CONTRIBUTIONS OF AGENCY VS. NON-AGENCY TO SEQUENTIAL MEMORY IN 3-YEAR OLDS
Shuck, Lauren Haumesser
Woodward, Amanda L.
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Two studies explored the effect of agency on memory in 3-year-old children when learning a sequence in a picture-book format. Previous research has shown that with both adults and older children, the inclusion of agency in free verbal recall is a central theme. However, very young children are often thought to have poor memory for social events because of their verbal limitations. By using a form of deferred imitation, Study 1 explored social episodic memory in a non-verbal sequential reconstruction task. Children who saw an agent in the picture sequence reconstructed more steps than those that did not see an agent present in the picture-books. Study 2 expanded upon these results by investigating the extent to which agency is necessary in order to improve memory, and what properties of the Study 1 increased performance. In this study, participants who were presented with an agent in only the first and last picture of the sequence did not reconstruct more steps than those that did not see an agent present. Taken together, agency may increase memory for a sequence but only if ample amounts of agentive cues are present throughout.