If one wants to trace the development of memory in an individual from childhoodto adulthood, one needs to consider two things, how memory develops and whatcharacterizes it during its development.
If one were to look at the memory difference of a 5-6 year old to that of aschool age child, one would find that in each child memory takes differentforms. A 5-6 year old would memorize things naturally and immediately. S/hewould use no devices to help her/himself. On the other hand, a school age child"has at his disposal a large number of devices which would help himmemorize the necessary information. He is able to link the material to bememorized to his previous experiences, and use an entire system of association. In essence, both have memory, but only the school age child knows how to use itto his advantage. Development of the memory from child to adult consistprecisely of this transition from natural to cultural forms of memory."(Luria, 1992) The mass of memory development in a child is "a result ofmastering associations and images and also the ability to use them functionallyfor the purpose of memorization." (Luria, 1992).
The following is an actual experiment that was done to show the development ofmemory.
A number of ordinary pictorial lotto cards were laid out in front of thesubjects, each bearing pictures of animals, things, etc.
The subjects were given a series of words to be memorized by choosing whichever card he/shethought most helpful for memorization - cards provided didn't exactly match thewords involved, but could be linked with them by able subjects.
Childrenof the ages 4-5 were not capable of successfully using the tool (the cards)suggested to them. Children of age 6-7 were able to accomplish the task, butonly when the relationship was straightforward.
Ex. Tea if picture is a cup. Milk if picture is a cow.
Children of age 11-12 were able to successfully complete the taskno matter if the relationship was straightforward or not.
Ex. The givenword is "want." Child chose a picture of an airplane; his explanation was "I want to fly in an airplane."
Ex. The given word is "spade."The child chose a picture of some chickens digging in a pile; explanation, "Chicksdig in the earth with their beaks, like spades do."
The difference in the subjects was the difference between the externalsymbols being used. As we mature, we have more cultural devices available touse, and the ability to use them appropriately to help us solve complex tasks.
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