The Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM) and the Word Memory Test (WMT) are measures designed to detect poor effort that have been extensively used with adults. Little research has been conducted examining whether these tests are suitable for use in children. The aims of the present study were to (a) examine if children between the ages of 6 and 11 years were able to obtain scores above cutoffs recommended for adults on the TOMM, (b) identify clinically useful cutoff scores for the oral WMT, (c) determine whether the TOMM and the oral WMT were able to differentiate controls (n = 50) and coached simulators (n = 40) aged 6 to 11 years, and, lastly, (d) reading ability, nonverbal reasoning and vocabulary level were measured to determine if these factors affected performance on the TOMM and oral WMT. Results revealed that 98% of children instructed to perform at their best were able to meet criteria on the TOMM. Based on a cutoff score of less than 78.5% on the mean of the Immediate and Delayed Trials of the oral WMT, 98% of the controls and 90% of the coached simulators were correctly identified. Results indicated that the TOMM and oral WMT are useful measures for the detection of enactment in children as young as 6.
We administered the German Test-battery of Attention Performance (KITAP) to Arab children living in Syria (N=143, 5-11 years) in order to assess the influence of age and gender on different dimensions of attention. The results demonstrate the validity of cross-cultural application of KITAP with Syrian school-aged children. The influence of age was more evident on speed of performance than on quality of performance, with rapid, general improvement until the age of 9 years. Some attention functions like alertness and inhibitory control seemed to be developed earlier than other functions like, flexibility, distractibility, and divided attention. Gender-related differences were observed in some subtests: Boys had faster reaction times but made more errors than girls. Interestingly, Arab-Syrian children showed better performance on some attention tests compared with German norms. The present study provides support for the use of cross-cultural studies for better understanding of the development of attention in school-aged children.
This study addresses the relation between lexico-semantic body knowledge (i.e., body semantics) and spatial body representation (i.e., structural body representation) by analyzing naming performances as a function of body structural topography. One hundred and forty-one children ranging from 5 years 2 months to 10 years 5 months old were asked to provide a lexical label for isolated body part pictures. We compared the children's naming performances according to the location of the body parts (body parts vs. head features and also upper vs. lower limbs) or to their involvement in motor skills (distal segments, joints, and broader body parts). The results showed that the children's naming performance was better for facial body parts than for other body parts. Furthermore, it was found that the naming of body parts was better for body parts related to action. These findings suggest that the development of a spatial body representation shapes the elaboration of semantic body representation processing. Moreover, this influence was not limited to younger children. In our discussion of these results, we focus on the important role of action in the development of body representations and semantic organization.
The development of three aspects of selective attention was studied in 451 Dutch schoolchildren attending second to sixth grade. Selective attention was measured with the d2 Test of attention. The largest age differences were found for processing speed that continued to improve until the sixth grade. Impulsivity, as measured by the percentage of errors of commission, decreased until the fourth grade. Inattention, measured by the percentage of errors of omission, was stable in all grades. Processing speed and impulsivity were correlated with the score on the Attention Problems subscale of the Child Behavior Checklist. These results imply that selective attention continues to develop, at least, until the end of elementary school. The findings are support for a step-wise model of cognitive development (P. Anderson, 20022.
Anderson , P. 2002. Assessment and development of executive function (EF) during childhood. Child Neuropsychology, 8: 71–82. [Taylor & Francis Online], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references).
Footballers run the risk of incurring mild head injury from a variety of sources, including the intentional use of the head to play the ball, known as heading. This paper presents a preliminary exploratory analysis of data collected to examine whether cumulative incidence of mild head injury, or cumulative heading frequency, are related to neuropsychological functioning in male adolescent footballers. In a quasi-experimental cross-sectional design, neuropsychological test scores of school team footballers were compared with those of similarly aged rugby players and noncontact sport players. Cumulative mild head injury incidence was estimated using self-reports, and cumulative heading was estimated using a combination of observation and self-reports. No participants had sustained a head injury within 3 months of testing. There was no relationship between head injury and neuropsychological performance, and there were no decrements in either the footballers or the rugby players in comparison with the noncontact sport players. Within the footballers, cumulative heading did not predict any of the neuropsychological test scores. These findings indicate the absence of neuropsychological impairment arising due to cumulative mild head injury incidence, or cumulative heading. Although these null findings may be reassuring to players, parents, and football organizers, we stress that they are preliminary. Further data is being collected from the same populations to provide more reliable effect estimates.
Executive functions are thought to be the latest functions to mature. However, this view has not been tested by assessing simultaneously memory, perception of emotions, visuospatial perception, and visuoconstructional skills. NEPSY II norm data from 1000 5- to 16-year-old U.S. children were obtained. Fifteen NEPSY II subtests with no floor or ceiling effects in any age group and no major changes in task type were selected. The 16-year level was attained at age 12 to 13 in all subtests with two exceptions: social perception (age 10 to 11) and narrative memory (age 14). Trend analyses showed that development was rapid in the age range 5 to 9 years followed by a deceleration in the rate of development. Peak performances were reached at 14 to 16 years but later in some subtests representing executive functions, verbal memory, and visuospatial performance. Thus, the study specified developmental time tables of neurocognitive functions. It demonstrated that not only executive functions but also verbal memory and visuospatial performance continue to develop beyond age 16.
Few methods exist to measure declarative (explicit) memory in children during the toddler and preschool stages of development. We report the development and psychometric properties of a new measure of declarative memory for this age group, the Color Object Association Test (COAT). In pilot testing and large scale application of the test, the COAT was demonstrated to be a reliable and a valid measure of declarative memory for healthy children ages 18-36 months, living in a disadvantaged community. The test shows a linear developmental trajectory, which allows longitudinal examination of the development of declarative memory in children.
