Use it or lose it: Examining preschoolers’ difficulty in maintaining and executing a goal

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Janet J. Boseovski, Associate Professor (Creator)
Stuart Marcovitch, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Individuals with low working memory capacity (e.g. preschoolers) are more prone to goal neglect, or a failure to execute a goal even though it is understood. We examined the role of goal neglect in performance on the Dimensional Change Card Sort by including ‘redundant’ cards that could be sorted without attending to the rules, as well as the traditional ‘conflict’ cards that encouraged awareness of the rules. In Experiment 1, 4- and 5-year-old children were administered two card sorts that differed on the proportion of redundant cards presented (20% vs. 80%). Children neglected the goal more often when faced with a preponderance of redundant cards, suggesting that consistent attention to the rules leads to goal maintenance. In Experiment 2, results were replicated even when the post-switch rules were repeated on every trial. Implications for the development of working memory are discussed.

Additional Information

Developmental Science, 10, 559-564
Language: English
Date: 2007
goal neglect, goal maintenance, working memory capacity

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