Verbal Short-Term Memory in Down Syndrome A Problem of Memory, Audition, or Speech? Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2002
Verbal Short-Term Memory in Down Syndrome
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Christopher Jarrold, PhD
    Centre for the Study of Memory and Learning Department of Experimental Psychology University of Bristol Bristol, U.K.
  • Alan D. Baddeley
    Centre for the Study of Memory and Learning Department of Experimental Psychology University of Bristol Bristol, U.K.
  • Caroline E. Phillips
    Centre for the Study of Memory and Learning Department of Experimental Psychology University of Bristol Bristol, U.K.
  • Contact author: Chris Jarrold, PhD, Centre for the Study of Memory and Learning, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 8 Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1TN, UK.
    Contact author: Chris Jarrold, PhD, Centre for the Study of Memory and Learning, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 8 Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1TN, UK.×
  • Corresponding author: E-mail: C.Jarrold@bristol.ac.uk
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2002
Verbal Short-Term Memory in Down Syndrome
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2002, Vol. 45, 531-544. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/042)
History: Received September 12, 2001 , Accepted February 21, 2002
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2002, Vol. 45, 531-544. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2002/042)
History: Received September 12, 2001; Accepted February 21, 2002

The current study explored three possible explanations of poor verbal short-term memory performance among individuals with Down syndrome in an attempt to determine whether the condition is associated with a fundamental verbal shortterm memory deficit. The short-term memory performance of a group of 19 children and young adults with Down syndrome was contrasted with that of two control groups matched for level of receptive vocabulary. The specificity of a deficit was assessed by comparing memory for verbal and visuo-spatial information. The effect of auditory problems on performance was examined by contrasting memory for auditorily presented material with that for material presented both auditorily and visually. The influence of speech-motor difficulties was investigated by employing both a traditional recall procedure and a serial recognition procedure that reduced spoken response demands. Results confirmed that individuals with Down syndrome do show impaired verbal short-term memory performance for their level of receptive vocabulary. The findings also indicated that this deficit is specific to memory for verbal information and is not primarily caused by auditory or speech-production difficulties.

Acknowledgments
This research was funded by a grant from the Medical Research Council to Alan Baddeley and Susan Gathercole. We are grateful to those individuals with Down syndrome and their families who took part in this research and would also like to thank the following schools for their help and cooperation: Cheddar Grove Primary School, Bristol; Culverhill School, Warmley; Florence Brown School, Bristol; Kingsweston School, Bristol; Fosse Way School, Midsomer Norton; Ravenswood School, Nailsea.
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