Abstract Concurrent and 2-year longitudinal relations were investigated between two indicators of children's ( n =60; mean age = years 11 months) executive function, inhibitory control and sequencing ability, and behavior problem symptomatology. Dependent measures were parent and teacher reported internalizing and externalizing behavior. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses demonstrated few significant concurrent associations between either inhibitory control or sequencing ability, and behavior problem symptoms. In contrast, baseline inhibitory control predicted decreased teacher reported externalizing, and parent reported externalizing and internalizing behavior problems over a 2-year period. Baseline sequencing ability also predicted decreased teacher reported externalizing and parent reported internalizing behavior over this same time period. Results suggest that some aspects of executive function in early elementary grade-school children may be more strongly associated with change in behavior over time than concurrent behavior. Implications of these findings for the prevention of behavior problems are discussed.
Previous reports of cognitive functioning in children with the 22q11 Deletion Syndrome have reported marked variability in IQ and achievement subtest scores. Studies have begun to explore neuropsychological function in 22q11 DS however results are inconsistent and the profile incomplete. We assessed 40 children ages 5-12 with 22q11 DS. Consistent with past results, visual-spatial memory was significantly lower than verbal memory. Differentially lowered scores were found only in visual attention, working memory and motor function. Contrary with some past results quantitative, verbal ability, and visual spatial memory scores were within 1 SD from the standardization sample mean. Motor behavior, not typically discussed with regard to 22q11 DS school-age children, may be critical to incorporate in neurocognitive studies of children with 22q11 DS. Implications of these findings are considered with regard to past results.
In this exploratory study, the neuropsychological and learning profile of nine primary school age children with velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS) was studied by systematic neuropsychological testing. In five out of nine children, the following profile was found: a VIQ-PIQ discrepancy (in favor of the VIQ), significantly better scores (.05 level) for reading (decoding) and spelling compared to arithmetic, deficient tactile-perceptual skills (difficulties mainly on the left side of the body), weak but not deficient visual-perceptual abilities, deficient visual-spatial skills, extremely poor psychomotor skills (gross motor skills more deficient than fine motor skills), problems with processing of new and complex material, poor visual attention, good auditory memory and relatively good language skills. These findings correspond to the pattern of neuropsychological assets and deficits that has been described for the syndrome of nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD) (Rourke, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1995). The psychosocial profile of all nine children with VCFS also correspond to that of children with NLD. Further studies on the relationship between cognitive function, behavior, psychiatric disorder and abnormalities in brain anatomy in young people with VCFS will be needed. In clinical practice, it is worthwhile exploring in greater depth the neuropsychological functions of children with VCFS to rule out NLD, since they may benefit from specific remediation following the learning principles of the NLD-treatment.
The 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (DiGeorge/velocardiofacial syndrome) is associated with elevated rates of psychosis, and is also characterized by severe attentional difficulties and executive dysfunction. Behavioral manifestations of this syndrome could result from haploinsufficiency of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, located within the 22q11 region. The goal of the present study was to examine COMT genotype in relation to behavioral symptomatology in this syndrome. Val158/108Met was genotyped in 38 patients (16 Met/-, 22 Val/-) with confirmed 22q11.2 deletions who had received the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) as part of a comprehensive evaluation. Results indicated that the Val genotype was associated with significantly greater internalizing and externalizing behavioral symptomatology in children with 22q11.2 deletions. Val allele status was associated with a greater-than-four-fold increase in risk for clinically significant behavior problems in children with this syndrome. These data are consistent with previous findings of increased psychopathology associated with the Val genotype in normal individuals and suggest that a functional genetic polymorphism in the 22q11 region may influence behavior in individuals with COMT haploinsufficiency.
22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome is associated with cognitive, behavioural, and psychiatric problems and is known to affect brain structure. Recently, 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome has been proposed as a disease model for a genetic subtype of schizophrenia. In this paper we discuss the currently available literature on neurocognitive functioning and brain anatomy in patients with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome, and how this contributes to our understanding of the neurobiology of schizophrenia. Research on cognitive functioning in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome patients suggests a specific cognitive profile with impairments on arithmetical, visuo-spatial, and executive tasks and relatively preserved language skills. Prominent findings of neuroimaging studies in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome patients are: reduction of overall brain volume, midline defects, structural alterations of cerebellum and frontal lobe, white matter abnormalities, and decreased grey matter volumes in parietal and temporal areas. We describe how brain abnormalities in patients with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome may contribute to the understanding of the clinical syndrome including cognitive impairments, psychotic symptoms, and social and communication problems.
This paper presents a conceptual review of the genetic underpinnings of 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. The neuroanatomical, neuropsychological, behavioral, and psychiatric phenotype associated with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome is also explored, including variables that are thought to affect symptom expression. The history of the deletion syndrome is described, and future directions for continued research are discussed.
