Visuospatial and Verbal Short-Term Memory Correlates of Vocabulary Ability in Preschool Children Background Recent studies indicate that school-age children's patterns of performance on measures of verbal and visuospatial short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) differ across types of neurodevelopmental disorders. Because these disorders are often characterized by early language delay, administering STM and WM tests to toddlers could improve prediction of ... Research Note
Research Note  |   August 16, 2017
Visuospatial and Verbal Short-Term Memory Correlates of Vocabulary Ability in Preschool Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stephanie F. Stokes
    University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam
  • Thomas Klee
    University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam
  • Myriam Kornisch
    McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Lisa Furlong
    LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Stephanie F. Stokes: sstokes@hku.hk
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Lisa Archibald
    Associate Editor: Lisa Archibald×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Notes
Research Note   |   August 16, 2017
Visuospatial and Verbal Short-Term Memory Correlates of Vocabulary Ability in Preschool Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2017, Vol. 60, 2249-2258. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0285
History: Received July 13, 2016 , Revised November 14, 2016 , Accepted February 27, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 2017, Vol. 60, 2249-2258. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0285
History: Received July 13, 2016; Revised November 14, 2016; Accepted February 27, 2017

Background Recent studies indicate that school-age children's patterns of performance on measures of verbal and visuospatial short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) differ across types of neurodevelopmental disorders. Because these disorders are often characterized by early language delay, administering STM and WM tests to toddlers could improve prediction of neurodevelopmental outcomes. Toddler-appropriate verbal, but not visuospatial, STM and WM tasks are available. A toddler-appropriate visuospatial STM test is introduced.

Method Tests of verbal STM, visuospatial STM, expressive vocabulary, and receptive vocabulary were administered to 92 English-speaking children aged 2–5 years.

Results Mean test scores did not differ for boys and girls. Visuospatial and verbal STM scores were not significantly correlated when age was partialed out. Age, visuospatial STM scores, and verbal STM scores accounted for unique variance in expressive (51%, 3%, and 4%, respectively) and receptive vocabulary scores (53%, 5%, and 2%, respectively) in multiple regression analyses.

Conclusion Replication studies, a fuller test battery comprising visuospatial and verbal STM and WM tests, and a general intelligence test are required before exploring the usefulness of these STM tests for predicting longitudinal outcomes. The lack of an association between the STM tests suggests that the instruments have face validity and test independent STM skills.

Acknowledgments
We are very grateful to the families who participated in the research and the research students who assisted with piloting original versions of the tests in earlier studies.
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