Short-term memory in deaf and hearing children in relation to stimulus characteristics

Lynn S. Liben, Alinda M. Drury

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22 Scopus citations


Experiment 1 examined short-term memory with a serial probe task in 20 younger (mean age: 6 years, 3 months) and 20 older (mean age: 8 years, 8 months) deaf children. Four sets of stimuli were used: familiar animals, unfamiliar nonsense forms, fingerspelled letters, and lower-case print. In contrast to earlier research with hearing children, strong primacy effects were found with all stimuli at both ages, with frequent gestural and/or oral labeling but little cumulative rehearsal evident. To determine whether results were uniquely tied to deafness, identical procedures were used in Experiment 2 with 20 younger (4 years, 9 months) and 20 older (5 years, 10 months) hearing children. Again, overt activity was common, with strong primacy effects on animals and nonsense forms in the older group and on animals in the younger group. Contrasts between present and earlier findings suggest the need to consider the degree to which stimulus labels are overlearned, the role of nonverbal mediators in rehearsal, and the effects of changing educational experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-73
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of experimental child psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1977

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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