In the early publications on the 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS) motor abnormalities have been frequently reported. However, systematic studies on the motor performance of children with the 22q11.2DS, and especially of school-age children, are scarce. In this study the motor performance of primary school-age children with a 22q11.2DS (n = 28) was compared with an age- and IQ-matched control group (n = 28) using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC), the Körperkoordinationstest für Kinder (KTK) and the Beery-Buctenica test of Visual-Motor Integration (Beery). Children with a 22q11.2DS scored significantly lower than the age- and IQ-matched control group on the subsection Manual Dexterity (MABC) and the Visual Perception and Motor Coordination subtests of the Beery. When investigating the correlations between Intelligence quotient (IQ) and motor performance, a specific profile was found in the 22q11.2DS group when compared with the age- and IQ-matched control group. Because an IQ-matched control group was adopted, the deficits in visual-perceptual and visuomotor integration skills cannot fully be attributed to a general developmental delay and thus may be specific for the 22q11.2DS. Future studies that investigate the specificity of the visual-perceptual problems - both on the behavioral and brain level (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging [fMRI] and Diffusion Tensor Imaging [DTI]) - are necessary to answer this question. Nonetheless, the importance of incorporating motor functioning into the study of the neuropsychological profile of children with a 22q11.2DS has to be stressed.
This study examined memory functioning in children and adolescents with 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (DS; velocardiofacial syndrome). An overall verbal better than nonverbal memory pattern was evident on the Test of Memory and Learning (TOMAL), with children with 22q11.2 DS performing significantly below their siblings and children with low average IQ but similar to children with autism on facial memory. Children with 22q11 DS also performed significantly below their siblings on tests of verbal working memory. Children with autism performed significantly poorer than the siblings of children with 22q11.2 DS only on their recall of stories. Delayed recall was significantly poorer in children with 22q11.2 DS and children with autism, compared to sibling controls. Although there were no significant group differences on tests of multiple trial verbal or visual learning, a relative weakness was noted with multiple trial visual learning in children with 22q11.2 DS and their siblings, suggesting that an alternative or interactive factor other than the deletion may account for the relatively better verbal compared to nonverbal memory abilities. Deficits in facial memory in children with both 22q11.2 DS and autism suggest disruptions in ventral temporal pathways such as between fusiform gyrus and parahippocampal/hippocampal regions whereas deficits in verbal working memory in children with 22q11.2 DS implicates dorsolateral prefrontal regions, both intimating aberrant white matter pathways.
To investigate the impact of the microdeletion on morphology of the prefrontal cortex in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2 DS), high-resolution, anatomic magnetic resonance imaging was performed on 19 children and adolescents with 22q11.2 DS (11 females, 8 males) and 18 unaffected controls (10 females, 8 males). Tissue volumes of the dorsolateral, dorsomedial, orbitolateral, and orbitomedial prefrontal cortex were measured. Tasks of executive function and working memory were administered to investigate the association between anatomy and function. Whole brain volume and frontal lobe tissue volume were preserved in girls but reduced in boys with 22q11.2 DS relative to age-matched controls. Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) volumes were reduced in participants with 22q11.2 DS, although the gender-by-diagnosis effect found for frontal lobe was not as robust for DLPFC. DLPFC volumes were associated with performance on tasks of planning and emotional facial recognition. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify whether gender differences in frontal lobe and DLPFC persist with development, and whether the volumes of the DLPFC are associated with eventual deterioration in adaptive/psychosocial function that may presage the onset of schizophrenia, for which individuals with 22q11.2 DS are at a disproportionately high risk.
In this article the general and specific cognitive impairments of the boy R.H. with a de novo deletion 22q11.2 are described. His full-scale IQ was 73, and he obtained only slightly better verbal than non-verbal subtest scores. Neuropsychological assessment revealed specific impairments in perceptual categorization of objects presented suboptimal, matching of unfamiliar faces, and verbal learning and memory. In contrast, he performed in accordance with his intelligence level on other visual perceptual tasks, on non-verbal learning and memory tasks, and on attention tasks. Voxel-wise statistical comparison of a high-resolution T1-weighted magnetic resonance image of R.H's brain with similar images obtained from 14 normal control children revealed as major abnormalities a reduction of the right inferior parietal and superior occipital lobe, and a bilateral reduction of deep white matter behind the inferior frontal gyrus. These cognitive impairments and MRI abnormalities are not commonly described in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome and may indicate a larger heterogeneity in the neurocognitive phenotype than currently evidenced. At least in this boy the microdeletion seems to have interfered with the development and functioning of particular neural subsystems, while the structure and functioning of other subsystems was left intact.
While a number of research papers have reported findings on memory deficits following traumatic brain injury (TBI), only limited studies have monitored the recovery of these skills over time. The present study examined memory ability and its effect on academic success in a group of children who had sustained a mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Results showed that the severe TBI group exhibited greater deficits on memory tasks, irrespective of modality, in the acute, 6-, 12-, and 24-month postinjury stages, in comparison to mild and moderate TBI groups. Performance on academic measures was dependent on both injury severity and task demands. Preinjury academic ability and verbal memory indices best predicted academic success.
The present study analyzed the links between prematurity, attention, and global cognitive performance in infancy and early childhood. At 7 months, focused attention (FA) was examined with an object examination task in 93 preterm infants (39 of them born extremely/very preterm, 54 born moderately/late preterm, and 38 infants born full-term). Global cognition was assessed at 7 and 24 months with the Bayley-II cognitive scale. Groups did not differ with respect to global cognitive performance but FA of infants born extremely/very preterm was significantly lower than in infants born moderately/late preterm. FA correlated significantly with both prematurity and cognitive performance at 7 months of age but not with global cognition in childhood. Findings point to a subtle adverse effect of prematurity on early attention and reveal evidence for the mediating role of FA on the effect of prematurity on cognition.
