Development of abstract thinking during childhood and adolescence: The role of rostrolateral prefrontal cortex
- Iroise Dumontheil
- Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
We recently introduced a two-component model of the mechanisms underlying age differences in memory functioning across the lifespan. According to this model, memory performance is based on associative and strategic components. The associative component is relatively mature by middle childhood, whereas the strategic component shows a maturational lag and continues to develop until young adulthood. Focusing on work from our own lab, we review studies from the domains of episodic and working memory informed by this model, and discuss their potential implications for educational settings. The episodic memory studies uncover the latent potential of the associative component in childhood by documenting children's ability to greatly improve their memory performance following mnemonic instruction and training. The studies on working memory also point to an immature strategic component in children whose operation is enhanced under supportive conditions. Educational settings may aim at fostering the interplay between associative and strategic components. We explore possible routes towards this goal by linking our findings to recent trends in research on instructional design.