Development of the enactment effect: examining individual differences in executive function to predict increased memory for action

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Naomi Chatley (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Stuart Marcovitch

Abstract: The enactment effect, remembering self-performed action phrases better than identical phrases learned verbally, is a robust effect documented in many studies with adults and older children. Evidence for the enactment effect in children younger than 8 years of age, however, is equivocal. Some studies indicate that children as young as six years of age show the enactment effect while others reveal that the effect does not emerge until later in development. Previous research has indicated that memory for actions may be related to executive function (EF) skills. The present study examined whether working memory (WM) and cognitive flexibility (CF; cognitive abilities associated with EF) predicted the enactment effect in 4- to 6-year-olds. Results indicated that when imaginary objects are used during enactment, the enactment effect is expressed, but this was only true for 6-year-olds. Additionally, WM and CF predicted the production of the enactment effect. These findings suggest that increases in cognitive abilities associated with EF contribute to increased memory benefits from physical actions.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Action, Cognitive flexibility, Development, Enactment effect, Executive function, Working memory
Memory in children $x Research
Cognition in children $x Research
Memory $x Physiological aspects
Executive functions (Neuropsychology) $x Research

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