Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Abstract

Although “memory” research and theory often come under the domain of cognitive psychology, these areas may also be seen as being open to radical behavioral interpretations. Delayed matching to sample (DMTS) preparations have often been used to study performance that involves the occurrence of behavior some time after the presentation of a relevant stimulus, or what is typically called short-term memory (STM). The current study involved three experiments that provided evidence for the role of overt behavior in the mediation of DMTS performance in five-year-old children. Experiments 1 and 2 support the assertion that sample-specific, differential mediating behavior (in the form of key presses) may facilitate criterion-level performance in a DMTS task with delays of up to 15 seconds. In addition, Experiment 3 examined the effectiveness of two forms of hand positioning as the mediating response forms: sample specific hand positions that remained visible to the participants and those that were not visible to the participants during the delay interval. Results are consistent with interpretations of memory that involves behavioral mediation rather than mediation that requires a unique “mental” process.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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