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Disentangling the relationships between motor control and cognitive control in young children with symptoms of ADHD

Ferguson, Cameron, Hobson, Christopher, Hedge, Craig ORCID:, Waters, Cerith ORCID:, Anning, Kate and van Goozen, Stephanie ORCID: 2023. Disentangling the relationships between motor control and cognitive control in young children with symptoms of ADHD. Child Neuropsychology 10.1080/09297049.2023.2190965
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Children with ADHD experience difficulties with motor and cognitive control. However, the relationships between these symptoms are poorly understood. As a step toward improving treatment, this study investigated associations between specific aspects of motor control and cognitive control in children with varying levels of hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. A heterogeneous sample of 255 children of 4 to 10 years of age (median = 6.50, MAD = 1.36) completed a battery of tests probing motor generation, visuomotor fluency, visuomotor flexibility, cognitive inhibition, verbal and visuospatial working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Their caregivers were interviewed regarding their hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. 25.9% of the main sample met diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to determine whether specific aspects of motor control were associated with specific aspects of cognitive control, and whether any associations were moderated by hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Additionally, cognitive modeling (the drift diffusion model approximated with EZ-DM) was used to understand performance on a cognitive inhibition task. Visuomotor fluency was significantly associated with cognitive inhibition. Visuomotor flexibility was significantly associated with cognitive flexibility. There were no significant moderation effects. Cognitive modeling was inconclusive. In conclusion, the ability to fluently perform visually guided continuous movement is linked with the ability to inhibit the effects of distracting information. The ability to spontaneously use visual information to flexibly alter motor responses is related to the ability to cognitively shift from one frame of mind to another. These relationships appear to be quantitatively and qualitatively similar across the childhood hyperactive-impulsive continuum as rated by parents.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
ISSN: 0929-7049
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 March 2023
Date of Acceptance: 28 February 2023
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2023 18:40

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