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ERIC Number: EJ958150
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 47
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7219
Executive Functioning by 18-24-Month-Old Children: Effects of Inhibition, Working Memory Demands and Narrative in a Novel Detour-Reaching Task
McGuigan, Nicola; Nunez, Maria
Infant and Child Development, v15 n5 p519-542 Sep-Oct 2006
Infants can inhibit a prepotent but wrong action towards a goal in order to perform a causal means-action. It is not clear, however, whether infants can perform an arbitrary means-action while inhibiting a prepotent response. In four experiments, we explore this executive functioning in 18-24-month-old children. The working memory and inhibition demands in a novel means-end problem were systematically varied in terms of the type and combination of means-action(s) (causal or arbitrary) contained within the task, the number of means-actions (1 or 2), the goal visual availability and whether the task was accompanied by a narrative. Experiments 1 and 2 showed that children performed tasks that contained causal as opposed to arbitrary information more accurately; accuracy was also higher in tasks containing only one step. Experiment 2 also demonstrated that performance in the arbitrary task improved significantly when all sources of prepotency were removed. In Experiment 3, task performance improved when the two means-actions were intelligibly linked to the task goal. Experiment 4 demonstrated that the use of a narrative that provided a meaningful (non-causal) link between the two means-actions also improved children's performance by assisting their working memory in the generation of a rationale. Findings provide an initial account of executive functioning in the months that bring the end of infancy. (Contains 4 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)