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A developmental deficit in short-term phonological memory: Implications for language and reading.
Baddeley, A.D. & Wilson, B.A.
Memory, 1, 65-78.
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QU, an eight-year old boy, was identified from a large scale normative study on the basis of his greatly reduced digit span, combined with normal long-term memory and non-verbal intelligence. Further investigation indicated that his visual STM was normal, but that he was clearly impaired on two verbal STM tests, nonword repetition and memory span for words. His span showed clear effects of phonological similarity and word-length, suggesting qualitatively normal functioning of the phonological loop component of working memory, despite a quantitative impairment in level of performance. This pattern resembles that found in an earlier study of children with a specific language disorder. We tested QU on measures of vocabulary, syntax, and reading, and found him to be substantially below the age norms on all three. The implications of these findings are discussed for the role of the phonological loop in language development.