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Not all distractions are the same: Investigating why preschoolers make distraction errors when switching

Blakey, Emma and Carroll, Daniel 2018. Not all distractions are the same: Investigating why preschoolers make distraction errors when switching. Child Development 89 (2) , pp. 609-619. 10.1111/cdev.12721

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When switching between tasks, preschoolers frequently make distraction errors – as distinct from perseverative errors. This study examines for the first time why preschoolers make these errors. One hundred and sixty-four two- and three-year-olds completed one of four different conditions on a rule-switching task where children sorted stimuli according to one rule and then switched to a new rule. Conditions varied according to the type of information that children needed to ignore. Children made significantly more distraction errors when the to-be-ignored information was related to the previous rule. When it was not related to a previous rule, even young preschoolers could disregard this information. This demonstrates that distraction errors are caused by children’s initial goal-representations that continue to affect performance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cognitive flexibility, executive functions, preschoolers
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0009-3920
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 August 2016
Date of Acceptance: 19 August 2016
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2018 15:38

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