The relationship between motor performance and executive functioning in early childhood: A systematic review on motor demands embedded within executive function tasks

Gerda van der Veer, Marja Cantell, Alexander Minnaert, Suzanne Houwen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This systematic review examined to what extent response demands of executive functioning (EF) tasks influence the relationship between motor performance and EF in 2- to 6-year-old typically developing (TD) children and children with motor coordination difficulties (MCD). Eighteen of the included articles focused on TD children only and three also on children with MCD. EF tasks were subdivided based on the type of responses (i.e., motor or verbal). EF tasks requiring a motor response were subdivided into two levels (i.e., complex or simple). Results showed that the relationship between motor performance and EF in 2- to 6-year-old TD children and children with MCD was inconclusive with the strength of correlation coefficients for the most part varying from very weak to moderate. The type of EF task response did not influence the relationship between motor performance and EF. The review thus implies that other task demands than the type of EF task response need to be investigated to explain the inconsistent relationship between motor performance and EF, such as the complexity of the motor response of EF tasks, the complexity of the actual motor tasks, and additional processes (e.g., memory, intelligence, language comprehension).
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied neuropsychology. Child
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17-Nov-2022

Keywords

  • Early childhood
  • Executive function
  • Motor coordination
  • Motor performance
  • TYPICALLY DEVELOPING-CHILDREN

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