Age-related differences in inhibitory control in the early school years

Macdonald, Jacqui A., Beauchamp, Miriam H., Crigan, Judith A. and Anderson, Peter J. 2013, Age-related differences in inhibitory control in the early school years, Child neuropsychology: a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 1-18, doi: 10.1080/09297049.2013.822060.

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Title Age-related differences in inhibitory control in the early school years
Author(s) Macdonald, Jacqui A.ORCID iD for Macdonald, Jacqui A.
Beauchamp, Miriam H.
Crigan, Judith A.
Anderson, Peter J.
Journal name Child neuropsychology: a journal on normal and abnormal development in childhood and adolescence
Volume number 20
Issue number 5
Start page 1
End page 18
Total pages 18
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abringdon, Eng.
Publication date 2013
ISSN 0929-7049
Keyword(s) inhibition
inhibitory control
Stroop task
executive functions
Summary The transition to school is associated with a greater requirement to inhibit irrelevant or inappropriate thought and behavior in order to concentrate on effective learning and to interact successfully with peers. Current knowledge of inhibitory control development in the early school years is limited due to a lack of normative data from age-appropriate, sensitive measures. In this study, three pictorial versions of the Stroop task were administered to investigate inhibitory control development in early school-aged children. Age-related trajectories of inhibition and effects of gender were examined in 80 children (42 boys) aged 5 to 8 years. All children were assessed with the Cognitive Assessment System Expressive Attention subtest (Big-Small Stroop), Fruit Stroop, and Boy-Girl Stroop. The Big-Small Stroop revealed substantial age-related improvement in inhibition from 5 to 7 years with a levelling of performance at 8 years of age, while the Fruit Stroop and Boy-Girl Stroop demonstrated clear but nonsignificant age trends. In particular, older children committed fewer errors and corrected their errors more frequently than younger children. Performance on all Stroop tasks correlated significantly, providing evidence that they tap similar cognitive abilities. Some gender differences were found. This study indicates that inhibitory skills develop rapidly in the early school years and suggests that error awareness may be a useful indicator of the development of cognitive inhibition for this age group.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/09297049.2013.822060
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2013, Taylor & Francis
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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