Children of 3 ages (8, 10, and 12 years) and adults were asked to decide rapidly whether 2 line drawings were same or different based on either physical appearance (physical match) or name information (name match). Reaction times were used to estimate several temporal measures of information-processing efficiency, such as the difference between different and same judgments, the difference between name-match and physical-match judgments, and 2 types of interference. Different judgments required more time than same judgments for children but not for adults, and the difference between these decreased with age. As expected, name judgments required more time than physical judgments, but the difference did not decrease regularly with age. Interference in name-match decisions due to conflicting and irrelevant physical information decreased with age; however, interference in physical-match judgments due to conflicting and irrelevant name information does not decline with age and was a significant factor in the performance of older children and adults. The results underscore the complex character of developmental change in processing efficiency.
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