Early math and reading achievement are associated with the error positivity

Matthew H. Kim, Jennie K. Grammer, Loren M. Marulis, Melisa Carrasco, Frederick J. Morrison, William J. Gehring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Executive functioning (EF) and motivation are associated with academic achievement and error-related ERPs. The present study explores whether early academic skills predict variability in the error-related negativity (ERN) and error positivity (Pe). Data from 113 three- to seven-year-old children in a Go/No-Go task revealed that stronger early reading and math skills predicted a larger Pe. Closer examination revealed that this relation was quadratic and significant for children performing at or near grade level, but not significant for above-average achievers. Early academics did not predict the ERN. These findings suggest that the Pe – which reflects individual differences in motivational processes as well as attention – may be associated with early academic achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-26
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (DGE 1256260 ) to the first author, a grant from the National Institutes of Health ( R21HD059085 ) to the fifth and sixth authors, and a grant from the National Science Foundation (BCS 1356118) to the second, fifth, and sixth authors. We thank Jennifer McDermott and her colleagues for the design of the Go/No-Go task that was adapted for use in this study. We are also grateful for research assistance provided by Michelle Blain, Alexander Daguanno, Kasia Garner, Kristall Knieper, Shella Marder, Kaille Meguiar, Chandler Missig, Mahya Rahimian, Victoria Rilett, Anna Shu, and Palak Vani. Finally, we would like to thank all of the families and children who participated in our study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors


  • Attention
  • Children
  • Error positivity
  • Math
  • Motivation
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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