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Study finds 4-year-olds are considerably better than adults at remembering rhyming verse

27 April 2017

Many parents will attest that their young children seem to have a remarkable knack for remembering rhymes, even exceeding their own abilities.

Can this really be true? In nearly all other contexts, adult memory is known to be superior to that of children, for obvious reasons, including the immaturity of children’s brain development and their lack of sophisticated mnemonic strategies.

A small study in Developmental Science has put pre-literate four-year-olds’ memory abilities to the test, finding that they outperformed their parents, and a comparison group of young adults, in their ability to recall a previously unfamiliar short rhyme: “The Radish-nosed King”.

“We argue that children are better than adults at recalling verse because they exercise the skill more in order to participate in the transmission of their culture through songs and stories, poems and taunts,” the researchers said.

Read more on our Research Digest blog.


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