The role of early fine and gross motor development on later motor and cognitive ability

School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth 6845, Western Australia, Australia.
Human Movement Science (Impact Factor: 1.6). 10/2008; 27(5):668-81. DOI: 10.1016/j.humov.2007.11.002
Source: PubMed


The aim of this study was to determine whether information obtained from measures of motor performance taken from birth to 4 years of age predicted motor and cognitive performance of children once they reached school age. Participants included 33 children aged from 6 years to 11 years and 6 months who had been assessed at ages 4 months to 4 years using the ages and stages questionnaires (ASQ: [Squires, J. K., Potter, L., & Bricker, D. (1995). The ages and stages questionnaire users guide. Baltimore: Brookes]). These scores were used to obtain trajectory information consisting of the age of asymptote, maximum or minimum score, and the variance of ASQ scores. At school age, both motor and cognitive ability were assessed using the McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development (MAND: [McCarron, L. (1997). McCarron assessment of neuromuscular development: Fine and gross motor abilities (revised ed.). Dallas, TX: Common Market Press.]), and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Version IV (WISC-IV: [Wechsler, D. (2004). WISC-IV integrated technical and interpretive manual. San Antonio, Texas: Harcourt Assessment]). In contrast to previous research, results demonstrated that, although socio-economic status (SES) predicted fine motor performance and three of four cognitive domains at school age, gestational age was not a significant predictor of later development. This may have been due to the low-risk nature of the sample. After controlling for SES, fine motor trajectory information did not account for a significant proportion of the variance in school aged fine motor performance or cognitive performance. The ASQ gross motor trajectory set of predictors accounted for a significant proportion of the variance for cognitive performance once SES was controlled for. Further analysis showed a significant predictive relationship for gross motor trajectory information and the subtests of working memory and processing speed. These results provide evidence for detecting children at risk of developmental delays or disorders with a parent report questionnaire prior to school age. The findings also add to recent investigations into the relationship between early motor development and later cognitive function, and support the need for ongoing research into a potential etiological relationship.

388 Reads
  • Source
    • "It has also been shown that the onset of motor milestones such as independent sitting or walking had beneficial effects on infants' perceptual abilities (Campos et al., 1992; Soska et al., 2010) and on their social-emotional development (for a review, see Campos et al., 2000). Moreover, longitudinal studies indicated that early gross-motor skills predicted later cognitive performance, such as executive functions or perceptual processing (Murray et al., 2006; Piek et al., 2008). Even at old age, motor abilities have been found to be associated with cognitive performance (e.g., perceptual speed and executive control, Voelcker-Rehage et al., 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent research has shown close links between spatial and mathematical thinking and between spatial abilities and motor skills. However, longitudinal research examining the relations between motor, spatial, and mathematical skills is rare, and the nature of these relations remains unclear. The present study thus investigated the relation between children’s motor control and their spatial and proportional reasoning. We measured 6-year-olds’ spatial scaling (i.e., the ability to reason about different-sized spaces), their mental transformation skills, and their ability to balance on one leg as an index for motor control. One year later (N = 126), we tested the same children’s understanding of proportions. We also assessed several control variables (verbal IQ and socio-economic status) as well as inhibitory control, visuo-spatial and verbal working memory. Stepwise hierarchical regressions showed that, after accounting for effects of control variables, children’s balance skills significantly increased the explained variance in their spatial performance and proportional reasoning. Our results suggest specific relations between balance skills and spatial as well as proportional reasoning skills that cannot be explained by general differences in executive functioning or intelligence.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2016 · Frontiers in Psychology
  • Source
    • "processing speed and memory . In addition , the bidirectional relationships between attention , motor , reading and mathematics abilities , and EF predictors needs further investigation . For example , there is evidence that motor development may contribute to general cognitive development , of which EFs are a component ( Niederer et al . , 2011 ; Piek et al . , 2008 ) . Therefore , future studies should examine the relationship between motor development and EF skills . It may also be beneficial to examine the longitudinal trajectories of EFs and associated neurodevelopmental processes using a dimensional approach . This would allow us to investigate changes in the magnitude of association between r"
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A total of 405 children of 5-18 years of age were administered performance-based and parent-report measures of executive function (EF), and measures of motor, attention, reading, and mathematics performance. Attention, reading, and mathematics abilities were associated with a parent-report measure of EF. Reading and mathematics abilities were also associated with performance-based measures of EF, including the Animal Sorting, Inhibition, and Response Set subtests of the Developmental NEuroPSYchological Assessment-II. In contrast, motor functioning was only associated with performance-based measures of EF. Findings suggest that different constructs of EF are measured by parent-report versus performance-based measures, and that these different constructs of EF are associated with different neurodevelopmental processes.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Child Neuropsychology
  • Source
    • "A direct relationship between early gross motor development in infancy and adult executive function was found, suggesting that individuals who increase neural circuits related to evolving motor functions more quickly may allow for more desirable complex circuits involved in higher cognitive processes. Our results support the perspectives from a number of studies regarding childhood development of motor and cognitive skills (Murray et al. 2006; Piek et al. 2008; Bobbio et al. 2009; Miquelote et al. 2012). Bobbio et al. (2009) have found that in six-yearolds , the risk of having a low cognitive ability was 28 times more likely when based on gross motor when compared to fine motor abilities. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research has shown links between motor proficiency and cognition in school-age children, however, few have explored earlier ages. We aimed to determine the association between motor proficiency and cognitive ability in four-year-olds. Motor and cognitive skills were examined in 32 (15 males, 17 females) four-year-olds (±5.59 months) using the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT-2) (Fine Manual Control [FMC], Manual Coordination [MC], Body Coordination [BC], and Strength & Agility [SA]) and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2) (Verbal, Nonverbal, and IQ). Correlation analysis revealed significance between BC and Verbal (.45) and IQ (.51), including MC and IQ (.55). Total Motor Proficiency displayed significance to Verbal (.49), Nonverbal (.40), and IQ (.58). Through regression analysis, MC predicted Verbal (32%) and IQ (31%), while Total Motor Proficiency predicted Verbal (24%), Nonverbal (16%), and IQ (34%). Motor proficiency appears to be associated with cognition, thus emphasizing the importance of early motor skill development.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
Show more