The role of goal representation in preschoolers' flexibility and inhibition


  • Blaye Agnès
  • Chevalier Nicolas

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This study addressed the role of goal representation in preschoolers' inhibition and flexibility performance. A total of 56 4- and 5-year-olds were tested in an adapted version of the Shape School task where the difficulty of goal representation was manipulated by varying the degree of transparency of task cues. The findings showed that both age groups' performance in the flexibility phase was increased when demands on goal representation were alleviated by using transparent cues instead of arbitrary cues. Furthermore, 4-year-olds performed more accurately on go trials in the inhibition phase with transparent cues than with arbitrary cues. These results confirm the critical role of goal representation in flexibility and reveal its influence in inhibition contexts. Altogether, this study suggests that goal representation is a key element for efficient executive function across a variety of settings involving different executive functions. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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