Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

Dr. John Paul Minda

Abstract

The present study examined category learning in relation to inhibitory control and working memory in children and adults. Results revealed that categorization performance improved with age. Young children struggled with rule learning, many older children were successful at rule learning, and most adults had no difficulty with the task. Model-based analyses suggested that performance differences were due to young children’s inability to inhibit the salient, but irrelevant rule. Interestingly, when the analyses focused only on older children and adults who used the task appropriate strategy, the age-related rule-based deficit disappeared. Also, results revealed that successful performance on the categorization task was associated with better inhibitory control for older children, whereas successful performance on the categorization task was associated with greater working memory in young children. These findings suggest that the ability to learn categories varies with age and it may be partially dependent on inhibitory control and working memory.


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