Association of working memory with gross motor skills in early childhood
The acquisition of gross motor skills in early childhood contributes to balanced development and lifetime health patterns. It has been suggested that motor skills are acquired in early childhood without reliance on working memory, as the cognitive resources of young children have yet to fully develop. In two studies, we aimed to examine the relationship of gross motor skills proficiency with working memory in young children. The first study was cross-sectional and involved children with an average age of 5.84 years (n = 107). Gross motor skills (i.e., locomotor and object control) were tested, and working memory components (i.e., verbal and visuospatial) were measured. The second study was longitudinal and involved children with an average age of 4.17 years (n = 34). Locomotor and object control skills were tested at the start (T1) and middle (T2) of the school year; working memory components were tested at T1. The two studies showed that only object control skills proficiency and verbal working memory were associated. In the second study, gross motor skills improved over the two time points, but there was no significant interaction with working memory components. It appears that neither verbal nor visuospatial working memory influences change in gross motor skills proficiency. These findings provide support for the proposition that gross motor skills are acquired in early childhood without reliance on working memory resources, and informs the design of instructional approaches to promote gross motor skills proficiency.
Capio, C.M., Choi, C.S.Y., & Masters, R.S.W. (2022). Association of working memory with gross motor skills in early childhood. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2022.2098355