Nurturing the development of executive attention

The development of executive attention serves the child with mechanisms that allow an increased voluntary control of thoughts and feelings and is tightly linked to the development of self-regulation. This function shows a protracted development along childhood and early adolescence with a major period of maturation during preschool years. I will present some research showing the influence of both genetic and environmental factors that contribute to individual differences in attention and self-regulation. In the last part of the talk, I will present efforts to train this function in the preschool children and show evidence of training benefits at the cognitive and brain function level. This research provides a deeper understanding of the development of executive control, the factors that contribute to individual differences in efficiency, and the type of experiences that may promote children’s self-regulation skills.