Ten healthy extremely pre-term (EPT) children, born before gestational week 29, were tested at age 10 using mismatch negativity (MMN) and a three-tone odd-ball task; the results were then compared to age-matched full-term controls. We found no difference in MMN. By contrast, EPT children had generally shorter N1 latencies and larger P2 amplitudes, possibly indicating a more stimulus-driven response mode. However, P300 parameters, indicative of controlled attention, were unaffected.
A group of 42 Italian boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy was compared with a control group of 10 boys with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Osteogenesis Imperfecta on tests assessing general intellectual ability, language, neuropsychological functions, and reading skills with the aim of describing a comprehensive profile of the various functions and investigating their interrelationships. The influence of general intellectual level on performance was analyzed. Further, correlations between various neuropsychological measures and language performances were computed for the group with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, as well as the correlations between reading scores and other cognitive and linguistic measures. A general lowering in VIQ, PIQ, and FSIQ scores was found to characterize the group with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Expressive language skills were within the normal range, while syntactic and grammatical comprehension were significantly impaired. The presence of below-average reading performances was further confirmed. However, unlike previous studies on irregular orthographies, the present results show that (a) the mild reading difficulties found in the sample essentially concern speed rather than accuracy; (b) they concern word rather than nonword reading; (c) lower reading performances are related to lower scores in general IQ; (d) no correlations emerge with phonological abilities, verbal short-term memory, or working memory, but rather with long-term memory and lexical skills. This may suggest that language-specific effects modulate the cognitive expressions of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and raises the possibility that the dysfunctions underlying the reading difficulties observed in affected readers of regular orthographies involve different neurocognitive systems than the cortico-cerebellar circuits usually invoked.
Follow-up studies of preterm children have reported a range of cognitive deficits, particularly in executive functions, visuospatial abilities, and learning. However, few researchers have adopted a person-oriented approach, exploring individual neuropsychological profiles. The aim of this study was to identify typical neuropsychological profiles among preterm children and control children, respectively. A second aim was to investigate if neuropsychological profiles at age 5½ might be associated with perinatal medical risk factors. As part of the longitudinal Stockholm Neonatal Project, NEPSY for 4- to 7-year-old children ( Korkman, 1990 ), WPPSI-R, and Movement ABC were administered at age 5½ years to 145 preterm (mean gestational age 28 weeks) and 117 control children born at term. For the present study, the NEPSY results of each child were transformed into summary z scores for each of 5 neuropsychological domains: attention, memory, sensory-motor, verbal, and visuospatial functions. Subsequently, Ward's cluster analysis was performed for the preterm and control groups separately, identifying 5 neuropsychological profiles in both groups explaining around 56% and 57% of the variance, respectively. Overall, preterm children had lower neuropsychological results but also more diverging profiles compared to controls. The variability in outcome could not be sufficiently explained by birth weight, gestational age, or medical risks. The results suggest that prematurity interacts dynamically with genetic, medical, and environmental factors in neuropsychological development.
Interstitial deletion on chromosome 5q33.3q35.1 is an extremely rare chromosomal aberration for which a characteristic syndrome could not yet be delineated. In most patients with 5q deletions severe mental retardation is described. Recently, Spranger et al. (2000) described the case of a 4-year-old girl with a de novo deletion on 5q33.3q35.1 presenting only with mild psychomotor delay, minor facial anomalies, and seizures. The patient was admitted for outpatient neuropsychological assessment when she was 6.2 years old. Neurocognitive tests revealed an overall developmental delay of about 32 months and an intelligence score in the range of mild mental retardation. Her cognitive phenotype was characterized by a considerable visual-spatial deficit in the form of disorganized drawings or block designs indicating a profound lack of cohesion and overall global organization (decay of gestalt). The patient's behavioral phenotype was dominated by a distinct disinhibition syndrome demonstrating severe hyperactivity, utilization behavior, and aggressive behavior.
Numerous studies have documented memory deficits in very low birthweight (VLBW, < 1500 g) children, yet we know little about the nature of these memory problems. To clarify memory sequelae and examine memory deficits in relation to the degree of low birth weight, we administered the California Verbal Learning Test-Children's Version (CVLT-C) to a regional sample of 57 < 750 g birthweight children and to groups of 53 750-1499 g birthweight children and 49 term-born controls. Group comparisons revealed significant differences between the < 750 g birthweight group and term-born children on measures of list learning, delayed recall, and inaccurate recall. In addition, the percentage improvement in correct recognitions relative to long-term delayed recall was greater in the < 750 g group than in the term-born controls. Similar differences were observed between VLBW children with and without abnormal neonatal cerebral ultrasounds (high- and low-risk groups). Differences in learning rate between the VLBW and term-born groups, and between high- and low-risk VLBW children, were evident even when vocabulary skill was covaried or when children with neurosensory deficits or IQ < 80 were excluded from analysis. The findings document deficits in verbal memory in the subset of VLBW children at greatest biological risk, and suggest that acquisition processes are selectively impaired.
The objectives of this study were to systematically develop and evaluate the psychometric properties of an abbreviated version of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) Parent Report; a questionnaire widely used by pediatric neuropsychologists. A total of 24 items from the original BRIEF Parent Form were selected for the short-form, which was then evaluated in three complementary samples, according to six a priori psychometric criteria. The short-form generally demonstrated appropriate psychometric qualities, with convincing evidence for the reliability and validity of the three composite indices: Behavioral Regulation, Metacognition, and the Global Executive Composite. Potential clinical applications include screening at-risk children in medical clinics to facilitate appropriate referrals for further psychological consultation. In research settings, the short-form can be easily integrated into studies involving mass collection of data (e.g., large-scale epidemiological research), facilitating advancements in the scientific understanding of neuropsychological morbidity in medically involved populations.
