The Structure of Working Memory From 4 to 15 Years of Age

Dev Psychol. 2004 Mar;40(2):177-90. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.40.2.177.


The structure of working memory and its development across the childhood years were investigated in children 4-15 years of age. The children were given multiple assessments of each component of the A. D. Baddeley and G. Hitch (1974) working memory model. Broadly similar linear functions characterized performance on all measures as a function of age. From 6 years onward, a model consisting of 3 distinct but correlated factors corresponding to the working memory model provided a good fit to the data. The results indicate that the basic modular structure of working memory is present from 6 years of age and possibly earlier, with each component undergoing sizable expansion in functional capacity throughout the early and middle school years to adolescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Association Learning
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Mental Recall
  • Models, Psychological
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Phonetics
  • Psychometrics
  • Serial Learning
  • Verbal Learning