Objective: Working memory is a fundamental cognitive function and is predictive of outcomes and achievement in a wide range of domains from an early age. The focus of this study was to develop a computerized Brazilian version of the Self-Ordered Pointing Task (SOPT) for preschoolers and to provide initial normative and validation data for this task.
Methods: The sample of the present study was composed of 248 children aged 3 (n = 41), 4 (n = 88) and 5 (n = 119) years from 13 private and public schools in Belo Horizonte. Children were evaluated with the SOPT and the Columbia Mental Maturity Scale (CMMS), a measure of intelligence, and their parents completed the Brazilian Criterion of Economic Classification (CCEB) to assess their SES. A subsample of parents of 184 children also filled the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 11/2-5 years (CBCL 11/2-5), a measure of psychopathology.
Results: A multiple regression analysis found chronological age, intelligence, and SES to be predictive of performance on the SOPT. Furthermore, five-year olds performed better than three- and four-year olds in the task. A difference between children in private and public kindergartens also emerged. Additionally, SOPT performance was negatively correlated with Internalizing, Externalizing, and Total psychopathological problems, as well as to several other psychopathological measures as accessed by the CBCL, although the correlations were small.
Conclusion: Taken together, this study provides initial normative and validation data for the SOPT, but further validation studies are needed.
Keywords: Working memory; construct validity; convergent validity; ecological validity; preschool; self-ordered pointing task.