Background: Working memory (WM) is generally considered an area of weakness in the cognitive profile associated with Down syndrome (DS). The great majority of studies explored WM in this population through a comparison with typical development (TD) on the basis of mental age or developmental level. However, it is also relevant to understand how these skills develop and whether such development could be more related to chronological or developmental level. In the present study, we explored cross-sectional developmental trajectories of spatial-sequential and spatial-simultaneous WM in individuals with DS across chronological age and developmental level. Typically developing children (TD) of similar mental age were also included as a comparison group. Methods: Eighty-four individuals with DS (aged between 7 and 30 years) and 327 children with TD (aged between 4 and 8 years) were administered with tasks to assess spatial-sequential and spatial-simultaneous WM, together with tasks to assess both general verbal and spatial developmental levels. Results and conclusion: Performance in spatial-simultaneous WM task was lower compared with spatial-sequential WM task in both groups. In the case of individuals with DS, the developmental trajectories of chronological age are better described through a segmented model showing increased performance until approximately 13 years of age, followed by a rather flat progress. In the case of TD children, developmental trajectories are better described through a linear model in the spatial-simultaneous WM task when chronological age is considered; in the spatial-sequential WM, the increase in performance with age was however characterised by a discontinuity at age 6. The increase in performance followed a linear pattern in both groups (DS and TD) without substantial differences between the types of measure used (verbal vs. spatial) when the developmental level is considered.

Developmental trajectories of spatial-sequential and spatial-simultaneous working memory in Down syndrome

Carretti B.
;
Meneghetti C.;Doerr E.;Toffalini E.;Lanfranchi S.
2021

Abstract

Background: Working memory (WM) is generally considered an area of weakness in the cognitive profile associated with Down syndrome (DS). The great majority of studies explored WM in this population through a comparison with typical development (TD) on the basis of mental age or developmental level. However, it is also relevant to understand how these skills develop and whether such development could be more related to chronological or developmental level. In the present study, we explored cross-sectional developmental trajectories of spatial-sequential and spatial-simultaneous WM in individuals with DS across chronological age and developmental level. Typically developing children (TD) of similar mental age were also included as a comparison group. Methods: Eighty-four individuals with DS (aged between 7 and 30 years) and 327 children with TD (aged between 4 and 8 years) were administered with tasks to assess spatial-sequential and spatial-simultaneous WM, together with tasks to assess both general verbal and spatial developmental levels. Results and conclusion: Performance in spatial-simultaneous WM task was lower compared with spatial-sequential WM task in both groups. In the case of individuals with DS, the developmental trajectories of chronological age are better described through a segmented model showing increased performance until approximately 13 years of age, followed by a rather flat progress. In the case of TD children, developmental trajectories are better described through a linear model in the spatial-simultaneous WM task when chronological age is considered; in the spatial-sequential WM, the increase in performance with age was however characterised by a discontinuity at age 6. The increase in performance followed a linear pattern in both groups (DS and TD) without substantial differences between the types of measure used (verbal vs. spatial) when the developmental level is considered.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3409649
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