Elicited Imitation Performance at 20 Months Predicts Memory Abilities in School Age Children

Document Type


Publication Date





During the first decade of life, there are marked improvements in mnemonic abilities. An important question from both a theoretical and applied perspective is the extent of continuity in the nature of memory during this period. The present longitudinal investigation examined declarative memory during the transition from toddlerhood to school age using both experimental and standardized assessments. Results indicate significant associations between immediate nonverbal recall at 20 months (measured by elicited imitation) and immediate verbal and nonverbal memory (measured by standardized and laboratory-based tasks) at 6 years in typically developing children. Regression models revealed this association was specific, as measures of language abilities and temperament were not predictive of later memory performance. These findings suggest both continuity and specificity within the declarative memory system during the first years of life. Theoretical and applied implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Cognition and Development