Delay-Induced Bias in Children's Memory for Location



Two experiments examined how imposing a delay between learning and reproducing locations influences children's memory for location. In Experiment 1, ninety-six 7-, 9-, and 11-year-old children and adults learned the locations of 20 objects in an open, square box divided into four regions by opaque walls. During test, participants attempted to place the objects in the correct locations without the aid of the dots that had marked the locations or the boundaries that had divided the space. The test phase began either immediately following learning or following a 12-min delay. As predicted by the Category-Adjustment model, bias toward category centers increased significantly following an intervening delay. Moreover, the magnitude of categorical bias followed a systematic U-shaped developmental pattern. Results from a second study (N= 72) replicated this developmental pattern. Discussion focuses on the implications of these results for understanding how children and adults remember locations.