Cognitive processes in the development of TOL performance

Neuropsychologia. 2006;44(12):2259-69. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.05.010. Epub 2006 Jun 23.


Components of executive function continue to develop through adolescence. There is limited knowledge of how these cognitive components impact complex cognitive function requiring their integration. This study examines the development of response planning, a complex cognitive function, and the contributions of selected cognitive processes, including speed of processing, response inhibition, and working memory to its development. We tested 100 healthy 8-30 year old individuals with a computerized version to the Tower of London (TOL) task and cognitive oculomotor tests including the visually guided saccade, oculomotor delayed response, and antisaccade tasks. Speed of processing, response inhibition, working memory, and TOL performance all demonstrated maturation in adolescence. While all processes were correlated with the development of TOL performance, antisaccade performance showed the strongest association indicating an important role for response inhibition in planning. These results indicate that the development of converging cognitive processes in adolescence, including response inhibition and working memory, support response planning and may serve as a model for the development of performance in other complex problem solving tasks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Attention / physiology
  • Child
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology