Do neural measures of executive function account for income differences in preschool children's effortful control?
Ruberry, Erika J.
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This study examined whether differences in neural processes of executive attention and inhibitory control accounted for income differences observed in performance on behavioral effortful control tasks. We aimed to clarify what specific mechanisms might underlie the link between the context of low income and diminished executive control development in the preschool period. The study utilized a sample of preschool age children (N =117) whose families represented the full range of income, with 32% of families near poverty and another 32% lower income families. Children completed a neuropsychological battery of effortful control tasks, and then completed two executive function measures while EEG was collected. We predicted that differences in ERP (event-related potentials) correlates of the executive function measures would account for income differences observed on the effortful control battery. Performance and ERPs from the executive measures were related to performance on the effortful control battery. Income predicted performance on the effortful control battery, but was not related to ERPs. Potential implications for this lack of association are discussed.
- Psychology