Maturation of cognitive processes from late childhood to adulthood

Child Dev. 2004 Sep-Oct;75(5):1357-72. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00745.x.


To characterize cognitive maturation through adolescence, processing speed, voluntary response suppression, and spatial working memory were measured in 8- to 30-year-old (N = 245) healthy participants using oculomotor tasks. Development progressed with a steep initial improvement in performance followed by stabilization in adolescence. Adult-level mature performance began at approximately 15, 14, and 19 years of age for processing speed, response inhibition, and working memory, respectively. Although processes developed independently, processing speed influenced the development of working memory whereas the development of response suppression and working memory were interdependent. These results indicate that processing speed, voluntary response suppression, and working memory mature through late childhood and into adolescence. How brain maturation specific to adolescence may support cognitive maturation is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electrooculography
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods