Errors in nonword repetition: bridging short- and long-term memory

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Santos, Flávia Heloísa dos [UNESP]
Bueno, O.F.A.
Gathercole, S.E.

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Associação Brasileira de Divulgação Científica (ABRADIC)


According to the working memory model, the phonological loop is the component of working memory specialized in processing and manipulating limited amounts of speech-based information. The Children's Test of Nonword Repetition (CNRep) is a suitable measure of phonological short-term memory for English-speaking children, which was validated by the Brazilian Children's Test of Pseudoword Repetition (BCPR) as a Portuguese-language version. The objectives of the present study were: i) to investigate developmental aspects of the phonological memory processing by error analysis in the nonword repetition task, and ii) to examine phoneme (substitution, omission and addition) and order (migration) errors made in the BCPR by 180 normal Brazilian children of both sexes aged 4-10, from preschool to 4th grade. The dominant error was substitution [F(3,525) = 180.47; P < 0.0001]. The performance was age-related [F(4,175) = 14.53; P < 0.0001]. The length effect, i.e., more errors in long than in short items, was observed [F(3,519) = 108.36; P < 0.0001]. In 5-syllable pseudowords, errors occurred mainly in the middle of the stimuli, before the syllabic stress [F(4,16) = 6.03; P = 0.003]; substitutions appeared more at the end of the stimuli, after the stress [F(12,48) = 2.27; P = 0.02]. In conclusion, the BCPR error analysis supports the idea that phonological loop capacity is relatively constant during development, although school learning increases the efficiency of this system. Moreover, there are indications that long-term memory contributes to holding memory trace. The findings were discussed in terms of distinctiveness, clustering and redintegration hypotheses.



Children, Working memory, Phonological memory, Nonword repetition, Language acquisition, Phonological loop

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Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research. Associação Brasileira de Divulgação Científica, v. 39, n. 3, p. 371-385, 2006.