We examined differences between 10-year-olds and young adults in resource recruitment and regulation during tasks of sustained attention and spatial working memory. We administered participants spatial 0- and 1-back tasks and used pupillary dilation as a measure of resource recruitment. Repeated administration of 0-back led to smaller pupillary dilations and greater response time (RT) variability, revealing a vigilance decrement. Effects of repeated administration of 0-back and differences between 0- and 1-back in d′ and RTs were similar between ages. Results further suggested that the children may not have been as effective as adults in extracting frequency information. Thus, on simple tasks of sustained attention and working memory, children recruit resources in a manner similar to adults. Finally, d′ was correlated with RT variability on both tasks at both ages, highlighting the role of attentional fluctuations on both tasks.
- Autonomic nervous system
- Working memory