Developmental Aspects of Working and Associative Memory
Nicholas S. Thaler1, Gerald Goldstein2,*, Jay W. Pettegrew3, James F. Luther2, Cecil R. Reynolds4, Daniel N. Allen1
1University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA
2VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
3University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
4Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA
*Corresponding author at: VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 7180 Highland Drive, Pittsburgh, PA, 15206, USA. Tel.: 4129545356; fax: 4129545371. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (G. Goldstein).
Accepted 29 November 2012
Developmental differences between working and long-term associative memory were evaluated through a cross-sectional age difference study based on data from a memory battery’s standardization sample. The scores of 856 children and adolescents ranging from 5 to 17 years of age were compared on memory subtests that assess verbal working and long-term memory. Data were examined using curve fitting and ANOVA procedures that evaluated age group and years of age differences. The major finding was that the developmental trajectories across age differed substantially between the two memory domains. The working memory trajectory was linear until age 11, whereas the long-term memory trajectory was curvilinear with an inflection point at age 8. Both trajectories plateaued after age 11. ANOVAs produced significant interactions between tests of working and associative memory with age, supporting the view that the age trajectories had differing courses. The results are discussed in terms of neurobiological implications for the two memory systems studied.
Keywords: Learning and memory; Assessment
Working memory has been defined as a limited capacity memory system that provides temporary storage to manipulate information for complex cognitive tasks, whereas long-term memory refers to the storage and retrieval of information beyond the initial few seconds (Baddeley, 1966; Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). It is now evident that there are differences in long-term and working memory development related to their underlying neural structures and neurobiological changes throughout childhood and adolescence (Costa-Mattiloi & Sonenberg, 2008; Ho¨tting, Katz-Biletzky, Malina, Lindenau, & Bengner, 2010). Long-term memory is encoded primarily in the medial temporal structures before diffusing throughout the cortex, whereas working memory is primarily associated with frontal and parietal regions (Fletcher & Henson, 2001; Squire, 2004; Townsend, Richmond, Vogel-Farley, & Thomas, 2010). As these regions differentially mature in typically developing youth (Bauer, 2008), it is likely that the memory abilities linked to each structure may in turn demonstrate different trajectories through early childhood and adolescence.
The VISN IV Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinic Center (MIRECC), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and the Medical Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs are acknowledged for support of this research.
Baddeley, A. D. (1966). The influence of acoustic and semantic similarity on long-term memory for word sequences. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18 (4), 302–309. doi:10.1080/14640746608400047.
Baddeley, A. D., & Hitch, G. J. (1974). Working memory. In G. A. Bower (Ed.), Recent advances in learning and motivation (Vol. 8) (pp. 47–89). New York: Academic Press.
Bauer, P. J. (2008). Toward a neuro-developmental account of the development of declarative memory. Developmental Psychobiology, 50 (1), 19–31. doi:10.1002/dev.20265.
Bedwell, J. S., Horner, M., Yamanaka, K., Li, X., Myrick, H., Nahas, Z., et al. (2005). Functional neuroanatomy of subcomponent cognitive processes involved in verbal working memory. International Journal of Neuroscience, 115 (7), 1017–1032. doi:10.1080/00207450590901530.
Caplan, J. B. (2005). Associative isolation: Unifying associative and list memory. Journal of Mathematical Psychology, 49 (5), 383–402. doi:10.1016/ j.jmp.2005.06.004.
Costa-Mattioli, M., & Sonenberg, N. (2008). Translational control of gene expression: A molecular switch for memory storage. Progress in Brain Research, 169, 81–95.
Fletcher, P. C., & Henson, R. N. A. (2001). Frontal lobes and human memory: insights from functional neuroimaging. Brain, 124, 849–881.
Gathercole, S. E. (1998). The development of memory. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 39 (1), 3–27. doi:10.1017/S0021963097001753.
athercole, S. E. (1999). Cognitive approaches to the development of short-term memory. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3 (11), 410–419. doi:10.1016/ S1364-6613(99)01388-1.
