The time-based resource-sharing model (P. Barrouillet, S. Bernardin, & V. Camos, 2004) assumes that during complex working memory span tasks, attention is frequently and surreptitiously switched from processing to reactivate decaying memory traces before their complete loss. Three experiments involving children from 5 to 14 years of age investigated the role of this reactivation process in developmental differences in working memory spans. Though preschoolers seem to adopt a serial control without any attempt to refresh stored items when engaged in processing, the reactivation process is efficient from age 7 onward and increases in efficiency until late adolescence, underpinning a sizable part of developmental differences.
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