Two experiments examined whether the association between word-learning, nonword repetition, and immediate serial recall observed in children also exists in normal adults. The experiments also introduce a novel paradigm for studying word-learning. Experiment 1 studied the performance of 52 adults in nonword repetition, immediate serial recall, and word-learning tasks, examining the correlation between these measures. The results indicate that the developmental relationships between all three abilities also exist in adults. Experiment 2 investigated the robustness of these results using different stimuli and a variant of the word-learning task, and it also examined performance in a visuospatial span task, to test an alternative account of the results of Experiment 1; the results from 58 adults provide further evidence that the developmental association between word-learning, nonword repetition, and immediate serial recall extends into adulthood. The theoretical implications of these findings are discussed in terms of alternative models of the relationship between these abilities.
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