Cross-national stability in private speech (PS) and short-term memory was investigated in Saudi Arabian (n = 63) and British (n = 58) 4- to 8-year-olds. Assumed differences in child-adult interaction between the 2 nationality groups led to predictions of Gender x Nationality interactions in the development of verbal mediation. British boys used more self-regulatory PS than British girls, whereas there was no such difference for the Saudi group. When age, verbal ability, and social speech were controlled, boys used slightly more self-regulatory PS than girls. Self-regulatory PS was related to children's use of phonological recoding of visually presented material in a short-term memory task, suggesting that PS and phonological recoding represent different facets of a domain-general transition toward verbal mediation in early childhood
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