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Developmental constraints on a theory of memory

Barreau, Sofka; (1997) Developmental constraints on a theory of memory. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The work presented in this thesis progresses along two related yet distinct paths, one associated with the development of a theory and the other with the development of the child. A model of human memory, based on the headed records (HR) framework, is first specified. This model is then applied within the area of event memory to explain memory phenomena in young children. The empirical work generated by the model shows that the limitations on children's behaviour are mostly caused by performance rather than competence factors. First, it is demonstrated that the difficulties young children have in recalling specific events reflect a retrieval problem, which can be overcome with provision of specific cues, rather than, as it is commonly suggested, a problem with actually encoding the events. Second, children's inability to recall false beliefs is shown to be associated with capacity limitations which lead to loss of a particular type of information - and not with the understanding of the concept of belief. The data show that the typical failure to recall false beliefs can be overturned by reducing the capacity demands of the task. In attempting to define further the role capacity limitations play in the loss of information, it was found that the order in which test questions are presented can determine what information is lost. This finding could only be accounted for by postulating two functionally independent on-line buffer stores. One of these is a limited capacity store containing simple structures which represent the current perceptual world and the other contains complex structures used in the interpretation of the contents of the former. Finally, the revised model is specified in sufficient detail to allow implementation. The computer simulation is then used to generate novel data patterns which are experimentally confirmed in further support of the dual buffer hypothesis.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Developmental constraints on a theory of memory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099522
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