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GPS2016 Child Psychology Essay

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Essay Title:   
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Definition

A working memory is a process that involves storing, focusing attention on, and manipulating information for a relatively short period of time, such as a few seconds (Working Memory. 2018). The working memory has three functions which includes, encoding, storage and retrieval. There are also two types of working memory, one being auditory memory and the other would be visual-spatial memory. An example would be when a child has a weak working memory, they would find it harder to digest information and this would result in the child having lesser material to work with when they are working on a piece of work. A child with a weak working memory would also find it difficult to pay attention, reading comprehensions and remember instructions. 

Influence of Bilingual Experiences on Working Memory

According to Baker, it is known that the effects of bilingualism on the cognitive development used to be a controversial topic, among many linguistics, and also concerned parents and educators (Baker, C. M, 2013, p. 8). Many of these parents and educators wonder if it would be practical to raise or educate their children bilingually. However, in Peal and Lambert’s (1962) study (as cited by Baker, 2013), the results showed that the bilinguals performed better than the monolinguals on a number of IQ tests. Hence, there was a significant amount of connection between bilingualism and the cognitive development. 
The working memory is a short-term memory. Hence, instead of all information going into one single store, there are different systems for different types of information. Firstly, there is the central executive system whereby it drives the whole system and helps to distribute data into the subsystems which is the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad. According to McLeod (1970, January 01), the function of the central executive system is also to deal with cognitive tasks such as mental arithmetics and problem-solving. Secondly, there is the visuospatial sketchpad whereby it stores and processes data through visual or spatial form, for example, shapes and colours. This likewise enables us to manipulate pictures in our mind and this can be found in a round of Tetris, as one pivots a shape to perceive how it may fit or show up from an alternate point. The visuospatial sketchpad is also commonly used for navigating from one place to another or when giving directions to someone else. Lastly, the phonological loop is a part of the working memory that deals with articulation and written material. The loop consists of two parts which is the phonological store which acts as an inner ear and the articulatory control process which acts as the inner voice. The phonological store is linked to speech perception and it also allows an individual to hold information in a speech form for a few seconds (McLeod, S. (1970, January 01). The articulatory control process is linked to speech production which is used to rehearse and store verbal information from the phonological store (McLeod, S. (1970, January 01). 
Bilingualism influences the advancement and effectiveness of the brain’s multifactorial ‘executive control system’. The bilingual mind is accustomed to taking care of two languages at the same time. This creates abilities for capacities, for example, inhibition (an intellectual component that disposes of irrelevant stimuli), exchanging consideration, and working memory. These abilities make up the brain’s executive control system which cares for high level thought, multi-tasking, and maintained consideration. Since bilingual individuals are accustomed to exchanging between their two languages, they are additionally better at shifting between assignments, regardless of whether they have anything to do with language. Individuals who speak two languages have likewise been shown to have more productive monitoring systems. A recent report demonstrated that monolinguals and bilinguals react comparably when the brain’s monitoring system is not burdened, however in conditions requiring high monitoring requests, bilinguals were quicker. Bilingual individuals likewise beat monolingual individuals in spatial working memory tasks.

How Working Memory is Measured for Young Children 

There are various ways to measure working memory in children. The working memory is a key cognitive function in order for someone to hold information in mind, and at the same time manipulating the information stored (Roman, A. S., Pisoni, D. B., & Kronenberger, W. G. (2014). Numerous recent studies have reported that children with high working memory scores demonstrate more prominent social abilities, more effective objective coordinated practices, higher responsive vocabularies, greater engagement in classroom exercises, and more prominent accomplishments in science and perusing. Issues related with poor working memory in children incorporate low levels of accomplishment in reading and mathematics, poor general academic progress, difficulty in complex critical thinking and unsettling influences in managing and shifting attention. Working memory is regularly thought of as a ‘psychological workbench’ or ‘workspace’ on account of its focal part in language handling, thought, and activity (Roman, A. S., Pisoni, D. B., & Kronenberger, W. G. (2014). 
One of the ways to assess children’s working memory is through the Missing Scan Task (MST). According to an assessment, 65 Beanie Babies (little animal molded bean-filled packs) were utilized as test stimuli. Examples of animals in the test set incorporate turtle, pig, bovine, and duck. Every Beanie Baby was referred to by the name the child provided for each animal, in order for the child to keep the need to learn new vocabulary, provided that the child utilized this label consistently and did not refer to another animal in a similar set by a similar name. To evaluate existing information of the animals names in the stimulus set, children were asked to name pictures from every Beanie Baby animal prior to completing the MST. On the off chance that the child did not perceive the animal, the animal was excluded in the test set. 
For the MST, the child sat opposite the experimenter where a little cardboard house was set on the table confronting the child. Out of the child’s observable pathway, a bag was put under the table that contained the 65 animal molded Beanie Babies. The experimenter disclosed to the kid that they would play a memory game. The experimenter brought out two randomly selected Beanie Babies and put them on the table before the child. The two animals represented a memory set size of two and were utilized as the preparation and practice set for every child. The child was then requested to name the two animals out loud and to recall the animals since they were going inside the house where the child would not have the capacity to see them any longer, and when they returned out of the house, one of the animals would be missing. Every kid was given around 10 seconds to take a gander at the animals in the memory set and name them so anyone can hear before the experimenter set them inside the house. A few seconds after the fact, one Beanie Baby was brought pull out (picked aimlessly), and the child was asked, ‘Which one is missing?’ The child needed to show comprehension of the directions previously continuing with the MST. On the off chance that the child was not able to exhibit an understanding, he/she would not proceed with the MST. All children who tried effectively finished the training set and continued to the test sets. 

Advantages of Bilingualism on Working Memory

Researchers have found that regardless of whether bilingual children beat monolingual children on visuospatial and verbal working memory tests was examined. Moreover, relations among bilingual capability, dialect use at home, and working memory were investigated. The bilingual Turkish– Dutch kids in this investigation were brought up in families with lower socioeconomic status (SES) and had lesser Dutch vocabularies than Dutch monolingual controls. Having these qualities, they are a piece of an under-looked into bilingual populace. It was discovered that the bilingual Turkish– Dutch kids indicated subjective picks up in visuospatial and verbal working memory tests when SES and vocabulary were controlled, specifically on tests that require handling and not simply capacity. These discoveries meet with late examinations that have uncovered bilingual intellectual favorable circumstances past restraint, and they bolster the speculation that involvement with double dialect administration impacts the focal official control framework that manages preparing over an extensive variety of errand requests. Besides, the outcomes demonstrate that bilingual cognitive advantages are found in socioeconomically disadvantaged bilingual populations and suggest that benefits to executive control are moderated by bilingual proficiency. Hence it has been proven that bilingualism has advantages to the working memory. 

References

Working Memory. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/working%20memory

Baker, C. M. (2013). Effects of bilingualism on working memory ability. Effects of bilingualism on working memory ability. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from https://search.proquest.com/openview/a1c5ff57e239e1bd2f82a2299ecb3a1d/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y.

McLeod, S. (1970, January 01). Working Memory. Retrieved January 23, 2018, from https://www.simplypsychology.org/working%20memory.html

Roman, A. S., Pisoni, D. B., & Kronenberger, W. G. (2014). Assessment of Working Memory Capacity in Preschool Children Using the Missing Scan Task. Infant and Child Development, 23(6), 575–587. http://doi.org/10.1002/icd.1849

Blom, E., Küntay, A. C., Messer, M., Verhagen, J., & Leseman, P. (2014). The benefits of being bilingual: Working memory in bilingual Turkish–Dutch children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology,128, 105-119. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2014.06.007

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