Barbara Carretti

Barbara Carretti
University of Padova | UNIPD · Department of General Psychology

PhD

About

109
Publications
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (109)
Article
Children’s performance in arithmetic word problems (AWPs) predicts their academic success and their future employment and earnings in adulthood. Understanding the nature and difficulties of interpreting and solving AWPs is important for theoretical, educational, and social reasons. We investigated the relation between primary school children’s perf...
Article
Several models of working memory (WM) have been proposed in the literature. Most of the research on the architecture of WM is based on adults or older children, but less is known about younger children. In this study, we tested various models of WM on a sample of 739 Italian children, ranging in age from 3 to 8 years, primarily of European heritage...
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Down syndrome (DS) is the most common syndromic cause of intellectual disability, so it has long been of interest to researchers. Although, on average, individuals with DS reach a cognitive functioning level equivalent to that of five- to eight-year-old children, they have distinctive patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses. For a long time,...
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The extent to which impaired visual and phonological mechanisms may contribute to the manifestation of developmental dyslexia across orthographies of varying depth has yet to be fully established. By adopting a cross-linguistic approach, the current study aimed to explore the nature of visual and phonological processing in developmental dyslexic re...
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Mental imagery plays an important role in various contexts of life, involving cognitive resources such as memory, learning, spatial representation, and reasoning. The vividness of mental images depends on different factors, including personal expertise in a certain field. For instance, musicians have been found to possess better auditory imagery ab...
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Background Working memory (WM) is generally considered an area of weakness in the cognitive profile associated with Down syndrome (DS). The great majority of studies explored WM in this population through a comparison with typical development (TD) on the basis of mental age or developmental level. However, it is also relevant to understand how thes...
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Background: Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) is frequent in childhood and may have long-term sequelae. By employing an evidence-based approach, this scoping review aims at identifying (a) early predictors of DLD; (b) the optimal age range for the use of screening and diagnostic tools; (c) effective diagnostic tools in preschool children. Met...
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Background: The analysis of developmental trajectories of visuospatial abilities in individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) remains an unexplored field of investigation to examine in depth. The study aimed to fill such a gap by examining changes in two visuospatial abilities: spatial visualization (the ability to manage spatial stimuli) and mental rot...
Preprint
Mental imagery plays an important role in various contexts of life, involving cognitive resources such as memory, learning, spatial representation and reasoning. The vividness of mental images can depend on different factors, among which the personal expertise in a certain field. For instance, musicians were found to possess better auditory imagery...
Article
The study examines whether the average performance of the population with dyslexia in a working memory measure can be inferred dimensionally from the characteristics of the typical population. Specifically, we focused on Associative Phonological Working Memory (APWM), an ability that we predicted being impaired in dyslexia due to the relationship o...
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Analyzing navigational abilities and related aspects in individuals with Down syndrome (DS) is of considerable interest because of its relevance to everyday life. This study investigates path learning, the conditions favoring it, and the cognitive abilities involved. A group of 30 adults with DS and 32 typically-developing (TD) children matched on...
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Poor response to treatment is a defining characteristic of reading disorder. In the present systematic review and meta-analysis, we found that the overall average effect size for treatment efficacy was modest, with a mean standardized difference of 0.38. Small true effects, combined with the difficulty to recruit large samples, seriously challenge...
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Working memory (WM) training has been shown to increase the performance of participants in WM tasks and in other cognitive abilities, but there has been no study comparing directly the impact of training format (individual vs. group) using the same protocol. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of the Borella et al. three se...
Article
Inhibition is thought to help suppress interference from misconceptions in science learning. Using a pre-, post-, and delayed posttest design, we examined the influence on learning from science texts of three inhibitory-related functions—prepotent response inhibition, resistance to distractor interference, and resistance to proactive interference....
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Since the introduction of writing systems, reading comprehension has always been a foundation for achievement in several areas within the educational system, as well as a prerequisite for successful participation in most areas of adult life. The increased availability of technologies and web-based resources can be a really valid support, both in th...
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Environment learning is essential in everyday life. In individuals with Down syndrome (DS), this skill has begun to be examined using virtual exploration. Previous studies showed that individuals with DS can learn and remember paths in terms of sequences of turns and straight stretches, albeit with some difficulty, and this learning is supported by...
Article
Preschoolers’ ability to form mental spatial models derived from descriptions, and their individual skills in relation to these models have been scarcely examined. The present study examines preschoolers’ ability to mentally represent environments based on verbal descriptions from a survey perspective (i.e. landmark locations presented from an aeri...
Chapter
This chapter presents and discusses a verbal WM training developed for older adults. The model of working memory (WM) proposed by Cornoldi and Vecchi, which is based on an analysis of individual and age-related differences, is used as a framework for discussing the efficacy of the WM training procedure proposed and developed for older adults. The m...
Article
Mindfulness-based interventions are frequently used to support the psychological wellness of the adult population, with positive consequences also on the cognitive aspects. However, the positive influence mindfulness has on children, especially regarding attention deficit disorders, is less analysed. The main objective of this report is to verify i...
