Infant and Child Development

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Volume 27 Issue 4 (July/August 2018), Pages

The Grasping Task: A 12‐month predictor of 24‐month delay task performance and BRIEF‐P inhibition scores

Abstract

Important developments in executive function are thought to occur during the second year of life, but few tools exist to assess executive function in this period. We argue that, to be effective, tasks for this age range need to reduce the abstract nature of the task rules and reduce reliance on verbal instruction. We present the Grasping Task, which uses familiar objects presented in such a way as to communicate the rules of the task to infants with no need for verbal instruction or abstraction. A longitudinal validity study of infants from 12 to 24 months old showed the Grasping Task at 12 months predicted children's performance on delay tasks and scores on the inhibition scale of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function for preschool children at 24 months but were unrelated to scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III at 18 months, suggesting the task captures an aspect of early inhibitory development that is distinct from general cognitive functioning.

Highlights

  • We assessed the predictive validity of the grasping task, a new measure of emerging inhibitory skills in infancy.
  • Grasping task scores at 12 months predicted children's delay task scores and BRIEF‐P inhibition scores at 24 months.
  • The grasping task could be an important new tool in understanding the emergence and development of inhibitory control in infancy.

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