Episodic Memory during Middle Childhood: Active vs. Passive Processing

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Virginia Tech


Episodic memory refers to context based explicit memory and shows vast improvements during middle childhood. In this study, episodic encoding was manipulated using stimuli that were hypothesized to require active or passive processing. Nine to eleven-year-old children were presented with a recall task using lower resolution (active processing) and clear (passive processing) images. It was hypothesized that children would recall more low resolution images than clear images. Executive function ability was also assessed to investigate possible contributions to performance. Furthermore, this study investigated whether frontal and temporal brain electrophysiology predicted unique variance in recall performance. Results suggested that overall there were no performance differences between low resolution and clear images; however, differences may exist within task blocks. Electrophysiology at temporal scalp locations and executive functions predicted unique variance in memory task performance. Specifically, set-shifting and working memory predicted a unique amount of variance in memory task performance. The results suggest that explicit memory may require certain executive processes more than others, and that active and passive processing may enhance this effect.



Executive Functions, Middle Childhood, EEG, Episodic Memory