Short term memory and working memory in blind versus sighted children
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There is evidence that blind people may strengthen their memory skills to compensate for absence of vision. However, which aspects of memory are involved is open to debate and a developmental perspective is generally lacking. In the present study, we compared the short term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) of 10-year-old blind children and sighted children. STM was measured using digit span forward, name learning, and word span tasks; WM was measured using listening span and digit span backward tasks. The blind children outperformed their sighted peers on both STM and WM tasks. The enhanced capacity of the blind children on digit span and other STM tasks confirms the results of earlier research; the significantly better performance of the blind children relative to their sighted peers on verbal WM tasks is a new interesting finding. Task characteristics, including the verbal nature of the WM tasks and strategies used to perform these tasks, are discussed.