School-aged children can benefit from audiovisual semantic congruency during memory encoding
Although we live in a multisensory world, children’s memory has been usually studied concentrating on only one sensory modality at a time. In this study, we investigated how audiovisual encoding affects recognition memory. Children (n = 114) from three age groups (8, 10 and 12 years) memorized auditory or visual stimuli presented with a semantically congruent, incongruent or non-semantic stimulus in the other modality during encoding. Subsequent recognition memory performance was better for auditory or visual stimuli initially presented together with a semantically congruent stimulus in the other modality than for stimuli accompanied by a non-semantic stimulus in the other modality. This congruency effect was observed for pictures presented with sounds, for sounds presented with pictures, for spoken words presented with pictures and for written words presented with spoken words. The present results show that semantically congruent multisensory experiences during encoding can improve memory performance in school-aged children.
KeywordsAudiovisual Children Development Memory Multisensory Semantic congruency
This research was funded by a grant from the University of Helsinki. It is part of the research activities of CICERO Learning Network, Finland, www.cicero.fi. We are grateful to the pupils, guardians and teachers in Iivisniemi elementary school and Tähtiniitty elementary school, Espoo, Finland, where the research was conducted. We thank Professor Kimmo Alho for comments on the manuscript. The Multimodal Stimulus Set was developed by T.R. Schneider, S. Debener and A.K. Engel at the Department of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany.