Working memory spans as predictors of spoken word recognition and receptive vocabulary in children with cochlear implants

Miranda Cleary, David B. Pisoni, Karen Iler Kirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


The present study investigated whether individual differences in working memory could account for a significant proportion of the variance in the open-set word recognition and receptive vocabulary skills of prelingually deafened, pediatric cochlear implant recipients, after the contribution of known predictors was taken into account. The contributions of four measures of working memory were examined separately for children using oral communication (OC) (n = 32) and Total Communication (TC) (n = 29). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Third Edition (WISC) digit-spans, requiring immediate recall of auditory-only lists in both forwards and backwards directions were collected. Two versions of a novel "memory span game" were also administered: One required memory for sequences of colored lights; the other assessed memory for colored lights presented in conjunction with auditory color-names. A contribution from working memory was observed only for the span tasks that incorporated an auditory processing component. These results suggest a relationship between working memory and the examined outcome measures that is specific to the auditory modality, partially linked to communication mode, and not related to individual differences in a general-purpose component of working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-280
Number of pages22
JournalVolta Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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