Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Testing an interference-based model of working memory in children with developmental language disorder and their typically developing peers


Children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) have deficits in verbal and nonverbal processing relative to typically developing (TD) peers. We examined working memory in DLD relative to age-matched TD peers (9-13 years) under the serial-order-in-a-box – complex span model. This model posits a time-based mechanism, Free Time, that governs how interference affects processing performance. Results showed that Free Time was positively associated with accuracy when recall and interference stimuli had verbal features (b = 0.00; stat = 3.11; p < .01), and combined verbal and nonverbal features (b = 0.00; stat = 3.05; p < .01). Group differences in this relationship were evident when recall stimuli had verbal features regardless of interference stimuli features (b = -0.00; stat = -3.66; p < .001; b = 0.00; stat = 2.97; p < .01). Findings suggest a greater role of Free Time for verbal than nonverbal content, which varies depending on participant characteristics.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View