Self-regulation is a widely studied construct, generally assumed to be cognitively supported by executive functions (EFs). There is a lack of clarity and consensus over the roles of specific components of EFs in self-regulation. The current study examines the relations between performance on (a) a self-regulation task (Heads, Toes, Knees Shoulders Task) and (b) two EF tasks (Knox Cube and Beads Tasks) that measure different components of updating: working memory and short-term memory, respectively. We compared 107 8- to 13-year-old children (64 females) across demographically-diverse populations in four low and middle-income countries, including: Tanna, Vanuatu; Keningau, Malaysia; Saltpond, Ghana; and Natal, Brazil. The communities we studied vary in market integration/urbanicity as well as level of access, structure, and quality of schooling. We found that performance on the visuospatial working memory task (Knox Cube) and the visuospatial short-term memory task (Beads) are each independently associated with performance on the self-regulation task, even when controlling for schooling and location effects. These effects were robust across demographically-diverse populations of children in low-and middle-income countries. We conclude that this study found evidence supporting visuospatial working memory and visuospatial short-term memory as distinct cognitive processes which each support the development of self-regulation.
|Early online date||13 Jan 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 25 Aug 2022|