Cognitive control across adolescence: Dynamic adjustments and mind-wandering

Gyurkovics, M., Stafford, T. and Levita, L. (2020) Cognitive control across adolescence: Dynamic adjustments and mind-wandering. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 149(6), pp. 1017-1031. (doi: 10.1037/xge0000698) (PMID:31599622)

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Models of cognitive development suggest that cognitive control, a complex construct that ensures goal-directedness even in the face of distractions, is still maturing across adolescence. In the present study, we investigated how the ability to dynamically adjust cognitive control develops in this period of life, as indexed by the magnitude of the congruency sequence effect (CSE) in conflict tasks, and how this ability might relate to lapses of attention (mind-wandering [MW]). To these ends, participants from four age groups (12–13, 14–15, 18–20 and 25–27 years old) completed confound-minimized variants of the flanker and Simon tasks, along with a Go/No-Go task with thought probes to assess their frequency of mind-wandering. The CSE was present in both tasks, but was not affected by age in either of them. In addition, the size of the CSE in the flanker, but not in the Simon task was negatively associated with the frequency of MW with awareness. Trait MW and the probability of reporting MW during the task was found to increase with age in accordance with cognitive resource views of MW. Our findings suggest that at the behavioral level there are no substantial developmental changes through the adolescent period in control adjustment ability as measured by the CSE. Response inhibition performance in the Go/No-Go task, however, improved significantly with age. The implications of the present results for the conflict monitoring account of the CSE and extant theories of MW are discussed.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gyurkovics, Dr Mate
Authors: Gyurkovics, M., Stafford, T., and Levita, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN (Online):1939-2222
Published Online:10 October 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 American Psychological Association
First Published:First published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 149(6):1017-1031
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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