Performance on Stroop-like assessments of inhibitory control by 4- and 5-year-old children

Dave S. Pasalich, David J. Livesey*, Evan J. Livesey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid development of an aspect of executive functioning (EF), inhibitory control (IC), between the ages of 3- and 5-years, leads to an increase in a child's capacity to suppress inappropriate responding and therefore activate the necessary resources to carry-out goal-directed activity (Psychological Bulletin, 1997, 121, 65-94). To measure EF in children, tasks administered clinically to adults are adapted. The Day-Night Stroop (DNS) is a pictorial modification of the Stroop Test (Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1935, 18, 642-662), developed for pre-literate children. Although suitable as a measure of IC in 3- to 4-year-old children, ceiling effects have been reported on the DNS in slightly older preschoolers. The present study attempted to overcome this limitation by examining the suitability of two modified versions of the DNS in 4- to 5-year-old preschoolers. To investigate the executive demands made by both Stroop-like tasks, their associations with another measure of IC (stop-signal task) and a measure of working memory were examined. Counter to expectations, no significant association was found in performance between the two Stroop-like tasks; however, the modified DNS developed in this study showed significant relationships with the other executive tasks. The results are discussed in relation to the different methodologies used by these Stroop measures. Implications of this study suggest that researchers should consider more test-specific factors when assessing EF in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-263
Number of pages12
JournalInfant and Child Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


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