Individual Differences in Preschool Aged Children's Inhibitory Control: Adding Borders to the Day/Night Task

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Virginia Tech


Inhibitory control is vital to typical development and matures rapidly throughout early childhood. Inhibitory control deficits are seen in both autism spectrum disorders and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and, along with other executive functions, inhibitory control contributes to school success. The tasks used to measure and stress these skills in children have not been fully explored. Even given the cognitive development levels of young children, the current inhibitory control tasks for preschoolers are not completely comparable to the tasks used with adults. For my thesis study, I added a mixed condition to the day/night inhibitory control task in preschool children using methodological design features from the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) Task. This addition allowed the day/night task to serve as a better analogue to the Stroop task, which is an inhibitory control task commonly used with adults. In addition, electroencephalogram (EEG) illuminated the neural patterns of the task in children at age four. This study demonstrated that the borders condition of the day/night task is an appropriate executive function task that can be used with preschool aged children.



Inhibitory control, executive function, working memory, EEG