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A handwriting task was used to test the assumption that explicit learning is dependent on age and working memory, while implicit learning is not. The effect of age was examined by testing both, typically developing children (5–12 years old, n = 81) and adults (n = 27) in a counterbalanced within-subjects design. Participants were asked to repeatedly write letter-like patterns on a digitizer with a non-inking pen. Reproduction of the pattern was better after explicit learning compared to implicit learning. Age had positive effects on both explicit and implicit learning; working memory did not affect learning in either conditions. These results show that it may be more effective to learn writing new letter-like patterns explicitly and that an explicit teaching method is preferred in mainstream primary education.


School of Psychology

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Journal Article

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