Word length effects on pictorial memory encoding in 5- to 7-year-old children: An eye-tracking study

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Abstract

How speech coding is used for visual material is critical to understanding the link between language and memory development. Using eye-tracking, the present study examined whether the number of syllables of pictured objects’ names, monosyllabic versus multisyllabic, predicts looking time at the stimuli-objects in the context of a memory task, thereby indicating verbal recoding. The children’s (N = 39, ages 5–7 years) language ability was also considered. Younger children (5;1–6;3 years) did not appear to sub-vocally recode the verbal labels of visual stimuli during encoding, whereas older children (6;4–7;3 years) who were already attending elementary school looked longer at objects with multisyllabic labels. Notably, it was primarily the less verbally competent among those children who contributed to the effect. Thus, our results demonstrate, for the first time, that young children’s sub-vocal verbal processing when trying to memorize visual stimuli may be contingent upon verbal competence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100917
JournalCognitive Development
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Applied Psychology

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