Effects of anxiety on memory in young children

Effects of anxiety on memory storage and updating in young children

From International Journal of Behavioral Development

This paper presents the findings of studies that tested the visual and verbal short term memory of young children. The test on visual memory did not reveal anxiety levels had any significant influence, however the results for verbal memory indicated that anxiety had detrimental effects on performance. These results and further testing could help elaborate prevention programs targeting memory functioning in young children with high anxiety levels.

Abstract

The relationship between trait anxiety and memory functioning in young children was investigated. Two studies were conducted, using tasks tapping verbal and visual-spatial short-term memory (Study 1) and working memory (Study 2) in preschoolers. On the verbal storage tasks, there was a detrimental effect of anxiety on processing efficiency (duration of preparatory intervals) on Word Span. Performance effectiveness (memory span) did not differ between high-anxious and low-anxious children. In the second study, evaluating memory updating in a dual-task context, high-anxious children performed worse than low-anxious children on two verbal working memory tasks. Therefore, when simple verbal storage is required, high-anxious children show only efficiency deficits; when executive demands are higher (i.e., verbal updating) both accuracy and efficiency are impaired. However, on the visual-spatial storage and updating measures, performance did not differ between the two anxiety groups. The results are discussed in the context of the attentional control theory (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007).

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Article details:
Visu-Petra, L., Cheie, L., Benga, O., & Packiam Alloway, T. (2010). Effects of anxiety on memory storage and updating in young children International Journal of Behavioral Development DOI: 10.1177/0165025410368945

     
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