Relation Between Cognitive and Motor Performance in 5- to 6-Year-Old Children: Results From a Large-Scale Cross-Sectional Study


concerning this article should be addressed to Ms. Renske Wassenberg, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Brain and Behaviour Institute, Maastricht University, Dr. Tanslaan 10, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Electronic mail may be sent to


The relation between cognitive and motor performance was studied in a sample of 378 children aged 5–6. Half of these children had no behavior problems; the others were selected for externalizing (38%) or internalizing problems (12%). Quantitative and qualitative aspects of motor performance were related to several aspects of cognition, after controlling for the influence of attention. No relation between global aspects of cognitive and motor performance was found. Specific positive relations were found between both aspects of motor performance, visual motor integration and working memory, and between quantitative aspects of motor performance and fluency. These findings reveal interesting parallels between normal cognitive and motor development in 5- to 6-year-old children that cannot be ascribed to attention processes.