Voluntary and Involuntary Control of Attention in Adolescents Born Very Preterm: A Study of Eye Movements

E. Sabrina Twilhaar*, Artem V. Belopolsky, Jorrit F. de Kieviet, Ruurd M. van Elburg, Jaap Oosterlaan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Very preterm birth is associated with attention deficits that interfere with academic performance. A better understanding of attention processes is necessary to support very preterm born children. This study examined voluntary and involuntary attentional control in very preterm born adolescents by measuring saccadic eye movements. Additionally, these control processes were related to symptoms of inattention, intelligence, and academic performance. Participants included 47 very preterm and 61 full-term born 13-years-old adolescents. Oculomotor control was assessed using the antisaccade and oculomotor capture paradigm. Very preterm born adolescents showed deficits in antisaccade but not in oculomotor capture performance, indicating impairments in voluntary but not involuntary attentional control. These impairments mediated the relation between very preterm birth and inattention, intelligence, and academic performance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Development
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2019

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