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Objectives: Cognitive and mood changes can affect postoperative recovery in hospitalized older adults undergoing major surgical procedures, but few studies have considered postoperative cognitive interventions to sustain such patients' cognitive functioning and mood. The aim of this pilot study was to assess the efficacy of working memory training...
Article
This study analyzed the potential transfer effects on reading comprehension skills of two different training programs administered to 9- to 10-year-old children attending fourth grade classes. One training program was based on a working memory updating paradigm (i.e., words, digits, sentence and text updating working memory tasks). The other progra...
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Evidence in the literature suggests that listening to music can improve cognitive performance. The aim of the present study was to examine whether the short- and long-term gains of a working memory (WM) training in older adults could be enhanced by music listening—the Mozart’s Sonata K448 and the Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor—which differ in tempo a...
Article
Objective: The aim of this study was to assess gains related to working memory (WM) training, in the short and long term (9 months after the training), in abilities required in everyday life, and in cognitive measures in old-old adults (aged ≥ 75 years). Methods: Thirty-two community-dwelling older adults (aged 75-85 years) were randomly assigne...
Article
Introduction: It has been demonstrated that children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have impairments in working memory (WM), and particularly its visuospatial component, responsible for academic underachievement. Furthermore, children with ADHD have difficulty in metacognition, and consequently use inappropriate strategies...
Article
Background: Reading can be assessed using different materials, including non-words and texts. Unlike reading words or non-words, reading a text may be supported by reading comprehension, and the extent of this support could change with the amount of schooling. Aim: The present study aimed to examine how reading decoding in a shallow orthography...
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This study analyzed the mechanisms involved in possible transfer effects for two different working memory updating (WMU) training programs administered to young adults and based on two updating paradigms: n-back and arithmetical updating. The influence of practice distribution on transfer effects was also explored by including two training regimens...
Article
The WM training protocol proposed by Borella et al. found specific and transfer effects among seniors, however, the studies were carried out in the same socio-cultural context and variations in the procedure were never tested. The present study aimed at analyzing the efficacy of Borella et al.’s training, in terms of short and long-term benefits, i...
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Working memory updating (WMU) is a core mechanism in the human mental architecture and a good predictor of a wide range of cognitive processes. This study analyzed the benefits of two different WMU training procedures, near transfer effects on a working memory measure, and far transfer effects on nonverbal reasoning. Maintenance of any benefits a m...
Data
Details of study selection represented by the PRISMA flow diagram. (TIF)
Article
Text is the primary tool to learn disciplinary knowledge in school. Text-based learning is shaped by a complex interplay between the text and reader characteristics. This study examined the role of text structure and inhibition in conceptual learning about energy. Inhibition implies the ability to block dominant but inappropriate responses automati...
Article
Background: The Categorization Working Memory Span Task (CWMS task) is a complex working memory (WM) span test that has been used previously to assess age and individual differences in WM as well as the relationship between WM and complex aspects of cognition such as listening comprehension. Two alternate versions of the task have been developed t...
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Background: Spatial knowledge about an environment is an important determinant of ability to move effectively within it and of personal autonomy. Individuals with Down's syndrome (DS) have difficulty managing configural visuospatial information. Method: Twenty-nine individuals with DS and 29 typically developing (TD) children, matched for mental...
Article
Although certain visuospatial abilities, such as mental rotation, are crucially important in everyday activities, they have been little explored in individuals with Down syndrome (DS). This study investigates: i) mental rotation ability in individuals with DS; and ii) its relation to cognitive abilities and to everyday spatial activities. Forty-eig...
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Background Several studies have found that musicians perform better than nonmusicians in memory tasks, but this is not always the case, and the strength of this apparent advantage is unknown. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis with the aim of clarifying whether musicians perform better than nonmusicians in memory tasks. Methods Education Source; P...
Data
Details of study selection represented by the PRISMA flow diagram. (DOC)
Data
Summary results of meta-analysis by memory system and estimation method. (DOCX)
Article
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Reading comprehension is a complex cognitive task crucial to success in formal education and everyday life activities. Working memory (WM) and associated executive processes have been shown to be implicated in reading comprehension abilities. The aim of the present study was to assess the efficacy of a program for improving reading comprehension sk...
Article
Introduction: Working memory (WM) training is known to produce benefits in older adults' WM. Transfer effects to untrained abilities, however, remain controversial and several aspects are thought to influence the generalization of benefits, including the kind of stimuli used in the training tasks, an aspect rarely addressed in older adults. Objecti...
Article
Recent studies have suggested that the spatial-simultaneous component of working memory (WM), which is involved when stimuli are presented simultaneously, is selectively impaired in individuals with Down syndrome (DS). The main objective of the present study was to examine whether WM performance can be enhanced in individuals with DS by analyzing t...
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Objective: The aim of the present study was to explore whether individual characteristics such as age, education, vocabulary, and baseline performance in a working memory (WM) task—similar to the one used in the training (criterion task)—predict the short- and long-term specific gains and transfer effects of a verbal WM training for older adults. M...
Article
Few studies on individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have explored how they learn space. The present study examines space learning from verbal descriptions in individuals with DS, and explores the role of external cues (such as a sketch map). Twenty-eight individuals with DS and 28 matched typically-developing (TD) children listened to route or surve...
