The effects of acoustic similarity on memory in children: A comparison between visual and auditory presentation



Children from 4 to 10 years old were presented with a serial recall task with pictures of common objects which had acoustically similar or dissimilar names, or with the spoken names of the pictures. Children of all ages showed consistently better recall of the pictures with dissimilar names. It is concluded, in contrast to some earlier studies, that children as young as 4 years are able to utilize a speech code as a means of memorizing pictures. With auditory presentation as in previous studies acoustic similarity had progressively more effect on recall with increasing age. The implications of these finding for current theories of short-term memory and its development are discussed.