Development of directed global inhibition, competitive inhibition and behavioural inhibition during the transition between infancy and toddlerhood
Hendry A., Greenhalgh I., Bailey R., Fiske A., Dvergsdal H., Holmboe K.
<p>Inhibitory control (IC) is a core executive function integral to self-regulation and cognitive control, yet is itself multi-componential. Directed global inhibition entails stopping an action on demand. Competitive inhibition is engaged when an alternative response must also be produced. Related, but not an executive function, is temperamentally-driven wariness of novelty, known as behavioural inhibition. Understanding early development of these components has been hampered by a shortage of suitable measures. We combine established and novel measures to capture directed global inhibition (Toy Prohibition, Touchscreen Prohibition), competitive inhibition (A-not-B, Early Childhood Inhibitory Touchscreen Task; ECITT) and behavioural inhibition (Touchscreen Approach) in 113 10- and 16-month-olds (73 seen longitudinally). Pre-registered analysis of ECITT switching performance shows good 1-week test-retest reliability at 10 months (r=.60). Ten-month performance on directed global inhibition measures shows little stability to 16-months, and may be primarily influenced by behavioural inhibition. Performance on measures targeting similar IC components shows greater coherence at 16 months (r=.23-.59) compared with 10 months (r=.09-.35), and developmental progression across this period. Exploratory analyses (requiring replication) indicate possible reciprocal associations between behavioural and competitive inhibition across infancy into toddlerhood, yet limited cross-sectional associations. Probing of ECITT condition effects indicates that for 16-month-olds prepotencies may be more influenced by recency than repetition, whilst also interacting with side biases; important considerations when assessing early IC with tasks with a spatial component, as is common at this age. The study findings are informative for theoretical models and measurement of IC development across the transition between infancy and toddlerhood.</p>