Structure and implementation of novel task rules: A cross-sectional developmental study
Association for Psychological Science / SAGE Publications
© The Author(s) 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Rule-based performance improves remarkably throughout childhood. The present study examined how children and adolescents structured tasks and implemented rules when novel task instructions were presented in a child-friendly version of a novel instruction-learning paradigm. Each mini-block started with the presentation of the new stimulus-response mappings for a GO task. Prior to implementing this mapping, responses were required to advance through screens during a preparatory (NEXT) phase. Children (4-11 years) and late adolescents (17-19 years) responded more slowly during the NEXT phase when the NEXT response was incompatible with the instructed stimulus-response mapping. This instructionbased interference effect was more pronounced in young children than in older children. We argue that these findings are most consistent with age-related differences in rule structuring. We discuss the implications of our findings for theories of rule-based performance, instruction-based learning, and development.
This work was supported by an ERC starting grant to FV (No. 312445).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Published online 10 May 2018.