Schedule of Events | Search Abstracts | Symposia | Invited Symposia | Poster Sessions | Data Blitz Sessions

Poster F59

The effects of repetition on young children's memory

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Bailey Agard1 (, Amy Finn1; 1University of Toronto

After decades of developmental research characterizing children as ever-curious explorers of their environments, researchers are slowly shifting focus to a converse aspect of development—the tendency to engage in things repeatedly. Interestingly, during a free-play paradigm younger children explored less than their older counterparts; instead they preferred engaging with the same things over and over (Pelz & Kidd, 2020), potentially pointing to underlying benefits of early repetition. In adults, repetition has been found to degrade memory specificity (Wing et al., 2020; Yassa & Reagh, 2014), but the role it plays in children's memory remains unclear. Notably, factors such as the protracted development of the hippocampus, increased forgetting rates, and less overall experience could counterintuitively diminish this effect in young children. The current study developed a child-friendly version of Yassa & Reagh's (2014) memory paradigm to investigate this effect at different developmental stages, and whether young children’s memory may protect them from experiencing degradation via repetition. Adults and children 5-10 years old were shown repeating and non-repeating items during exposure before being asked to make old/new judgements about items that were identical, similar-looking, or completely novel. Preliminary results (n= 10) found that adults are marginally worse at identifying items if they resembled a repeating item from exposure. This demonstrates that our novel paradigm is able to replicate the degradation with repetition effect in adults. Determining whether children also demonstrate this effect is ongoing, but we predict a less deleterious impact (or even a benefit!) of repetition, indicating its role in early learning.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Development & aging


CNS Account Login


April 13–16  |  2024