Comparing single- and dual-process models of memory development

Brett K. Hayes, John C. Dunn, Amy Joubert, Robert Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


This experiment examined single-process and dual-process accounts of the development of visual recognition memory. The participants, 6–7-year-olds, 9–10-year-olds and adults, were presented with a list of pictures which they encoded under shallow or deep conditions. They then made recognition and confidence judgments about a list containing old and new items. We replicated the main trends reported by Ghetti and Angelini () in that recognition hit rates increased from 6 to 9 years of age, with larger age changes following deep than shallow encoding. Formal versions of the dual-process high threshold signal detection model and several single-process models (equal variance signal detection, unequal variance signal detection, mixture signal detection) were fit to the developmental data. The unequal variance and mixture signal detection models gave a better account of the data than either of the other models. A state-trace analysis found evidence for only one underlying memory process across the age range tested. These results suggest that single-process memory models based on memory strength are a viable alternative to dual-process models for explaining memory development.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12469
JournalDevelopmental Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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