Structure and implementation of novel task rules: A cross-sectional developmental study
Association for Psychological Science / SAGE Publications
Reason for embargo
Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by SAGE Publications. No embargo required on publication
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.
Awaiting citation and DOI