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The purpose of the present study was to test the efficacy of a working memory (WM) training in elderly people, and to compare the effects of a WM training based on an adaptive procedure with one combining the same procedure with the use of a strategy, based on the construction of visual mental images. Eighteen older adults received training with a...
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The present study focuses on the semantic organisation of material in working memory. We developed a new measure in which students memorised unrelated words from lists. In our study, we manipulated the association between words in the lists. The material was organised so as to elicit a semantic organisation (categorical and thematic). The task was...
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MUSICIANS HAVE SUPERIOR PERFORMANCES compared to nonmusicians in many auditory perception tasks. This superiority extends to memory tasks such as the digit span. Literature suggests that the musi-cians' advantage unfolds along two axes: sensory modality (musicians perform better when the task is auditory) and task complexity (musicians tend to perf...
Article
Individuals with MCI show relative weaknesses in executive functioning (EF), as well as poor memory, but the inhibition-related mechanisms behind EF impairment in MCI have not been examined systematically. The aim of the present study was to systematically investigate inhibitory function in individuals with MCI to ascertain whether pathological agi...
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Working memory (WM) has been defined as a system for temporarily retaining and manipulating information while performing a variety of cognitive tasks (Baddeley, 1986). To date, the crucial role of WM in activities of everyday life (including reading, writing, arithmetic, learning, language-processing, orientation, imagination) has been demonstrated...
Article
Several studies have demonstrated that children with poor reading comprehension abilities have weak expressive writing skills too. The aim of the present research was to establish whether poor comprehenders’ low performance in expressive writing is mediated by the need to produce relevant inferences to construct the narrative. To do so, we compared...
Article
Objective: The impact of working memory (WM) training on everyday life functioning has rarely been examined, and it is not clear whether WM training gains are transferred to reasoning abilities. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of a verbal WM training in older adults, in terms of specific gains and transfer effects to everyday life...
Article
Recent studies have suggested that the visuospatial component of working memory (WM) is selectively impaired in individuals with Down syndrome (DS), the deficit relating specifically to the spatial-simultaneous component, which is involved when stimuli are presented simultaneously. The present study aimed to analyze the effects of a computer-based...
Article
Full-text available
Despite doubts voiced on their efficacy, a series of studies has been carried out on the capacity of training programmes to improve academic and reasoning skills by focusing on underlying cognitive abilities and working memory in particular. No systematic efforts have been made, however, to test training programmes that involve both general and spe...
Article
The ability to remember past events and imagine future events (episodic future thinking-EFT) has been shown to decline with aging. However, only few studies have analyzed the cognitive mechanisms involved in EFT in both young and older adults. The present study examined the role of working memory and inhibition on age-related differences between yo...
Article
The aim of the present study was to compare visuospatial working memory performance in 18 individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) and 18 typically developing (TD) children matched for nonverbal mental age. Two aspects were considered: task presentation format (i.e., spatial-sequential or spatial-simultaneous), and level of attentional control (i.e....
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Full-text available
There are evidences showing that music can affect cognitive performance by improving our emotional state. The aim of the current study was to analyze whether age-related differences between young and older adults in a Working Memory (WM) Span test in which the stimuli to be recalled have a different valence (i.e., neutral, positive, or negative wor...
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Background: Metacognition and working memory (WM) have been found associated with success in reading comprehension, but no studies have examined their combined effect on the training of reading comprehension. Another open question concerns the role of listening comprehension: In particular, it is not clear whether training to improve reading compr...
Article
Several studies have suggested that individuals with Down syndrome (DS) have impairments in some aspects of the visuospatial domain. It has been reported that they are particularly impaired in the spatial-simultaneous working memory (WM) even in advantageous conditions such as when information is grouped to form a configuration. This study aimed to...
Article
Several studies have highlighted that children with reading comprehension difficulties also have problems in tasks that involve telling a story, in writing or verbally. The main differences identified regard poor comprehenders' lower level of coherence in their productions by comparison with good comprehenders. Only one study has compared poor and...
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It has been argued that children with learning disabilities (LD) encounter severe problems in working memory (WM) tasks, especially when they need to update information stored in their WM. It is not clear, however, to what extent this is due to a generally poor updating ability or to a difficulty specific to the domain to be processed. To examine t...
Article
The purpose of the present study was to test the efficacy of a visuospatial working memory (WM) training in terms of its transfer effects and maintenance effects, in the young-old and old-old. Forty young-old and 40 old-old adults took part in the study. Twenty participants in each age group received training with a visuospatial WM task, whereas th...
Article
The current study analyzed the relationship between reading comprehension and IQ, measured with WISC-R and WISC III, in a clinical population aged between 6 and 15 years. The reading comprehension performance was correlated to total IQ score, Verbal and Performance IQ scores; in addition the contribution of each subtests for reading comprehension w...
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Background: Several studies have shown an increase in memory performance after teaching mnemonic techniques to older participants. However, transfer effects to non-trained tasks are generally either very small, or not found. Methods: The present study investigates the efficacy of a multifactorial memory training program for older adults living i...