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Title: Computer simulations of developmental change: The contributions of working memory capacity and long-term knowledge
Authors: Jones, G
Gobet, F
Pine, JM
Keywords: computational modeling
developmental change
nonword repetition
child development
working memory
vocabulary learning
Publication Date: 2008
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Citation: Jones, G., Gobet, F., & Pine, J. M. (in press). Computer simulations of developmental change: The contributions of working memory capacity and long-term knowledge. Cognitive Science.
Abstract: Increasing working memory (WM) capacity is often cited as a major influence on children’s development and yet WM capacity is difficult to examine independently of long-term knowledge. A computational model of children’s nonword repetition (NWR) performance is presented that independently manipulates long-term knowledge and WM capacity to determine the relative contributions of each in explaining the developmental data. The simulations show that (1) both mechanisms independently cause the same overall developmental changes in NWR performance; (2) increase in long-term knowledge provides the better fit to the child data; and (3) varying both long-term knowledge and WM capacity adds no significant gains over varying long-term knowledge alone. Given that increases in long-term knowledge must occur during development, the results indicate that increases in WM capacity may not be required to explain developmental differences. An increase in WM capacity should only be cited as a mechanism of developmental change when there are clear empirical reasons for doing so.
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