This study aimed to systematically investigate the relation between gross motor skills and aspects of executive functioning (i.e. verbal working memory, visuospatial working memory, response inhibition and interference control) in 8-10 year old children. Additionally, the role of information processing (speed and variability) and lapses of attention in the relation between gross motor skills and executive functions was investigated. Data of 732 Dutch children from grade 3 and 4 were analyzed (50.0% boys, 50.4% grade 3, age = 9.16 ± 0.64 years). Gross motor skills were assessed using three items of the Körper Koordinationstest fü r Kinder and one item of the Bruininks-Oseretsky test of Motor Proficiency, Second Edition. Executive functions were assessed using the Wechsler Digit Span task (verbal working memory), the Visuospatial Memory task (visuospatial working memory), the Stop Signal task (response inhibition) and a modified version of the Flanker task (interference control). Information processing and lapses of attention were obtained by applying an ex-Gaussian analysis on go trials of the Stop Signal task. Multilevel regression analysis showed that gross motor skills were significantly related to verbal working memory, visuospatial working memory and response inhibition, but not to interference control. Lapses of attention was a significant predictor for all executive functions, whereas processing speed was not. Variability in processing speed was only predictive for visuospatial working memory. After controlling for information processing and lapses of attention, gross motor skills were only significantly related to visuospatial working memory and response inhibition. The results suggest that after controlling for information processing and lapses of attention, gross motor skills are related to aspects of executive functions that are most directly involved in, and share common underlying processes with, gross motor skills.
van der Fels, I. M. J., Smith, J., de Bruijn, A. G. M., Bosker, R. J., Königs, M., Oosterlaan, J., ... Hartman, E. (2019). Relations between gross motor skills and executive functions, controlling for the role of information processing and lapses of attention in 8-10 year old children. PLoS ONE, 14(10), [e0224219]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224219