Correlation between Cognitive Functions and Motor Coordination in Children with Different Cognitive Levels

Pietro Luigi Invernizzi, Matteo Crotti, Andrea Bosio, Raffaele Scurati, Nicola Lovecchio

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Cognitive development is related with central nervous system maturation and plays a crucial role for the definition of executive functions such as movement imagination, movement planning and problem-solving. In particular,executive functions are required during complex interactions between players/environment and are also fundamental for motor skills coordination. Although the complex interaction between cognitive and physical outcomes was recognized by several authors, few studies examined the magnitude of the relation between executive functions and motor development according to different stages of cognitive maturation. Thus the aim was the assessment of the relationships between motor skills coordination and executive functions in children with different cognitive level. Ninety healthy male participants were involved in the study where children affected by Down syndrome were, also, recruited. The participants were divided into three groups according to classification of Piaget: concrete, formal operational groups and Down syndrome individuals. Executive functions were assessed using a validated computerized battery tests while motor skills was evaluated using the Körperkoordinations Testfür Kinder. Analysis of variance by ranks (Kruskal-Wallis nonparametric test) and Mann-Whitney U pairwise comparisons with Dunn’s correction for multiple contrasts were applied to assess the differences concerning thetwo kinds of outcome. The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was used to calculate the correlation between physical performance and the outcomes of the cognitive tests. A Spearman correlation was used to analyze the data when the assumption of normality was violated. The three groups showed differences in both executive functions and motor coordination outcomes. The highest number of significant correlations was found in the formal operational group (correlation coefficients ranging between -0.999 and -0.520, and between 0.970 and 0.759, all p values < 0.05) while a small number of correlations were found in the concrete operational group(correlation coefficients equal to -0.527, -0.461, -0.436 and 0.468, all p values < 0.05). No correlations between executive function and motor coordination were found in Down syndrome group. High executive function seems to affect the coordination skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-115
Number of pages187
JournalAdvances in Physical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 by authors and
Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution International
License (CC BY 4.0)


  • Motor Skills
  • Piaget
  • KTK
  • Executive Function
  • Down’s Syndrome


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