The effects of practice on the emergence of mnemonic skill in children



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Memory cues differing in the quantity and quality of strategy information were provided during several initial practice trials. The effects of these different practice cues on later recal I performance was compared for four groups of second and sixth graders (JM=112). The Non-Cued group did not receive any cues on either practice trial, only experience in sorting categorized lists. The Cued group had two practice trials of sorting with minimal instruction and feedback. The Self-Monitoring group was given instruction and feedback cues only on the second trial so they could infer for themselves the benefits of sorting. Finally, the Metamemory-Cued group were treated like subjects in the Self-Monitoring condition, but in addition they received elaborate metamemory information. Results from later recall trials showed that second graders recalled more items, rehearsed more actively and clustered related words better, in the Cued condition, whereas sixth graders showed superior performance in the Metamemory-Cued condition. These findings are discussed in terms of the role which practice alone and practice in combination with memory cues may play in the encouragement of effective strategy utilization in children of different ages.



Memory in children