Hasselhorn, M. (1992). Task Dependency and the Role of Category Typicality and Metamemory in
the Development of an Organizational Strategy. Child Development, 63.
Strategic activation of ones own category knowledge
emerges between 8-10 years of age
Competence should become evident, at least, when
supportive task environments and list materials available
Expect evidence in three behavioral aspects (when high
typical items presented in sort-recall task):
amount and speed (10yo superior to 8 yo)
recall consequences and metamemory antecedents
obtained (10yo but not for 8yo)
capacity of strategic subjects (greater for 10yo than 8yo)
192 German children (50/50, grades 2&4), from 3 public
Distal specific metamemory assessed by modified version
of Organized List subtest (designed by Borkowskis
15-20 min sessions: sort-recall & free recall tests
Sort-recall: 24 cards with images, experimenter names
items, child told to arrange in sequence deemed best for
his/her learning, (30 sec questions to control for recency
effects), child asked to recall items in any order, child asked
to think over recall and to say how s/he managed to
remember so many pictures
Free recall: same as above except, items presented in
fixed, randomized order with no 2 pictures from same
category appearing contiguously, cards named by
experimenter at controled rate (1 per 4 sec) and procedure
repeated 3 times
First step in assessing results was to test for sex effects,
which found significant differences for recall (and not for other
Over 90% of subjects from middle- or upper-class homes
Does not take into consideration possibility of different
natural learning styles (visual vs aural)
Does not mention other possible influences on abilities (no
sense of curriculum)
QuickTime and a
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Grade differences in category clustering are function of age
differences in category knowledge in free recall task, but not
in sort-recall/high typicality condition
Believe 4th grade ability to use working memory capacity
explained by metamemorial competence, which elicits use of
organizational strategy when appropriate contextual support
Key finding: childrens use of organizational strategy
significantly influenced by task (sort-recall much easier than
free recall, higher levels of clustering and recall for sortrecall, latency period differences far greater in sort-recall,
proximal and metamemorial awareness of category structure
of to-be-remembered items significantly higher)
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