Following instructions from working memory: Why does action at encoding and recall help?

Agnieszka J. Jaroslawska, Susan E. Gathercole, Richard J. Allen, Joni Holmes

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40 Citations (Scopus)
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Two experiments investigated the consequences of action at encoding and recall on the ability to follow sequences of instructions. Children ages 7–9 years recalled sequences of spoken action commands under presentation and recall conditions that either did or did not involve their physical performance. In both experiments, recall was enhanced by carrying out the instructions as they were being initially presented and also by performing them at recall. In contrast, the accuracy of instruction-following did not improve above spoken presentation alone, either when the instructions were silently read or heard by the child (Experiment 1), or when the child repeated the spoken instructions as they were presented (Experiment 2). These findings suggest that the enactment advantage at presentation does not simply reflect a general benefit of a dual exposure to instructions, and that it is not a result of their self-production at presentation. The benefits of action-based recall were reduced following enactment during presentation, suggesting that the positive effects of action at encoding and recall may have a common origin. It is proposed that the benefits of physical movement arise from the existence of a short-term motor store that maintains the temporal, spatial, and motoric features of either planned or already executed actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183–1191
Number of pages9
JournalMemory and Cognition
Early online date21 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

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