Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

Eight-year-olds, but not six-year-olds, perform just as well as adults when playing Concentration: Resolving the enigma?

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Anecdotal reports suggest that children often outperform adults when playing Concentration. This is surprising as cognitive processes tend to develop progressively throughout childhood. To date, very few studies have examined this apparent paradox, and with mixed results. In the present study, the ability of 6-year-olds (n = 34), 8-year-olds (n = 48), and adults (n = 38) to play Concentration was examined in a controlled computer-based setup involving eye tracking. The main dependent variables were the number of moves and time in seconds to finish the first nine (out of 12) matching pairs. The results revealed that while 6-year-olds were outperformed by older children and adults, 8-year-olds performed just as well as adults. It is suggested that Concentration may represent a cognitive challenge rarely encountered in the real world, and when playing Concentration, adults seem to use strategies that are effective in real life situations, but may be less appropriate when playing the game.

Original languageEnglish
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume69
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
ISSN1053-8100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • AGE-DIFFERENCES, CHILDREN, Cognitive development, DEVELOPMENTAL-CHANGES, EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS, Eye tracking, Fuzzy trace theory, OBJECT INDIVIDUATION, PERCEPTION, RECOGNITION, SHAPE, Strategy, VISUAL-SPATIAL MEMORY, VISUOSPATIAL MEMORY, Working memory

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