Working memory (WM) plays a crucial role in supporting learning, including reading. This study investigated the influence of reading acceleration and WM training programs on improving reading skills and WM abilities. Ninety-seven children in third grade were divided into three study groups and one control group. The three study groups each received a different combination of two training programs: only reading acceleration, WM followed by reading acceleration, and reading acceleration followed by WM. All training programs significantly improved reading skills and WM abilities. Compared with the control group, the group trained with only the reading acceleration program improved word accuracy, whereas the groups trained with a combination of reading and WM programs improved word and pseudo-word fluency. The reading-acceleration-alone group and the WM-program-followed-by-reading-acceleration group improved phonological complex memory. We conclude that a training program that combines a long reading acceleration program and a short WM program is the most effective for improving the abilities most related to scholastic achievement.
This study focused on gaining a better understanding of the neuropsychological abilities of preschool-aged children who show elevated levels of hyperactivity and oppositional-defiance. It examined the performance of children aged 48 to 67 months on tests of attention/executive function, language, memory, and sensorimotor abilities, as measured by the NEPSY and Conners' K-CPT. Two hundred thirty-seven children were divided into four subgroups based on mothers' report of behavior using rating scales and a diagnostic interview: hyperactive only (HYP), oppositional-defiant only (OD), hyperactive and oppositional-defiant (HYP/OD), and nonproblem. Children in the HYP/OD group scored significantly worse than nonproblem children on four of nine subtests on the NEPSY, including one test of executive function, one test of language comprehension, and both tests of short-term verbal memory. However, only the test of executive function (Statue) showed significant predictive power, and, while specificity of this subtest was good, sensitivity was poor. On the K-CPT, a continuous performance test, children in both the HYP and HYP/OD groups performed worse than children in the OD and nonproblem groups. When the NEPSY Statue subtest and the K-CPT were used together, overall predictive power was .74. Results suggest that neuropsychological deficits can be observed among preschool children with hyperactivity, particularly when comorbid oppositional-defiance is present; however, moderate predictive power suggests that these tests should be used in conjunction with other methods of assessment.
Research has shown that cochlear implants give rise to improvements in speech recognition and production in children with profound hearing loss but very few studies have explored mathematical abilities in these children. The current study compared the mathematical abilities of 24 children with cochlear implants (mean age 10 years 1 month) to a control group of 22 hearing children (mean age 9 years 8 months). The math questions were categorized into questions that tapped into arithmetic or geometrical reasoning. It was predicted that the cochlear implant group would perform below the hearing group on the arithmetic questions but not the geometrical reasoning questions. Unexpectedly, the results showed that the cochlear implant group performed significantly below the hearing group on both types of math questions, but that this difference was mediated by language skill as assessed by vocabulary knowledge. The clinical implications of these results and possible future research results are considered.
Several critical neuroanatomical structures and pathways for memory performance are located in the third ventricle region. This led us to predict that verbal memory abilities would be more impaired in children treated for third ventricle tumors compared to those treated for cerebellar tumors. Archival data was obtained from 24 pediatric patients with third ventricle region tumors and 18 pediatric patients with cerebellar tumors. Neuroradiological verifications of tumor involvement and hydrocephalus severity (i.e., Evans Index) on preoperative scans and MRIs proximal to the time of the neuropsychological evaluation were conducted. The potential confounds of hydrocephalus severity, seizure medication, age, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy were addressed. Verbal IQ was comparable between tumor groups and in the Average range. The third ventricle region group performed significantly worse on list learning and delayed list recall compared to the cerebellar group. Their mean performance was in the clinically impaired range on both trials. The third ventricle region tumor group performed better than the cerebellar tumor group on Digit Span, a basic repetition, attention span task. These findings support the hypothesis that pediatric patients with third ventricle region brain tumors are more likely to be impaired on verbal recall tasks compared to pediatric patients with cerebellar brain tumors. In contrast, patients who were treated for cerebellar tumors were more impaired on the basic repetition, attention span task compared to patients who were treated for third ventricle tumors. Future studies should examine the specific neuroanatomical structures and pathways that are damaged and may influence differential cognitive impairments in children.
Although widely used in empirical study and bedside neuropsychological evaluation of geriatric populations, there is little literature on clock copying and drawing among children. However, existing research suggests that clock drawing tests (CDTs) may be effective and efficient tools for assessing neurocognitive development in children. This paper reports data on clock drawing on demand (CDT-D) and clock drawing to copy (CDT-C) among a non-clinical sample of elementary school aged children and identifies predictive relationships between earlier measures of executive function, visuo-construction, and visual-motor coordination and CDT performance 3 years later. Similar to findings with adult samples, analyses revealed better performance on copying than on drawing. Longitudinal analyses indicate that general intelligence significantly predicted performance on both tasks. Visual-motor coordination only predicted performance on the drawing on demand subtest of the CDT.
Facial emotion-recognition difficulties have been reported in school-aged children with behavior problems; little is known, however, about either this association in preschool children or with regard to vocal emotion recognition. The current study explored the association between facial and vocal emotion recognition and behavior problems in a sample of 3 to 6-year-old children. A sample of 57 children enriched for risk of behavior problems (41 were recruited from the general population while 16 had been referred for behavior problems to local clinics) were each presented with a series of vocal and facial stimuli expressing different emotions (i.e., angry, happy, and sad) of low and high intensity. Parents rated children's externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. Vocal and facial emotion recognition accuracy was negatively correlated with externalizing but not internalizing behavior problems independent of emotion type. The effects with the externalizing domain were independently associated with hyperactivity rather than conduct problems. The results highlight the importance of using vocal as well as facial stimuli when studying the relationship between emotion-recognition and behavior problems. Future studies should test the hypothesis that difficulties in responding to adult instructions and commands seen in children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be due to deficits in the processing of vocal emotions.
