Conant, L. L., Fastenu, P. S., Giordani, B., Boivin, M. J., Chouaramany, C.,
Xaisida, S., Choulamountry, L., & Pholsena, P. (2003). Environmental
influences on primary memory development: A cross-cultural study of
memory span in Lao and American children. Journal of Clinical &
Experimental Neuropsychology, 25(8), 1102-1116.
ABSTRACT: Although research examining Auditory-Verbal and Visual Memory Span in adults has failed to provide compelling evidence for the modality specificity of such tasks. Fastenau, Conant and Lauer (1998) suggested that these processes may be dissociable in children until around the age of 8 years when visuospatial memory span appears to become more verbally mediated perhaps as a function of formal reading training. A subsequent cross-cultured study in Zai¨re (now Democratic Republic of Congo) by Conant and colleagues (1999) supported that hypothesis. However, other differences in the sociocultural environment of American and rural Zai¨rian children such as nutritional and health care factors could potentially account for the findings. The present study examines the relationships among Auditory-Verbal, Visual, and Cross-Modal Memory Span tasks with 46 Lao and 56 American children. Both samples were divided into younger and older groups and separate partial correlational analyses were performed on Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC) data from each group. In younger Lao and American children, Auditory-Verbal Memory Span was not significantly correlated with Visual Memory Span or Cross-Modal Memory Span, whereas significant correlations were found between Auditory-Verbal Memory Span and these other tasks in older children form both countries. The similar pattern in both cultures, Visual Memory Span may change with reading training.