Abstract Associative and categorical explanations for the organization children and adults display in free recall were tested. It was expected that young children would show output clustering as a function of associations between individual items within categories rather than relationship to the taxonomy itself. Kindergarten, fourth-grade, and tenth-grade subjects were presented with pictures representing the four factorial combinations of high and low interitem association and high and low category relatedness. Each set of pictures could be divided into four taxonomic categories of six items each. Kindergarteners displayed greater category clustering of highly associated items than weak associates. Older subjects showed sensitivity to both organizational dimensions. These data support a hypothesis that young children cluster in recall as a function of associations while older individuals show organizational flexibility which serves to facilitate greater recall.