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Planning steps forward in development: in girls earlier than in boys.

Unterrainer JM, Ruh N, Loosli SV, Heinze K, Rahm B, Kaller CP - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: Problems demanding look-ahead were more difficult and accuracy improved significantly with age and over time.This sex-specific development of planning was clearly separated from overall intelligence: young boys showed a steeper increase in raw intelligence scores than girls, whereas in the older groups scores developed similarly.The observed sex differences in planning development are evident even within a narrow time window of twelve months and may relate to differences in maturational trajectories for girls and boys in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The development of planning ability in children initially aged four and five was examined longitudinally with a retest-interval of 12 months using the Tower of London task. As expected, problems to solve straightforward without mental look-ahead were mastered by most, even the youngest children. Problems demanding look-ahead were more difficult and accuracy improved significantly with age and over time. This development was strongly moderated by sex: In contrast to coeval boys, four year old girls showed an impressive performance enhancement at age five, reaching the performance of six year olds, whereas four year old boys lagged behind and caught up with girls at the age of six, the typical age of school enrollment. This sex-specific development of planning was clearly separated from overall intelligence: young boys showed a steeper increase in raw intelligence scores than girls, whereas in the older groups scores developed similarly. The observed sex differences in planning development are evident even within a narrow time window of twelve months and may relate to differences in maturational trajectories for girls and boys in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

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Number of correctly solved items in the intelligence test (CPM) of boys and girls separately plotted for the young and the old group at the time points of the first (Time 1) and the re-test measurement after 12 months (Time 2).
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pone-0080772-g003: Number of correctly solved items in the intelligence test (CPM) of boys and girls separately plotted for the young and the old group at the time points of the first (Time 1) and the re-test measurement after 12 months (Time 2).

Mentions: To contrast the development of planning with general intellectual functioning, a 2×2×2 repeated-measurements ANOVA with time point (1st and 2nd measurement after one year; T1 and T2) as within-subject factors and age group and sex as between-subject factors was computed for the number of correctly solved items in the CPM. Results revealed significant main effects for time point, F(1,41)  =  47.70, p <.001, ηp2  = .538, and age group, F(1,41)  =  18.59, p <.001, ηp2  = .312. Thus, children gained higher intelligence values twelve months later at T2 and older children significantly outperformed the younger ones. No main effect for sex was found, F(1,41)  =  1.02, p  = .321, ηp2  = .024. A triple interaction of time point, age group, and sex, F(1,41)  =  4.98, p  = .031, ηp2  = .108, revealed an inverse pattern to that observed for planning performance: Young boys at age four demonstrated a strong increase in solving items of the intelligence test one year later, whereas young girls only modestly improved at the second measurement (Fig. 3). Post hoc analyses in the younger group revealed highly significant improvements from T1 to T2 in boys (t(9)  =  –6.31, p <.001), but not in girls (t(11)  =  –1.42, p  = .183). Whereas in the older group, both girls (t(7)  =  –4.24, p  = .004) and boys (t(14)  =  –4.03, p  = .001) increased their general intellectual functioning within one year.


Planning steps forward in development: in girls earlier than in boys.

Unterrainer JM, Ruh N, Loosli SV, Heinze K, Rahm B, Kaller CP - PLoS ONE (2013)

Number of correctly solved items in the intelligence test (CPM) of boys and girls separately plotted for the young and the old group at the time points of the first (Time 1) and the re-test measurement after 12 months (Time 2).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3842368&req=5

pone-0080772-g003: Number of correctly solved items in the intelligence test (CPM) of boys and girls separately plotted for the young and the old group at the time points of the first (Time 1) and the re-test measurement after 12 months (Time 2).
Mentions: To contrast the development of planning with general intellectual functioning, a 2×2×2 repeated-measurements ANOVA with time point (1st and 2nd measurement after one year; T1 and T2) as within-subject factors and age group and sex as between-subject factors was computed for the number of correctly solved items in the CPM. Results revealed significant main effects for time point, F(1,41)  =  47.70, p <.001, ηp2  = .538, and age group, F(1,41)  =  18.59, p <.001, ηp2  = .312. Thus, children gained higher intelligence values twelve months later at T2 and older children significantly outperformed the younger ones. No main effect for sex was found, F(1,41)  =  1.02, p  = .321, ηp2  = .024. A triple interaction of time point, age group, and sex, F(1,41)  =  4.98, p  = .031, ηp2  = .108, revealed an inverse pattern to that observed for planning performance: Young boys at age four demonstrated a strong increase in solving items of the intelligence test one year later, whereas young girls only modestly improved at the second measurement (Fig. 3). Post hoc analyses in the younger group revealed highly significant improvements from T1 to T2 in boys (t(9)  =  –6.31, p <.001), but not in girls (t(11)  =  –1.42, p  = .183). Whereas in the older group, both girls (t(7)  =  –4.24, p  = .004) and boys (t(14)  =  –4.03, p  = .001) increased their general intellectual functioning within one year.

Bottom Line: Problems demanding look-ahead were more difficult and accuracy improved significantly with age and over time.This sex-specific development of planning was clearly separated from overall intelligence: young boys showed a steeper increase in raw intelligence scores than girls, whereas in the older groups scores developed similarly.The observed sex differences in planning development are evident even within a narrow time window of twelve months and may relate to differences in maturational trajectories for girls and boys in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Psychology and Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Mainz, Mainz, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The development of planning ability in children initially aged four and five was examined longitudinally with a retest-interval of 12 months using the Tower of London task. As expected, problems to solve straightforward without mental look-ahead were mastered by most, even the youngest children. Problems demanding look-ahead were more difficult and accuracy improved significantly with age and over time. This development was strongly moderated by sex: In contrast to coeval boys, four year old girls showed an impressive performance enhancement at age five, reaching the performance of six year olds, whereas four year old boys lagged behind and caught up with girls at the age of six, the typical age of school enrollment. This sex-specific development of planning was clearly separated from overall intelligence: young boys showed a steeper increase in raw intelligence scores than girls, whereas in the older groups scores developed similarly. The observed sex differences in planning development are evident even within a narrow time window of twelve months and may relate to differences in maturational trajectories for girls and boys in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Show MeSH