Four experiments examined the development of negative priming (NP) in 3-5-year-old children using as a measure of children's executive function (EF) the dimensional change card sort (DCCS) task. In the NP version of the DCCS, the values of the sorting dimension that is relevant during the preswitch phase are removed during the postswitch phase. The experiments showed that the NP effect observed in the DCCS decreased during the preschool years, and they clarified the circumstances in which NP occurs. Taken together, the findings suggest that the development of EF in early childhood consists in part in disinhibiting attention to information that has previously been suppressed.
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