Contemporary Study: Developmental pattern of digit span

Aims

To study the development of working memory over time including changes from ageing diseases like dimentia

To compare Spanish data on child digit span to England to see if word length has an impact

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Procedure

570 volunteer children from a mixture of public and private education of all ages in Madrid

Children were studied by actual age and by age group too

Older people with Alzheimer's dementia, fronto-temporal dementia and a control group from a 2010 study were used

A digit span test was given to tell the size of the phonological loop. Each time they got 2/3+ right another digit was added

Results were compared by the child's age group, between the children and adults with dementia and finally with Angl-Saxon children

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Results

5 year olds had a significantly lower digit span than other age groups

Anglo-Saxon speakers developed an adult digit span or around 7 by age 15

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Conclusions

Digit span develops between the ages 5-17

Higher digit span of Anglo-Saxon speakers may be due to the shorter word lengths

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