Relational memory is associated with academic achievement in preadolescent children

Kelsey M. Hassevoort, Naiman A. Khan, Charles H Hillman, Arthur F Kramer, Neal J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cognitive functions supported by the hippocampus, including relational memory and the implementation of effective learning strategies, are purported to be vital to academic success. Yet there is little evidence tying performance on standardized measures of academic achievement to performance on hippocampal-dependent tasks. This study tested the association between relational memory performance and academic achievement. Preadolescent participants (N = 181; mean age = 8.7 years; 97 females) completed the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, 2nd edition (KTEA-II) along with the Mnemonic Similarity Task (MST) and a task designed to assess both spatial relational memory and the resolution of memory for highly similar studied objects. A subset of participants (n = 40) completed an additional spatial reconstruction relational memory task. While performance on the MST and object memory resolution were not significantly associated with academic achievement, relational memory performance was positively associated with mathematics, written language, and overall academic achievement. The association between relational memory and academic achievement remained significant even after controlling for demographic factors including age, sex, and socioeconomic status. These findings suggest that the processes underlying relational memory performance are critical for academic success during preadolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Neuroscience and Education
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Academic achievement
  • Development
  • Memory
  • Relational memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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