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Executive and Motivational Control of Performance Task Behavior, and Autonomic Heart Rate Regulation in Children: Physiologic Validation of Two-Factor Solution Inhibitory Control

NCJ Number
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry Volume: 39 Issue: 4 Dated: 1998 Pages: 1-7
Date Published
December 1991
7 pages

This study assesses executive and motivational influences on motor responses and examines the relationships between autonomic heart-rate regulation and task performance in children.


Forty-two children (mean age 10.6 years) from mainstream public (n=22) and therapeutic schools (n=20) completed performance tasks assessing executive and motivational influences on motor responses. In a separate protocol, children underwent physiologic challenges of paced breathing and supine to standing postural change, while heart rate was continuously monitored. Executive control was associated with vagal modulation of respiratory driven, high-frequency heart-rate variability, whereas motivational control was associated with sympathetic modulation of posturally driven, low-frequency heart-rate variability. These findings supported a two-factor solution of inhibitory control derived in a previous study. Notes, tables, figure, references

Date Published: December 1, 1991