• ‘Unpacking the Box’: A Novel Tool to Assess the Development of Working Memory in Children

      Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Iranzo, Lisa (University of Chester, 2016)
      Children’s performance on working memory tests improves with age, although the reasons for this development are not well understood. Furthermore, the concept of enjoyment of task has received little attention. The aim of this study was to examine a novel tool, ‘Unpacking the Box’, which has been designed by the charity ‘Triangle’ to assess working memory in a friendly and enjoyable way. Children were tested using four measures; a digit span task, a Corsi block task, a listening span task and a task using the novel resource ‘Unpacking the Box’. A 3x2 between-subjects design was employed with primary children aged six, seven and eight years old. A 3x2 within subjects Anova revealed a significant main effect of age on performance of ‘Unpacking the Box’, with the greatest differences between six and seven year olds and six and eight year olds. Non-parametric analyses revealed high levels of enjoyment with the novel tool ‘Unpacking the Box’. The tool is currently used to work with victims who are giving evidence in court. This study demonstrated that the novel resource is a highly effective, practical, enjoyable and engaging method for assessing working memory in children. As such, there are many possibilities for the future development of ‘Unpacking the Box’ for use in educational and clinical settings.