Developmental changes in visuospatial working memory

Makio Oka, Akihito Takeuchi, Teruko Morooka, Tatsuya Ogino, Yoko Ohtsuka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated the developmental changes in visuospatial working memory using the Visuospatial Span Task (VST) and the Matrix Visuospatial Working Memory Test (VSWMT). VST is a short-term storage task, while VSWMT is a complex dual task. VSWMT requires the use of storage, processing, and selective attention, all of which are thought to be supported by the central executive (Baddeley). The subjects of this study were 60 typically developing children (43 boys and 17 girls) aged 6-14 years (average 10.4 years). For each task we evaluated span scores and the number of total passed trials, and investigated the changes that occurred with age. To further elucidate age-related changes in visuospatial working memory, we divided the subjects into three age groups (Group A:6-8 years, Group B:9-11 years, and Group C:12-14 years of age), and statistically evaluated the differences between the groups. In both tasks, span scores and the number of total passed trials showed definite age-related changes from 6 to 14 years of age. Span scores and the number of total passed trials in VSMWT continued to increase until adolescence, with significant differences between the three age groups, while those in VST increased significantly between Groups A and B (the number of total passed trials only) and between Groups A and C (span scores and the number of total passed trials) ;there was no significant difference between Groups B and C, however. These results suggest that the network of the brain involved in visuospatial working memory gradually matures during early school years and adolescence, and that the basic mechanisms of this network exist by 6-7 years of age. Our results also show that VST and VSWMT are suitable tests for the evaluation of visuospatial working memory in childhood and adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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