Clear links between temperament, psychopathology, and neuropsychological functioning exist; however the interrelations among temperament and neuropsychology, and their impact on functioning in typically developing children is not as well understood. This study examined the degree to which neuropsychological functioning, as measured by the NEPSY, moderates the impact of temperament on global functioning, as measured by the Children's Global Assessment Scale (CGAS), in 74 typically developing preschoolers. Temperament was assessed via parent ratings on the Children's Behavior Questionnaire (CBQ) and teacher ratings on the Temperament Assessment Battery for Children--Revised (TABC-R). Moderation analyses revealed significant interactions between verbal-executive skills and both child emotionality and lack of task persistence in predicting global functioning. The interaction patterns were mostly consistent across measures and indicated that when lower neurocognitive scores were coupled with higher levels of expressed negative emotions and more difficulties in task persistence, global functioning was at its lowest. In contrast better neurocognitive functioning mitigated the impact of high expressed emotions on global functioning. These findings support past literature and indicate that emotional and cognitive functioning interact to effect young children's global functioning.
The present study was designed: (1) to investigate the long-term consequences of both the presence and the severity of periventricular brain injury (PVBI) on intellectual, academic, and cognitive outcome in extremely-low-birthweight (ELBW: < 1,000 grams) children at a mean age of 11 years; and (2) to determine the nature of the underlying difficulties associated with academic problems in these children. The results indicated that ELBW children without PVBI performed as well as full-term children on intelligence, academic, and cognitive ability tests. In contrast, ELBW children with mild and severe PVBI achieved significantly lower scores than either ELBW children without PVBI or children who were born at term. A second analysis indicated that, after accounting for Full Scale IQ, working memory and phonological processing were significant predictors of reading and spelling performance in ELBW children. These findings suggest that the presence and severity of PVBI, and not ELBW status alone, is associated with performance on tests of intelligence, and academic and cognitive functioning, and that some of the same factors known to be associated with learning disabilities in full-term children contribute to learning disabilities in ELBW children.
This study compared results on cognitive tests measuring nonverbal visualization and reasoning, executive functions, and creativity between 36 boys with experience of living in the street and 31 housed yet socioeconomically equivalent boys, in Bolivia.
The street children scored significantly higher on the creativity measure, which is discussed in relation to contextual relevance. No significant differences were found on the other cognitive tests. Time elapsed after living in the street and drug use were strongly associated with cognition, while age was not. Both groups scored below average compared to Western norms. The results are discussed in terms of the cultural relevance of the tests and the impact of socioeconomic status, stress, and stimulation on cognition.
This paper aimed to test the specificity of predicting power of finger gnosia on later numerical abilities in school-age children and to contribute to the understanding of this effect. Forty-one children were tested in the beginning of Grade 1 on finger gnosia, left-right orientation (another sign of the Gerstmann "syndrome"), and global development. Fifteen months later, numerical and reading abilities were assessed. Analyses of the results indicated that, contrary to the general measures of cognitive development, performance in the finger gnosia test was a good predictor of numerical skills 1 year later but not of reading skills, which proves the specificity of that predictor. The same conclusion was also true for the left-right orientation. However, finger gnosia could equally predict performance in numerical tasks that do or do not rely heavily on finger representation or on magnitude representation. Results are discussed in terms of the localizationist and the functional hypotheses.
Although absolute pitch (AP) is a rare skill in typical development, individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) are often referred to as possessing this musical ability. However, there is paucity of research on the topic. In this article, 2 studies were conducted to evaluate AP in WS. In Study 1, seven musically trained individuals with WS, 14 musically trained typically developing controls matched for chronological age, and 2 experienced musicians with AP completed a pitch-identification task. Although the task was a classical assessment of AP, it required participants to have musical knowledge, and the availability and accessibility of musically trained individuals with WS is very low. In Study 2, a paradigm suitable for evaluating AP in individuals without musical training was used, which made it possible to evaluate a larger group of participants with WS. A pitch memory test for isolated tones was presented to 27 individuals with WS, 54 typically developing peers matched for chronological age, and the 2 musicians with AP. Both individuals with WS and their controls obtained low results in the two studies. They showed an arbitrary pattern of response, and their performance was far from that of musicians with AP. Therefore, participants with WS did not appear to possess AP. Unlike what is usually claimed, results suggest that AP is not a remarkable ability in WS and that, as in the typically developing population, this musical ability is also rare in individuals with WS.
Postnatal deprivation is associated with neurocognitive delay/dysfunction. Although "catch up" in global cognition following adoption has been reported, this study examined the incidence of specific absolute impairment in adopted children with intact global cognitive functioning. Eighty-five children (38 males, mean age = 112.8, SD = 30.3 months; range 61-209 months) raised from birth in orphanages underwent comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. Fifty-four were deemed globally intact (IQ > 85). Of those deemed globally intact, 46% evidenced absolute impairment in at least one domain of functioning. Duration of stay in the orphanage was directly associated with incidence of impairment and number of domains affected. A substantial proportion of participants evidenced persistent, absolute impairment in one or more domains of neurocognitive function despite integrity of basic intellectual functions.
