Publication Date

Summer 2016

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Lemerise (Director), Diane Lickenbrock, and Andrew Mienaltowski

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


Extensive research on the development of self-regulation has demonstrated that better executive functioning and effortful control during the preschool years are associated with greater kindergarten and early school achievement. Recent findings suggest that self-regulation tasks differ in their assessment of “hot” and “cool” regulation, how these processes map onto effortful control and executive functioning, and may predict school readiness. However, only a few studies have examined the validity of hot and cool regulation tasks (Allan & Lonigan, 2014; Di Norcia, Pecora, Bombi, Baumgartner, & Laghi, 2015; Willoughby, Kupersmidt, Voegler-Lee, & Bryant, 2011), and how they predict socio-emotional competence (Di Norcia et al., 2015) and academic performance (Kim, Nordling, Yoon, Boldt, & Kochanska, 2013). The current study examined the validity of hot and cool tasks as measures of self-regulation and predictive measures of school readiness within a low-income sample. The sample consisted of 64 preschoolers between the ages of three (n= 38) and four (n= 26) who were enrolled in a blended Head Start program. The Preschooler Self-Regulation Assessment, Woodcock Johnson subtests (Letter Word, Applied Problem, and Picture Vocabulary), and teacher ratings of social competence (Social Competence and Behavioral Evaluation) and emotional competence (Emotion Regulation Checklist) were collected in the fall and spring of the school year. Results indicated that performance on the Cool and Hot tasks

was moderate to highly correlated with academic performance and teacher ratings of socio-emotional competence respectively. Developmental differences in selfregulation performance suggested that cool regulation begins to develop later in the preschool period and may depend on earlier development of hot regulatory processes. There were also gains in academic achievement and socio-emotional competence from fall to spring. Regression analyses indicated that Hot and Cool tasks did not predict socio-emotional competence and academic achievement as distinctively as expected. Hot and cool regulation seemed to predict socio-emotional competence and academic achievement in parallel, with the exception of math performance, which was strongly predicted by Cool task performance above and beyond Hot tasks. Results suggest that hot and cool regulation overlap in predicting school readiness.


Child Psychology | Cognitive Psychology | Developmental Psychology | Experimental Analysis of Behavior