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Sustained attention corresponds to the ability to maintain attentional focus on an activity for a longer period with the same consistency pattern. Knowledge about the development of mental abilities is essential for the understanding of how cognitive processes establishes throughout development and their relation to brain organization. This study aims to analyze the ability to sustain attentional focus in time in children of different age groups. The study included 78 children aged 6 to 11 years old (44 girls and 34 boys), enrolled from the 1st year to the 5th year of private school in São Paulo, Brazil. Each participant was instructed to fixate the gaze at the fixation point (FP), prepare to respond after it changed color to blue and respond as quickly as possible to the occurrence of the target (0.3-degree square superimposed to the central point) pressing the space bar, measuring the reaction time (RT). The target would come after one of 12 equal possible time intervals (100; 400; 700; 1000; 1300; 1600; 1900; 2200; 2500; 2800; 3100 and 3400 ms) in milliseconds. Multifactor ANOVA with repeated measures results demonstrated a significant effect (F (4, 73) = 13.001, p <0.001) for Schooling. It was also verified a systematic decrease of the RT as a function of cue-target time interval increase (F (11, 803) = 26,708, p <0.001). In this manner, we observed a systematic decrease in the RT due to the increase in schooling and in function of increase cue-target time interval.
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