The role of action prediction and control in young children’s joint action coordination

Abstract

Coordinating actions with another person can be a challenging endeavor for young children. For smooth coordination of actions with another person two skills are hypothesized to be crucial: action prediction and inhibitory control. In this study, we investigated how developing abilities of action prediction and inhibitory control are related to young children’s joint action coordination. Using a simple turn-taking game, 2½-year-olds’ joint action coordination performance (timing variability and accuracy) was assessed. Additionally, children’s action prediction skills were measured by anticipatory looks using eye-tracking. Inhibitory control was tested in an age-appropriate gift delay task. Results show that timing stability during the joint coordination was positively correlated to measures of action prediction. In turn, accuracy in the joint coordination was positively correlated with measures of inhibitory control. These findings indicate a distinctive role of action prediction and inhibitory action control for different coordination qualities (timing variability and accuracy) in young children.


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