Interference control in preschoolers: factors influencing performance on the day–night task
Article first published online: 21 JAN 2008
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Infant and Child Development
Volume 17, Issue 5, pages 457–470, September 2008
How to Cite
Montgomery, D. E., Anderson, M. and Uhl, E. (2008), Interference control in preschoolers: factors influencing performance on the day–night task. Inf. Child Develop., 17: 457–470. doi: 10.1002/icd.559
- Issue published online: 23 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 21 JAN 2008
- cognitive development;
- interference control;
- executive function;
- Stroop effect
Two experiments investigated preschoolers' interference control in variants of the day–night task. The day–night task involves instructing children across 16 trials to say the word ‘day’ when viewing a card depicting a nighttime sky and to say ‘night’ when shown a picture of the daytime sky. The purpose of the experiments was to investigate whether the depiction on each card distracts children because it is semantically associated with the instructed response or because the depicted item cues the alternative (incorrect) response within the response set. The results in the first study (N=23, M=52.65 months) and second study (N=54, M=50.81 months) indicate that a close semantic relation between the picture and the target response does not pose substantial interference for preschoolers. In contrast, the pictured item poses a significant challenge for preschoolers when it depicts the interfering alternative in the response set. Theoretical implications of these results for the development of interference control are discussed. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.