The role of subvocal rehearsal in preschool children’s prospective memory
Verbal working memory
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Abstract4-year-olds had worse PM than 5-year-olds.•Children in the verbal interference condition had worse PM compared to children in the standard condition.•PM performance was correlated with verbal working memory and receptive vocabulary in the verbal interference condition only.•Children with better verbal ability were better able to cope with verbal interference to the benefit of their PM performance. The current study examined the impact of a verbal interference manipulation on 4- and 5- year olds’ prospective memory (PM). Children were randomly assigned to either complete a quiet delay activity (standard condition) or answer questions aloud during the delay activity (verbal interference condition). Children then completed a PM task followed by several individual differences measures (verbal working memory, inhibitory control, and receptive vocabulary). Four-year-olds showed worse PM than 5-year-olds, children in the verbal interference condition showed worse PM compared to the standard condition, and there was a marginal interaction between age and condition driven by poor performance of 4-year-olds in the verbal interference condition. PM performance was positively correlated with verbal working memory and receptive vocabulary (but not inhibitory control) in the verbal interference condition only suggesting that children with better verbal abilities were more able to cope with verbal interference to the benefit of their PM.