Age-related trends in stroop and conflicting motor response task findings

Francesca Nichelli, Gabriella Scala, Chiara Vago, Daria Riva, Sara Bulgheroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inhibition problems are reportedly at the heart of several childhood pathologies and learning disorders, but few instruments are available for their in-depth investigation. The main aim of the present study was to investigate the development of a capacity to inhibit automatic responses in young and middle childhood. For this purpose, 100 children between 6 and 11 years old were administered two tests that measure executive inhibition: an animal Stroop task (in a paper-and-pencil version of the computerized original proposed by Wright and colleagues in 2003) and a conflicting motor response task. Our results indicate that performance clearly improves in both tests during the course of a child's development and the data obtained with the paper-and-pencil animal Stroop task overlap with those obtained with the computerized version. When the task calls for a stronger inhibitory control (the incongruent situation in the Stroop task and in the opposite condition in the conflicting motor response test) the trend of the response times is less homogeneous, peaking in the youngest and oldest age brackets considered. The positivity and significance of the correlation coefficients between the two tests also suggest that the two measures are tapping cognitive abilities that are developing in a parallel fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-443
Number of pages13
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • Developmental neuropsychology
  • Inhibition
  • Stroop

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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