Cross-modal working memory binding and word recognition skills: how specific is the link?

Shinmin Wang, Richard J. Allen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Recent research has suggested that the creation of temporary bound representations of information from different sources within working memory uniquely relates to word recognition abilities in school-age children. However, it is unclear to what extent this link is attributable specifically to the binding ability for cross-modal information. This study examined the performance of Grade 3 (8–9 years old) children on binding tasks requiring either temporary association formation of two visual items (i.e., within-modal binding) or pairs of visually presented abstract shapes and auditorily presented nonwords (i.e., cross-modal binding). Children’s word recognition skills were related to performance on the cross-modal binding task but not on the within-modal binding task. Further regression models showed that cross-modal binding memory was a significant predictor of word recognition when memory for its constituent elements, general abilities, and crucially, within-modal binding memory were taken into account. These findings may suggest a specific link between the ability to bind information across modalities within working memory and word recognition skills.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)514-523
    Number of pages10
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 21


    • Mandarin
    • Working memory
    • cross-modal binding
    • episodic buffer
    • word acquisition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Psychology(all)


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