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Psychol Sci. 2006 Jun;17(6):478-84.

Predicting cognitive control from preschool to late adolescence and young adulthood.

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Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, 406 Babbidge Rd., Unit 1020, Storrs, CT 06269, USA.


In this longitudinal study, the proportion of time preschoolers directed their attention away from rewarding stimuli during a delay-of-gratification task was positively associated with efficiency (greater speed without reduced accuracy) at responding to targets in a go/no-go task more than 10 years later. The overall findings suggest that preschoolers' ability to effectively direct their attention away from tempting aspects of the rewards in a delay-of-gratification task may be a developmental precursor for the ability to perform inhibitory tasks such as the go/no-go task years later. Because performance on the go/no-go task has previously been characterized as involving activation of fronto-striatal regions, the present findings also suggest that performance in the delay-of-gratification task may serve as an early marker of individual differences in the functional integrity of this circuitry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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