Cognitive control of saccadic eye movements in children with developmental coordination disorder

Claudia C. Gonzalez, Mark Mon-Williams, Siobhan Burke, Melanie R. Burke

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The ability to use advance information to prepare and execute a movement requires cognitive control of behaviour (e.g., anticipation and inhibition). Our aim was to explore the integrity of saccadic eye movement control in developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and typically developing (TD) children (8–12 years) and assess how these children plan and inhibit saccadic responses, the principal mechanisms within visual attention control. Eye movements and touch responses were measured (separately and concurrently) in Cued and Non-Cued conditions. We found that children with DCD had similar saccade kinematics to the TD group during saccade initiation. Advance information decreased hand movement duration in both groups during Cued trials, but decrements in accuracy were significantly worse in the DCD group. In addition, children with DCD exhibited greater inhibitory errors and inaccurate fixation during the Cued trials. Thus, children with DCD were reasonably proficient in executing saccades during reflexive (Non-Cued) conditions, but showed deficits in more complex control processes involving prediction and inhibition. These findings have implications for our understanding of motor control in children with DCD.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0165380
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2016

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