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Review
, 109 (3), 490-501

Developmental Change in Speed of Processing During Childhood and Adolescence

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Review

Developmental Change in Speed of Processing During Childhood and Adolescence

R Kail. Psychol Bull.

Abstract

Throughout childhood and adolescence, there are consistent age differences in speed of processing. Here 72 published studies yielded 1,826 pairs of response times (RTs) in which each pair consisted of adults' mean RT for a condition and the corresponding mean RT for a younger group. The primary results were that (a) children's and adolescents' RTs increase linearly as a function of adult RTs in corresponding conditions and (b) the amount of increase becomes smaller with age in a manner that is well described by an exponential function. These results are consistent with the view that age differences in processing speed reflect some general (i.e., nontask specific) component that changes rapidly during childhood and more slowly during adolescence. Possible candidates for the general component are discussed.

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