This study examined the relationship between specific attentional aspects of processing capacity and analogical reasoning in children from low-income families. 77 children aged 48-77 (M = 56.7) months were assessed on an analogical reasoning task (matrices subtest of the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test) and on computerized attention tasks designed to assess orienting, vigilance, and executive attention abilities [Posner, M.I., and Petersen, S.E. (1990). The attention system of the human brain. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 13, 25-42]. Results showed that analogical reasoning abilities were associated with the executive attention network abilities, suggesting that skills associated with this network, such as the resolution of conflicts between competing demands on attention, may be particularly important for relational mapping. This was evident in girls only. Implications for understanding how attentional components of processing capacity can affect children's academic success in impoverished environments are discussed.
Analysis of attention and analogical reasoning in children of poverty