School of Psychology Annual Lecture 2019

‘Rehearsal and the development of verbal short-term memory’ – Professor Chris Jarrold

University of Kent staff and students and the general public are invited to attend our Annual Lecture, which is to be held on Wednesday, 22 May 2019.   The talk will begin at 3pm in Keynes Lecture Theatre 4 (KLT4) and be followed by a drinks reception in Keynes Atrium Foyer at 4pm.  If you would like to attend this event please email by 15 May 2019.

The title of the talk is “Rehearsal and the development of verbal short-term memory” and it will be given by Chris Jarrold, Professor in Cognitive Development, School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol.


Verbal short-term memory (VSTM) undoubtedly improves across childhood and is thought to support children’s acquisition of vocabulary and other academic abilities. Understanding the causes of VSTM development is therefore of both theoretical and practical importance. An influential view is that apparent changes in VSTM capacity reflect change in the use of rehearsal to support performance. However, in this talk I critique that position, before putting forward a radical reassessment of the status of rehearsal. I focus in particular on the claim that children undergo a qualitative change in their use of rehearsal around the age of 7. Here I show that key evidence to support this view can instead be explained by general improvements in memory capacity, review data showing gradual improvements in the strategic use of rehearsal in children, and develop the implications of my account for neuropsychological cases where VSTM is compromised.

Brief biography

Chris Jarrold is Professor in Cognitive Development and Head of the School of Psychological Science at the University of Bristol (  He is a world-leading expert on cognitive development, especially on the processes that support goal-directed behaviour and the maintenance of information in immediate memory, among both typically and atypically developing children.  His work has been funded through numerous research grants, and has had a significant influence on both theory development and educational practice, leading to him receiving prestigious early- and mid-career awards from the British Psychological Society and Experimental Psychology Society.

The talk is being hosted by David Williams, Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Kent.  We would be delighted if you are able to join us for the talk.