Goldstein, G., Panchalingam, K., McClure, R. J., Stanley, J. A., Calhoun, V. D., Pearlson, G. D., et al. (2009). Molecular neurodevelopment: An in vivo 31P-1H MRSI study. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 15 (5), 671–683. doi:10.1017/S1355617709990233.
Ho¨tting, K., Katz-Biletzky, T., Malina, T., Lindenau, M., & Bengner, T. (2010). Long-term versus short-term memory deficits for faces in temporal lobe and generalized epilepsy patients. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 16 (3), 574–578. doi:10.1017/S1355617710000275.
Jaeggi, S. M., Studer-Luethi, B., Buschkuehl, M., Su, Y., Jonides, J., & Perrig, W. J. (2010). The relationship between n-back performance and matrix reasoning: Implications for training and transfer. Intelligence, 38 (6), 625–635. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2010.09.001.
Lewandowsky, S., & Murdock, B. B. (1989). Memory for serial order. Psychological Review, 96, 25–57.
Østby, Y., Tamnes, C. K., Fjell, A. M., & Walhovd, K. B. (2011). Morphometry and connectivity of the fronto-parietal verbal working memory network in development. Neuropsychologia, 49 (14), 3854–3862. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.10.001.
Park, H., Shannon, V., Biggan, J., & Spann, C. (in press). Neural activity supporting the formation of associative memory versus source memory. Brain Research, doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2012.07.012.
Ramsay, M. C., & Reynolds, C. R. (1995). Separate digits tests: A brief history, a literature review, and a reemination of the factor structure of the Test of Memory and Learning (TOMAL). Neuropsychology Review, 5 (3), 151–171. doi:10.1007/BF02214760.
Reynolds, C. R., & Bigler, E. D. (1994). Test of Memory and Learning. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Schneider, W. (2002). Memory development in childhood. In U. Goswami (Ed.), Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitive development (pp. 236–256). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.
Schneider, W., Knopf, M., & Sodian, B. (2009). Verbal memory development from early childhood to early adulthood. In W. Schneider, M. Bullock (Eds.), Human development from early childhood to early adulthood: Findings from a 20 year longitudinal study (pp. 63–90). New York, NY US: Psychology
Schulze, K., Zysset, S., Mueller, K., Friederici, A. D., & Koelsch, S. (2011). Neuroarchitecture of verbal and tonal working memory in nonmuscians and musicians. Human Brain Mapping, 32 (5), 771–783. doi:10.1002/hbm.21060.
Squire, L. R. (2004). Memory systems of the brain: A brief history and current perspective. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 82 (3), 171–177. doi:10.1016/j.nlm.2004.06.005.
St Clair-Thompson, H. L. (2010). Backwards digit recall: A measure of short-term memory or working memory? European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 22 (2), 286–296. doi:10.1080/09541440902771299CALLI.
Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Sassa, Y., Hashizume, H., Sekiguchi, A., Fukushima, A., et al. (2011). Verbal working memory performance correlates with regional white matter structures in the frontoparietal regions. Neuropsychologia, 49 (12), 3466–3473. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.08.022.
Thaler, N. S., Allen, D. N., Cross, C., & Reynolds, C. R. (in press). Identifying neurodevelopmental stages of memory from childhood through adolescence with cluster analysis. In D. N. Allen, & G. Goldstein (Eds.), Cluster analysis in neuropsychological research: Recent applications. New York, NY: Springer.
Townsend, E. L., Richmond, J. L., Vogel-Farley, V. K., & Thomas, K. (2010). Medial temporal lobe memory in childhood: Developmental transitions. Developmental Science, 13 (5), 738–751. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00935.x.
Wechsler, D. (1997). Wechsler Memory Scale–Third Edition. San Antonio: Psychological Corporation.
Wechsler, D. (2008). Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Fourth Edition (WAIS–IV). San Antonio, TX: Pearson.
Wechsler, D. (2009). Wechsler Memory Scale—Fourth Edition (WMS–IV) technical and interpretive manual. San Antonio, TX: Pearson.