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Volume 21 Issue 6 (November 2018), Pages

Longitudinal development of attention and inhibitory control during the first year of life

Abstract

Executive functions (EFs) are key abilities that allow us to control our thoughts and actions. Research suggests that two EFs, inhibitory control (IC) and working memory (WM), emerge around 9 months. Little is known about IC earlier in infancy and whether basic attentional processes form the “building blocks” of emerging IC. These questions were investigated longitudinally in 104 infants tested behaviorally on two screen‐based attention tasks at 4 months, and on IC tasks at 6 and 9 months. Results provided no evidence that basic attention formed precursors for IC. However, there was full support for coherence in IC at 9 months and partial support for stability in IC from 6 months. This suggests that IC emerges earlier than previously assumed.

A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVE17hooANY

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