The Stroop test: A developmental study in a French children sample aged 7 to 12 yearsLe test de Stroop : une étude développementale auprès d’un échantillon d’enfants français âgés de 7 à 12 ans
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The Stroop test is a commonly used task in psychology to assess executive function and more specifically inhibition. International studies consistently show improved Stroop task performance with age, whereas available French normative data displays the opposite pattern, with poor clinical sensibility (Albaret & Migliore, 1999). To provide an alternative and useful Stroop test for children, we examined developmental data based on a well-known French protocol validated in adult (GREFEX study group, 2001). The three-standard conditions of the Stroop task (i.e. naming, reading and interference) were administered to 120 typically developing school children (7–12 years), while taking into account the effects of gender, parental educational level and intelligence (both crystallized and fluid intelligence, as measured by the Wechsler intelligence scale). The time to complete each condition (in seconds) was recorded, as well as the number of uncorrected and corrected errors. Results show a continuous increase of performance in “reading” and “naming” control conditions between 7 and 12 years, suggesting an improvement in the lexical access speed and the automation of decoding abilities during reading. Most importantly, a significant reduction of time Stroop effect with age was found (difference between interference and naming conditions), but no interaction with gender. Stroop performances are related to fluid intelligence once age is statistically controlled, but not to parental educational level. The developmental pattern found from the Stroop GREFEX version is consistent with international data and more broadly with executive function and inhibition development. These findings open the prospect of useful normative standardization of this task, with valuable clinical applications perspectives.
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