Cognitive correlates of memory integration across development: Explaining variability in an educationally relevant phenomenon.

The current research was an investigation of the cognitive correlates of individual differences in participants’ capacity to derive new factual knowledge through integration of information acquired across separate yet related learning episodes. In a sample of 117 adults (Experiment 1) and 57 children aged 8 to 10 years (Experiment 2), we investigated the respective roles of verbal comprehension, working memory span, and relational reasoning in self-derivation of new knowledge through memory integration. The findings revealed patterns of consistency and inconsistency in the cognitive profiles underlying this form of learning in adults and children. In both adults and children, verbal knowledge and skills accounted for variability in self-derivation. Variance in adults, but not in children, was further explained by working memory. Given that individual differences in self-derivation have implications for real-world academic outcome, we also investigated the association between self-derivation and academic performance. We found that performance on the experimentally based self-derivation paradigm was related to concurrent and longitudinal academic success in both samples. The present research thus builds on the growing body of behavioral and neuroscientific research to advance our understanding of the cognitive factors associated with behaviors that depend on memory integration in both childhood and adulthood and also provides suggestive evidence of critical ways in which the process may differ in children and adults. Together, the findings provide a theoretically plausible and practically significant framework from which to guide future research aimed at enhancing this educationally relevant learning phenomenon. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)