Age and task parameters in continuous performance tests for preschoolers

Percept Mot Skills. 2003 Jun;96(3 Pt 1):975-89. doi: 10.2466/pms.2003.96.3.975.


66 children (M=56.2 mo., SD=10.9), recruited from preschool and daycare centers, were administered two continuous performance tests, one auditory and one visual. Both tests utilized a format with one target and one nontarget. Interstimulus interval was fixed at 1350 msec. for the visual test and 5000 msec. for the auditory test. The visual test produced greater rates of omission and commission errors than the auditory test. Age was significantly related to mean reaction time and response variability for both tests; however, the visual test produced an unexpected pattern of increasing response time across age groups. On both tests omission rates improved significantly with age, while commission rates were consistent across ages 3-6 years. When considering continuous performance test paradigms for preschoolers, 3-yr.-olds may need at least a 4000-msec. interstimulus interval to make a choice for the stimulus cue. Hits following an interstimulus interval shorter than 1400 msec. may reflect younger preschoolers' response to a previous stimulus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cues
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Sex Factors