Pictures over words: A cross-sectional study reporting short term memory abilities in children

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Background: An impressive amount of research has been conducted studying the modality effect on multimedia information in children from higher elementary school to college. In the present study, we aimed to examine the modality effect in the recall of multimedia information among children between the age range of 6 years to 9 years 11 months. Methods: The study followed a cross-sectional design and comprised of 80 participants between the ages of 6 years to 9 years 11 months. An animated story was shown to the children, following which a word recall task was performed. In this task, children were asked to recall the words mentioned in the story from a pictorial array. Results: One-way analysis of variance revealed a significant difference in the overall recall abilities of children. The recall performance was strongly related to the modality of the presentation of words. A marginal difference was observed for the recall of auditory-visual words in comparison to recall of words in the auditory modality; wherein older children recalled better in comparison to younger children. The findings of the study could be attributed to the "visual superiority effect", "encoding specificity principle of memory" and "multimedia effect." Conclusion: Recall abilities were observed to increase with age, with the existence of asynchrony in the auditory-visual and auditory recall scores indicating the firm reliance on the modality of presentation of word. The study implications emphasize on the use of visual stimuli for teaching new vocabularies, skills, and concepts in younger children. These findings also highlight the use of visual stimuli while assessing speech, language, and cognitive skills in younger children.



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