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Improving prospective memory in normally developing pre-school aged children.

Prospective Memory (PM) is a type of memory where an intention needs to be remembered in the future. As existing literature in the area of PM abilities generally, and improving PM through the delivery of reinforcements, specifically, has been both inconsistent and sparse, this study aims to help clarify and extend this knowledge using three separate PM tasks. In this study I aimed to investigate PM abilities in pre-school aged children and examine whether these abilities could be improved through the delivery of positive reinforcement. A computer-based Shopping trip simulation game was used where I used PowerPoint slides to show pictures of different local locations and children were asked to remember which shops needed to be stopped at. They then were required to state what items were needed in each location, using a Multiple baseline design with four children aged 2-5 years old. Two separate naturalistic PM tasks were also included in order to remove any bias that may have been found with the laboratory-type task. They included a simple recognition task embedded in the Shopping task and a second task where the children were asked to remind the experimenter to ask for stickers at the conclusion of the initial task. Results from the naturalistic tasks showed ceiling or near ceiling effects across all scores in all participants. The results of the ‘Shopping trip’ task found a positive effect of reinforcement on PM performance with two of the four participants with no to little effect shown with the remaining two children. Possible reasons for those individual differences occurred are discussed.
Type of thesis
Hamling, C. S. J. (2016). Improving prospective memory in normally developing pre-school aged children. (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10646
University of Waikato
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