The Retention of Memory in Two-Year-Old and Five-Year-Old Children Based on Time

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Memory is an important part of our everyday lives, whether it be remembering a phone number or remembering to brush your teeth. Memory enables us to make it through the day, completing our daily tasks. The major structure of the brain that is responsible for memory is the hippocampus. This can be found in the limbic lobe of the brain (Cobb, 2001). Memory is a series of interrelated systems made up of, sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. We will be focusing on working memory, otherwise known as short-term memory. STM has a limited storing capacity, which is usually replaced by new information every 30 seconds if it is not rehearsed. Retrieval of these items is automatic and not everyone has the same capacity of memory, especially when it comes to young children. Older children can hold onto more information in their working memories than can younger children can (Cobb, 2001).

Although there have not been many studies on children’s memory versus time, there have been studies based around children’s memory in general. In one such study, a researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that children’s increased speed of recall accompanies the improvement in short-term memory (Cowman, 2005). This is important because the memory serves as an index for intelligence and mental maturation. The memory span in turn increases because of the growth in the speed of mental processing. This means that as we age, our short-term memory increases.

As part of our experiment, we want to discover when children’s memory begins to improve or if there is any significant improvement at all. In attempt to ascertain this, we will be testing the memory of two-year-old and five-year-old children and comparing their results based on the length of time between seeing an object and recalling the object. Hopefully, this will be able to tell us if children’s short-term memory is dissimilar at different ages. In my own prediction, I feel that the five-year-old children will have an easier time with recall at both lengths of time. I believe this because of the above research on older children being able to hold bits of information for longer periods of time.


Participants will include four young children. There will be two children that are two years of age and two children that are five years of age. The children attend the Early Childhood Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The ECC is located in the Gifford building, which is the location of the Human Development and Family Studies department on campus. The students most likely live in the Fort Collins area, which is predominantly a middle class city. We have consent from the ECC teachers to use the children as test subjects for our experiment.

In our experiment, we will be testing the two-year-old children on one afternoon and testing the five-year-old children on a second afternoon. In our testing, we will be using two sets of three flat, foam shapes. The first set will include a blue triangle (9.5cm x 9.5cm x 9.5cm), a black house (8.5cm x 7cm), and a yellow heart (6cm x 7cm). The second set of shapes will include a green rectangle (9.5cm x 4cm), a white moon (9cm x 6cm), and an orange circle (7cm x 7.5cm). One group member, Sara, will sit with the children and present the shapes to the children on a flat table. The experimenter, our two sets of shapes, and our time intervals will remain constant throughout the experiment.

Dr. Paik will first obtain consent for the young children to participant in the memory experiment. Following this, the sets of children will be tested on separate days based on their age. The two-year-old will be tested first and then the five-year-olds. A familiar individual will retrieve the students from the ECC and bring them to the testing room. A teacher from the ECC will also be present to reassure the children. The children...
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