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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00660

Response inhibition and interference suppression in individuals with Down Syndrome compared to typically developing children

  • 1Department of Education Sciences, University of Genoa, Italy
  • 2Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Italy

The present study aims to investigate inhibition in individuals with Down Syndrome compared to typically developing children with different inhibitory tasks tapping response inhibition and interference suppression. Previous studies that aimed to investigate inhibition in individuals with Down Syndrome reported contradictory results that are difficult to compare given the different types of inhibitory tasks used and the lack of reference to a theoretical model of inhibition that was tested in children (see Bunge, Dudukovic, Thomason, Vaidya, & Gabrieli 2002; Gandolfi, Viterbori, Traverso, & Usai, 2014). Three groups took part in the study: thirty-two individuals with Down Syndrome (DS) with a mean age of 14 years and 4 months, thirty-five typically developing children five years of age (5TD), and thirty typically developing children six years of age (6TD). No difference emerged among the groups in fluid intelligence. Based on a confirmatory factor analysis, two different inhibition factors were identified (response inhibition and interference suppression), and two composite scores were calculated. An ANOVA was then executed with the composite inhibitory scores as dependent variables and group membership as the between-subject variable to explore the group differences in inhibition components. The 6TD group outperformed the 5TD group in both response inhibition and interference suppression component scores. No differences were found in both inhibition components between the DS group and 5TD. In contrast, the 6TD group outperformed the DS group in both response inhibition and in the interference suppression component’s scores. Summarizing, our findings show that both response inhibition and interference suppression significantly increased during school transition and that individuals with DS showed a delay in both response inhibition and interference suppression components compared to typically developing six-year-olds, but their performance was similar to typically developing five-year-olds.

Keywords: Down Syndrome, Executive Function, Inhibition (Psychology), interference suppression, response inhibition

Received: 05 Jan 2018; Accepted: 16 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Sarah E. MacPherson, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Miriam Gade, Medical School Berlin, Germany
Robert Reeve, University of Melbourne, Australia  

Copyright: © 2018 Traverso, Fontana, Usai and Passolunghi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
PhD. Laura Traverso, TRAVERSO., University of Genoa, Department of Education Sciences, Corso Andrea Podesta', 2, Genoa, 16128, Italy,
Prof. Maria Chiara Passolunghi, University of Trieste, Department of Life Sciences, Via E. Weiss, 2, Trieste, 34128, Italy,