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Consistent use of proactive control and relation with academic achievement in childhood

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Original languageEnglish
Early online date8 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


As children become older, they better maintain task-relevant information in preparation of upcoming cognitive demands. This is referred to as proactive control, which is a key component of cognitive control development. However, it is still uncertain whether children engage in proactive control consistently across different contexts and how proactive control relates to academic abilities. This study used two common tasks—the AX Continuous Performance Task (AX-CPT) and the Cued Task-Switching Paradigm (CTS)—to examine whether proactive control engagement in 102 children (age range: 6.91- 10.91 years) converges between the two tasks and predicts academic abilities. Proactive control indices modestly correlated between tasks in higher but not lower working-memory children, suggesting that consistency in proactive control engagement across contexts is relatively low during childhood but increases with working memory capacity. Further, working memory (but not verbal speed) predicted proactive control engagement in both tasks. While proactive control as measured by each task predicted math and reading performance, only proactive control measured by CTS additionally predicted reasoning, suggesting that proactive control can be used as a proxy for academic achievements.

    Research areas

  • proactive control, AX Continuous Performance Task, Cued Task-Switching Paradigm, working memory, verbal speed, academic achievements

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