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Touchscreen use amongst young children has proliferated in recent years, yet little is known about the association between daily touchscreen exposure and inhibitory control in the first year of life. Previous research has found a negative association between the amount of television viewing and inhibitory control in early childhood, but it is unclear whether negative associations with screen use extend to touchscreens. The current study presents an exploratory analysis of the cross-sectional associations between inhibitory control and the amount of touchscreen use amongst 10-month-olds (n = 128-156). Touchscreen exposure was assessed via parent-report. In order to include a range of "hot" and "cool" aspects of inhibitory control, these skills were assessed using lab-based response inhibition and prohibition tasks as well as parent-reported observations of infants' inhibitory control abilities and broader regulatory behaviors. A "Cognitive Executive Function (EEFQ-CEF)" score (encompassing Inhibitory Control, Flexibility, and Working Memory items) was included as a secondary broader executive function construct to examine whether effects showed specificity to inhibitory control rather than executive functions more generally. Correlation analyses indicated no association between touchscreen exposure and the four indices of IC. However, a positive association was found for the amount of touchscreen exposure and EEFQ-CEF once accounting for sociodemographic variables. The implications of these findings and future directions are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Infant Behav Dev

Publication Date





Executive functions, Infant cognition, Inhibitory control, Screen media, Touchscreen