Infant attention and parental sensitivity are important predictors of later child executive function (EF). However, most studies have investigated infant and parent factors in relation to child EF separately and included only mothers from Western samples. The current study examined whether both infant attention at 4 months and parental sensitivity at 4 and 14 months were related to infant EF (i.e., inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility) at 14 months among 124 Dutch and 63 Chinese first-time mothers and fathers and their infants. Findings revealed that parental sensitivity at 4 months was not correlated with infant EF abilities at 14 months. However, infant attention at 4 months was significantly related to 14-month working memory, but not to inhibition and cognitive flexibility. Maternal sensitivity at 14 months was significantly related to 14-month inhibition, but not to working memory and cognitive flexibility. No country differences were found in the relation among 4-month infant attention, parental sensitivity, and EF outcomes. Results show that both infant and parent factors are associated with early EF development and that these correlates of early EF skills may be similar in Western and non-Western samples.
This work is part of the research program ‘‘Origins of early individual differences in self-regulation: A multi-method study involving mothers, fathers and infants in the UK, the Netherlands and the US” with Project No. 464-13-141, which is partly financed by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Support from the China Scholarship Council (CSC) is gratefully acknowledged.
- Infant Executive Function
- Infant attention
- Longitudinal study
- Maternal and paternal sensitivity
- Western and Chinese samples
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology