The development of time-based prospective memory in childhood: The role of working memory updating

Babett Voigt, Caitlin Mahy, Judi Ellis, Katharina Schnitzspahn, Ivonne Krause, Mareike Altgassen, Matthias Kliegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


This large-scale study examined the development of time-based prospective memory (PM) across childhood and the roles that working memory updating and time monitoring play in driving age effects in PM performance. One hundred and ninety-seven children aged 5 to 14 years completed a time-based PM task where working memory updating load was manipulated within individuals using a dual task design. Results revealed age-related increases in PM performance across childhood. Working memory updating load had a negative impact on PM performance and monitoring behavior in older children, but this effect was smaller in younger children. Moreover, the frequency as well as the pattern of time monitoring predicted children’s PM performance. Our interpretation of these results is that processes involved in children’s PM may show a qualitative shift over development from simple, nonstrategic monitoring behavior to more strategic monitoring based on internal temporal models that rely specifically on working memory updating resources. We discuss this interpretation with regard to possible trade-off effects in younger children as well as alternative accounts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2393-2404
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


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