Procedural memory allows acquisition, consolidation and use of motor skills and cognitive routines. Automation of procedures is achieved through repeated practice. In children, improvement in procedural skills is a consequence of natural neurobiological development and experience.
The aim of the present research was to make a preliminary evaluation and description of repetition-based improvement of procedures in typically developing children (TDC). Ninety TDC children aged 6-12 years were asked to perform two procedural learning tasks. In an assembly learning task, which requires predominantly motor skills, we measured the number of assembled pieces in 60 seconds. In a mirror drawing learning task, which requires more cognitive functions, we measured time spent and efficiency. Participants were tested four times for each task: three trials were consecutive and the fourth trial was performed after a 10-minute nonverbal interference task. The influence of repeated practice on performance was evaluated by means of the analysis of variance with repeated measures and the paired-sample test. Correlation coefficients and simple linear regression test were used to examine the relationship between age and performance.
TDC achieved higher scores in both tasks through repetition. Older children fitted more pieces than younger ones in assembling learning and they were faster and more efficient at the mirror drawing learning task.
These findings ...