Organization facilitates memory—if you have the appropriate classification skills

C. Tomlinson-Keasey, Donald G. Crawford, Debra C. Eisert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two experiments 120 boys and girls, aged 3-6, were divided into two groups: Those who showed classification skills on a variety of Piagetian tasks and those who did not. The presence or absence of these classification skills was then related to the child's ability to organize and remember a list of 15-20 familiar items presented sequentially via a slide projector. It was hypothesized that classification skills are a necessary component of the processes of organization and retrieval. Children who evidenced class inclusion skills were able to organize items for efficient recall. However, children with less sophisticated classification skills did not organize the material spontaneously but were able to organize the lists if they were given category cues. Interestingly, even when these Ss showed increased organization in their recall, the increased organization was not accompanied by a greater number of items recalled. It was concluded that the operation of class inclusion is a part of the development of the organizational skills that are so critical for storage and retrieval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1979
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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