This study examined intellectual and memory functioning in a sample of sexually abused children compared to demographically and age-matched controls. The severity of abuse and other pertinent factors were also examined in relation to cognitive performance. Elevated levels of psychopathology were present in the abused children, as well as diminished performance on tasks influenced by attention/concentration. However, after controlling for differences in IQ and socioeconomic status (SES), significant differences in memory function were not found. Results are discussed in the context of stress effects on cognition and the potential resiliency of cognitive function in children undergoing treatment for sexual abuse.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) has been associated with diminished executive functioning in children and adults; however, there is a relative paucity of study of executive function in adolescents exposed to CM. Yet, executive dysfunction in adolescence may have important adverse consequences including increased vulnerability to risky behaviors and impaired school functioning. This study investigates the relationship between self-reported CM and an executive function, cognitive flexibility, in adolescents without identified psychiatric disorders. Effects of physical and emotional, abuse and neglect, maltreatment subtypes were explored. Thirty adolescents ages 12-17 years, 50% females, completed the retrospective self-report Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) and were administered the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Correlational analyses assessed the relationship between WCST perseverative error scores norm-referenced for age and education with CTQ total scores. The relationship with nonperseverative errors, as well as with physical and emotional abuse and neglect CM subscores, were explored. Total CTQ scores showed significant associations with perseverative errors on the WCST, but not with nonperseverative errors. Significant associations with perseverative errors were seen for physical abuse and physical neglect among the CTQ subscales. The results suggest both physical abuse and physical neglect are associated with diminished cognitive flexibility in adolescents. These effects were detected in adolescents without identified psychiatric diagnoses suggesting the importance of considering executive dysfunction in adolescents exposed to CM who may not meet diagnostic criteria for an Axis I disorder and that tests of perseverative errors, such as those of the WCST, may be sensitive indicators of this dysfunction.
The relationship between attention, intelligence, memory, achievement, and behavior in a large population (N = 939) of children without neuropsychologic problems was investigated in children with mild and moderate asthma. It was hypothesized that different levels of children's attentional capabilities would be associated with different levels of intellectual, memory, and academic abilities. Children ages 6-12 at the eight clinical centers of the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) were enrolled in this study. Standardized measures of child neuropsychological and behavioral performance were administered to all participants, with analyses examining both the developmental trajectory of child attentional capabilities and the associations between Continuous Performance Test (CPT) scores and intellectual functioning, and measures of memory, academic achievement, and behavioral functioning. Findings demonstrated that correct responses on the CPT increase significantly with age, while commission errors decrease significantly with age. Performance levels on the CPT were associated with differences in child intellectual function, memory, and academic achievement. Overall these findings reveal how impairments in child attention skills were associated with normal levels of performance on measures of children's intelligence, memory, academic achievement, and behavioral functioning, suggesting that CPT performance is a salient marker of brain function.
It has been proposed previously that extrinsic motivation may enable survivors of childhood medulloblastoma to significantly improve aspects of neurocognitive performance. In healthy populations, enhanced motivation has been shown to promote academic fluency, a domain likely more relevant to the educational outcomes of pediatric medulloblastoma survivors than academic skill development. The present study investigates the effect of enhanced extrinsic motivation on fluent (i.e., accurate and efficient) academic performance in pediatric medulloblastoma survivors. Participants were 36 children, ages 7-18, who had completed treatment for medulloblastoma. Participants completed a neuropsychological battery that included administration of equivalent tasks on Forms A and B of the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Half were randomly assigned to an incentive condition prior to the administration of Form B. Provision of a performance-based incentive resulted in statistically significant improvement, but not normalization of function, in performance on measures of academic fluency. No demographic, treatment-related, academic, neuropsychological, or self-perception variables predicted response to incentive. Findings suggest that academic performance of survivors may significantly improve under highly motivating conditions. In addition to implications for educational services, this finding raises the novel possibility that decreased motivation represents an inherent neuropsychological deficit in this population and provides a rationale for further investigation of factors affecting individual differences in motivational processes. Further, by examining effort in a context where effort is not inherently suspect, present findings also significantly contribute to the debate regarding the effects of effort and motivation on neuropsychological performance.
A developmental psychopathology framework was used to examine variables associated with peer problems in children with epilepsy (CWE). Variables commonly associated with peer difficulties in typically developing children, such as inattentive behavior, anxious behavior, and academic achievement were investigated. Neuropsychological functioning, age at epilepsy onset, and seizure status were also examined. Research
Participants were 173 CWE, ages 8-15. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to determine which variables predicted peer problems in CWE and to test hypothesized interrelations among variables.
The SEM revealed that anxious behavior mediated relations between neuropsychological functioning and peer difficulties and seizure status and peer difficulties. Inattentive behavior mediated the association between neuropsychological functioning and peer difficulties. Neuropsychological functioning mediated the relation between age at epilepsy onset and inattentive behavior, anxious behavior, and academic achievement.
As seen with typically developing children, inattentive and anxious behaviors are related to peer difficulties in CWE. Neuropsychological functioning, age at epilepsy onset, and seizure status are indirectly associated with peer difficulties; therefore, these variables are important to examine in CWE who are experiencing peer problems.
