Previous studies have found that East Asian children outperform Western children on executive function tasks; however, cultural differences may depend on the task demands. Particularly, East Asian children may have difficulties in regulating attention within social contexts. Selective attention was tested among four- to seven-year-old Canadian (N = 62) and Japanese (N = 54) children using two Flanker task variants: (a) Social Flanker (i.e., happy/sad faces) and (b) standard Fish Flanker (i.e., right/left) tasks. In the Social Flanker task, Japanese children's performance was more impaired by flanker interference than that of Canadian children. While the interference effect was similar across cultures in the Fish Flanker task, Japanese children had an overall better performance than Canadian children. In both cultures, the older children (ages 6–7) performed better than the younger children (ages 4–5). These results suggest the importance of social contexts in understanding cultural differences in the development of cognitive control.
- Cognitive control
- Executive function
- Selective attention
- Social cognition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology