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Is graphic activity cognitively costly? A developmental approach

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Abstract

The present experiment was carried out to test the hypothesis that the use of the written mode increases the working memory load. Second and fourth graders were orally presented with series of unrelated words which they were required to recall in sequence. Each subject had to recall five different lists in the following conditions: oral alone, written, oral with a concurrent task (tapping, categorization, drawing). Participants recalled more words in the oral condition than in either the written mode or the `oral and categorization' conditions. Moreover, second graders performed better in the oral mode than in the `oral and drawing condition'. This trend was not significant with older children. Finally, the tapping task did not affect children's performance. The results are consistent with our cognitive load hypothesis.

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Bourdin, B., Fayol, M. Is graphic activity cognitively costly? A developmental approach. Reading and Writing 13, 183–196 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026458102685

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