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How Does Task Presentation Impact Motor Inhibition Performance in Young Children?

Mason, K; Bowmer, A; Welch, GF; (2021) How Does Task Presentation Impact Motor Inhibition Performance in Young Children? Frontiers in Psychology , 12 , Article 684444. 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.684444. Green open access

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Abstract

Peg tapping tasks are commonly used as a measure of inhibitory skill in young children. However, differences in the way the task is presented may influence children’s performance. For example, if a peg tapping task is presented at regular intervals, children can entrain to the presentation pulse, which may in turn support their performance. This study assessed how speed and regularity of presentation may support or impair children’s responses. An experimenter was filmed delivering the tapping task at two different speeds (120 bpm/3,000 ms per trial and 150 bpm/2,400 ms per trial). Additionally, they were filmed delivering the task at regular intervals (i.e., the onset of each trial was predictable), or at irregular intervals (the onset of each trial was unpredictable). N = 103 children aged between 5 and 6 years old were tested on the task. They completed one block with 20 regular interval trials and another block with 20 irregular interval trials. Block presentation order was randomized. Children who achieved over 90% accuracy on the task were then presented with two more blocks at 150 bpm. Children’s response accuracy was measured. Our results show a difference in children’s accuracy across all conditions with trials presented in an irregular manner producing poorer performance on the task. The study demonstrates how speed and regularity of presentation can affect children’s scores on a tapping task used to measure inhibition. Demands on working memory, motor ability, and speed of processing are all affected by adjustments in presentation. Entrainment to a pulse is also a potential mechanism employed by children to support their performance on this task.

Type: Article
Title: How Does Task Presentation Impact Motor Inhibition Performance in Young Children?
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.684444
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.684444
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 Mason, Bowmer and Welch. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: young children, task presentation, assessment, executive function, motor skills, inhibition, peg tapping
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10132220
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