Ready or Not: Parasympathetic Nervous System Activity During Self-Regulatory Tasks Predicts School Readiness

Lindsay Ann Gomes
This study examined how parasympathetic resources are recruited during situations in which children must employ volitional self-regulation and explored associations with subsequent school readiness. At the beginning of the preschool year, children participated in hot gift-wrap (GW) and cool executive functions (EF) tasks of self-regulation. Cardiac data were collected during each task to measure parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) activity through changes in respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA)
more » ... rom baseline. Hypotheses stated that RSA suppression during both tasks would predict school readiness at the end of the year, but RSA change during GW would drive more change in school readiness scores. Results revealed higher school readiness scores for children experiencing RSA suppression during GW (B = 3.38, CI = [0.25, 6.51], p = .033) and augmentation during EF (B = -4.05, CI = [-9.04, 0.94], p = .108). These results situate self-regulation in its developmental stage and corresponding context.
doi:10.17615/x3pj-fs79 fatcat:2f5ybdglsbeypemuws27zetyua