WORKING MEMORY DEVELOPMENT IN RELATION TO EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE
Financing source: UEFISCSU, PN-II-RU 427/2010
The project aims at a detailed investigation of intrinsic and extrinsic constraints involved in working memory development, during preschool and early school age (at 5, 7 and 10 years). This period represents a critical interval, during which working memory functioning it at the interplay of intrinsic influences (cerebral maturation associated with executive functions development) and extrinsic ones, represented by the new demands of the family and school environment. In this context, we aim to obtain: 1) a componential analysis of working memory tasks, in order to identify the mechanisms involved; 2) the assessment of working memory perormance as a result of inter-individual differences; and 3) the identification of optimal predictors for school performance. The componential analysis will target the distinction between storage and processing in working memory tasks, relating them to short-term and long-term memory. In the analysis of the various processes involved in working memory functioning, an emphasis will be placed on the Updaing ability, in relation to executive functioning as a whole. In order to accomplish our second objective, the memory performance will be related to inter-individual differences (age, intelligence, anxiety level, family environment), offering and integral and integrated image within the child’s psycho-social environment. by the end of the research project, the tasks identified as best predictors of shcool performance will set the stage for a working memory trainig program, as recent research points to the possibility of working memory improvement as a result of training, with a transfer of the progress at the level of fluid intellgence, in general. Therefore, the results of the research project will translate into a program for early identification and prevention of learning disabilities, as well as for ensuring an optimal school functioning.