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Hum Mov Sci. 2014 Feb;33:284-97. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2013.08.011. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

The relation between cognitive and motor performance and their relevance for children's transition to school: a latent variable approach.

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Center for Cognition, Learning, and Memory, University of Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address:
Center for Cognition, Learning, and Memory, University of Bern, Switzerland.


Both theoretically and empirically there is a continuous interest in understanding the specific relation between cognitive and motor development in childhood. In the present longitudinal study including three measurement points, this relation was targeted. At the beginning of the study, the participating children were 5-6-year-olds. By assessing participants' fine motor skills, their executive functioning, and their non-verbal intelligence, their cross-sectional and cross-lagged interrelations were examined. Additionally, performance in these three areas was used to predict early school achievement (in terms of mathematics, reading, and spelling) at the end of participants' first grade. Correlational analyses and structural equation modeling revealed that fine motor skills, non-verbal intelligence and executive functioning were significantly interrelated. Both fine motor skills and intelligence had significant links to later school achievement. However, when executive functioning was additionally included into the prediction of early academic achievement, fine motor skills and non-verbal intelligence were no longer significantly associated with later school performance suggesting that executive functioning plays an important role for the motor-cognitive performance link.


Academic achievement; Cognitive performance; Executive function; Fine motor skills; Motor control; School readiness

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