This study investigated the role of inattention and working memory in predicting academic achievement in 145 adolescents aged 13 to 18 referred for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Path analysis was used to examine whether auditory-verbal and visual-spatial working memory would mediate the relationships between classroom inattention symptoms and achievement outcomes. Results provide support for the mediational model. Behavioral inattention significantly predicted both auditory-verbal and visual-spatial working memory performance. Auditory-verbal working memory was strongly associated with adolescents' achievement in reading and mathematics, while visual-spatial working memory was only associated with achievement in mathematics. The path from inattention symptoms to reading was partially mediated by the working memory variables, but the path from inattention to mathematics was not mediated by working memory. The proposed model demonstrated a good fit to the data and explained a substantial amount of variance in the adolescents' achievement outcomes. These findings imply that working memory is a risk factor for academic failure for adolescents with attentional problems.
The primary objective of this study was to reevaluate the well-established result that preschoolers' performance on executive function tasks are positively associated with their performance on academic achievement tests. The current study replicated the previously established concurrent associations between children's performance on EF tasks and academic achievement tests. Specifically, children's performance on measures of inhibitory and motor control were positively associated with their performance on tests of reading, writing, and mathematics achievement (rs = .2-.5); moreover, although diminished in magnitude, most of these associations held up even after including an earlier measure of academic achievement as a covariate (rs = .1-.3). However, the application of an alternative analytic method, fixed effects analysis, a method that capitalizes on repeated measures data to control for all time stable measured and unmeasured covariates, rendered the apparent positive associations between executive function and academic achievement nonsignificant (rs = .0-.1). Taken together, these results suggest that the well-replicated association between executive function abilities and academic achievement may be spurious. Results are discussed with respect to the importance of utilizing analytic methods and research designs that facilitate strong causal inferences between executive function and academic achievement in early childhood, as well as the limitations of making curriculum development recommendations and/or public policy decisions based on studies that have failed to do so.
The present study investigated the relation between academic performance and ratings of executive functioning in children aged 6-11 from four countries: Sweden, Spain, Iran, and China. Ratings of executive functioning were made by both parents and teachers using the Childhood Executive Functioning Inventory (CHEXI). The results showed that the Chinese sample was generally rated as having more executive deficits compared to the other samples. The finding that executive functioning deficits are exacerbated in China is most likely the result of cultural biases. Boys were generally rated as having poorer executive functioning compared to girls, except in Iran where parents, but not teachers, rated girls as having poorer executive functioning compared to boys. However, this opposite pattern of results found for Iran is not likely to reflect true gender differences in executive functioning. Despite some differences in the levels of executive functioning across countries, both the inhibition and working memory subscales of the CHEXI were related to academic achievement in all four countries, except for CHEXI parent ratings in China. Altogether, the results indicate that the CHEXI may be used as a screening measure for early academic difficulties, although cultural biases clearly have to be taken into consideration.
To examine if diabetes risk factors disrupt memory score trajectories in youth with T1D over three years with a powerful accelerated longitudinal method and individual growth curve modeling.
Participants aged 9-17 completed memory measures at study enrollment and two years later.
Poorer metabolic control over the course of the study related to a significant decrease in visual memory scores. Compared to baseline, these youth scored 1.99 points lower at follow-up. Generally appropriate developmental gains were made in memory trajectories and girls' visual and verbal memory improved more than boys. No significant effects of disease duration, age of onset, or severe hypoglycemia were found on visual or verbal memory over three years time.
Of the risk factors studied, only poorer metabolic control had a significant impact upon visual memory after three years. Verbal memory was unaffected. However, given that level of metabolic control tends to remain relatively consistent over time, the effect of continued poorer metabolic control on memory should be monitored.
The present study addressed contradictory results in childhood literature about conceptual priming. Based on the processing view, two forms of conceptual priming were investigated across two experiments in children aged from 7 to 16: associative priming (using the free-association test) and relational (categorical) priming (using the categorical exemplar generation test) as well as their explicit memory measure counterparts (the associative-cued recall and the category-cued recall). Experiment 1 compared age differences in associative and relational (categorical) priming. Experiment 2 focused on relational (categorical) priming with manipulations of blocked/unblocked words per category. The results showed that (a) associative priming was unchanged in children aged from 7 to 16, whereas relational (categorical) priming improved from 7-9 to 13-16 years old, and (b) age differences in relational (categorical) priming still occurred under unblocked conditions and blocked condition, while age differences in explicit measures were reduced under blocked conditions. These findings were discussed in line with the debate between the system and processing view and in terms of knowledge and automaticity development.
The present study was designed as an initial exploration of the relationship between global cognitive functioning and organizational and accuracy scores on the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (ROCF) in a sample of children and adolescents. The relationship between ROCF accuracy scores at Copy and Delay as well as Organization and the Differential Ability Scales (DAS) was examined. Results indicate moderate correlations between Copy and Delay ROCF scores and various DAS indicators of nonverbal problem solving and visuospatial processing. Contrary to expectations, organizational scores were not significantly correlated with any of the DAS subscales or composite scales. Although further research is needed to explore the validity of this organizational scoring scheme with younger patients, these findings suggest that organization of the ROCF may be generally unrelated to global measures of cognitive ability or may assess processes associated with executive functioning untapped by the DAS.
Data from two studies that tested children's attention using visual search for a series of targets in a complex display and a sustained-attention task waiting for signals in a similar display were subjected to Factor Analysis to explore previous indications that speed and accuracy (the number of false alarms to nontargets) on this task reflect different mechanisms. The two factors identified confirmed the separation of these two measures and also suggested that the speed factor was related to Mental Age, while the accuracy factor was related to ratings of attentional ability. It is suggested that ratings of attentional ability reflect the efficiency of executive functions, displayed in the ability to inhibit responses to nontargets in these tasks, while speed of search is related to processing speed in the nervous system. Therefore intelligence and attentional ability depend on different underlying features of the nervous system.