any strategy of maintenance. Furthermore, the decline of the information was similar through age. For the first time, it has been demonstrated that the rate of information forgetting did not vary between 2 and 6. Finally, none of these two factors, i.e. implementation of a strategy of maintenance and change in the speed of forgetting can explain the increase in memory capacity between 2 and 6 years of age. Secondly, it has been shown that the intrinsic characteristics of the task could lead to improved recall performance, perhaps by inducing a strategy of maintenance. Particularly, the implementation of a motor activity, i.e. walking during the retention period, has enabled these young children to counteract to some extent the temporal decay of information. Then, the implementation of a motor activity, by directing the attention of young children to a visual cue related to the goal of the task, help them to maintain in memory the purpose of the task. Attentional resources could be harnessed to improve performance of recall, perhaps by implementing a retention strategy.

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