Inhibitory control differentiates rare target search performance in children

Hongting Li, John S.Y. Chan, Siu Yin CHEUNG, Jin H. Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Age-related differences in rare-target search are primarily explained by the speed-accuracy trade-off, primed responses, or decision making. The goal was to examine how motor inhibition influences visual search. Children pressed a key when a rare target was detected. On no-target trials, children withheld reactions. Response time (RT), hits, misses, correct rejection, and false alarms were measured. Tapping tests assessed motor control. Older children tapped faster, were more sensitive to rare targets (higher d'), and reacted more slowly than younger ones. Girls outperformed boys in search sensitivity but not in RT. Motor speed was closely associated with hit rate and RT. Results suggest that development of inhibitory control plays a key role in visual detection. The potential implications for cognitive-motor development and individual differences are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-351
Number of pages13
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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