Short-term memory coding in children with intellectual disabilities

Am J Ment Retard. 2008 May;113(3):187-200. doi: 10.1352/0895-8017(2008)113[187:SMCICW]2.0.CO;2.


To examine visual and verbal coding strategies, I asked children with intellectual disabilities and peers matched for MA and CA to perform picture memory span tasks with phonologically similar, visually similar, long, or nonsimilar named items. The CA group showed effects consistent with advanced verbal memory coding (phonological similarity and word length effects). Neither the intellectual disabilities nor MA groups showed evidence for memory coding strategies. However, children in these groups with MAs above 6 years showed significant visual similarity and word length effects, broadly consistent with an intermediate stage of dual visual and verbal coding. These results suggest that developmental progressions in memory coding strategies are independent of intellectual disabilities status and consistent with MA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability*
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Phonetics
  • Verbal Behavior
  • Visual Perception