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Sustained attention in infancy as a longitudinal predictor of self-regulatory functions
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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2015 (English)In: Infant Behavior and Development, ISSN 0163-6383, E-ISSN 1879-0453, Vol. 41, 1-11 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous literature suggests that attention processes such as sustained attention would con-stitute a developmental foundation for the self-regulatory functions executive functioningand effortful control (e.g., Garon, Bryson, & Smith, 2008; Rothbart, Derryberry, & Posner,1994). Our main aim was to test this hypothesis by studying whether sustained attentionat age 1 year can predict individual differences in self-regulatory functions at age 2 years.Longitudinal data from 66 infants and their parents were included in the study. Sustainedattention was assessed during free play at age 1 year; executive functioning, measured usingan eye-tracking version of the A-not-B task, and effortful control, measured using parentalratings, were assessed at both age 1 and age 2 years. The results did support a longitudinalprediction of individual differences in 2-year-olds’ self-regulatory functions as a function ofsustained attention at age 1 year. We also found significant improvement in both executivefunctioning and effortful control over time, and the two self-regulatory constructs wererelated in toddlerhood but not in infancy. The study helps increase our understanding ofthe early development of self-regulatory functions necessary for identifying developmentalrisks and, in the future, for developing new interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 41, 1-11 p.
Keyword [en]
Attention, Self-regulation, Executive functioning, Effortful control, Infancy
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-263508DOI: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2015.07.001ISI: 000365375100001PubMedID: 26241679OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-263508DiVA: diva2:858327
Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-10-01 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Attention and Self-regulation in Infancy and Toddlerhood: The Early Development of Executive Functions and Effortful Control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attention and Self-regulation in Infancy and Toddlerhood: The Early Development of Executive Functions and Effortful Control
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Executive functions are higher-order cognitive functions underlying self-regulation of behavior. That is, executive functions make it possible to resolve internal conflicts and behave according to future goals rather than acting on sudden impulses or going on automatic. Very similarly, the temperamental construct of effortful control is defined as being able to inhibit a dominant response, instead acting on a subdominant response. In children, poor executive functions and low levels of effortful control have both been associated with several negative outcomes, such as lower academic achievements and externalizing behavior problems. Although these self-regulatory functions seem to play a very important role in child development, little is still known about them during the first years of life. Furthering the knowledge of early executive functions and effortful control would likely increase the chances of early detection of risks of poor development. The present thesis aimed to investigate individual differences in executive functions and effortful control in infancy and toddlerhood, as well as the early development of, and the relation between, these two functions. The thesis further aimed to investigate the relationship between the self-regulatory functions and activity level, and the possibility of predicting toddlerhood self-regulatory functions with sustained attention in infancy. In Study I, individual differences in 10-month-olds’ rudimentary executive functions were found, and these were related to temperamental activity level. In Study II, individual differences in sustained attention in infancy were found to predict toddlerhood executive functions and effortful control. Both these self-regulatory functions improved significantly from infancy to toddlerhood although the individual stability was low. Executive functions and effortful control were related in toddlerhood but not in infancy. In Study III we replicated and extended the finding of a longitudinal relation between infant sustained attention and toddlerhood executive functions. In addition, partial support for the proposition that executive functions develop in a hierarchical fashion was found, with simple inhibition being predictive of more complex forms of working memory two years later. The results from the three studies combined contribute to a better understanding of the early development of the self-regulatory functions executive functions and effortful control.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2015. 71 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 117
Keyword
Executive functions, Effortful control, Sustained attention, Infancy
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-263510 (URN)978-91-554-9355-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-11-20, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
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Available from: 2015-10-27 Created: 2015-10-01 Last updated: 2015-11-10

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Johansson, MariaMarciszko, CarinGredebäck, GustafNyström, PärBohlin, Gunilla

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