Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Yuko Munakata

Second Advisor

Jesse Niebaum

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Abstract

Young children transition from engaging cognitive control reactively in the moment to proactively planning ahead as they develop. Reactive control has been suggested as the adaptive control mode for young children because it allows them to learn and take in information while proactive control is likely a more effortful process. Children’s sensitivity to control modes and ability to adapt accordingly is not well known. This study explores whether children coordinate their behavior and adapt towards well-rehearsed cognitive control practices. In addition, trait worry was examined to see its influence on cognitive control mode processes. We investigated these relationships in children and adults using a demand selection task in which cues were available either before or after target onset and participants chose which mode they preferred; then, levels of worry were tested using established measures. Five-year-olds coordinated their behavior to avoid the proactive deck, whereas 10-year-olds did not have a distinct preference and adults preferred the proactive deck. Trait worry did not influence cognitive control processes. These results highlight adaptive coordination in response to control demands across development.

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