Publication Date

Summer 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Lemerise (Director), Diane Lickenbrock, and Amy Brausch

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Masster of Science


Substantial evidence from previous research has supported the idea that greater self-regulation in the form of “cool” self-regulation or executive functioning and “hot” self-regulation or effortful control is associated with higher academic achievement within the preschool years and school readiness in the kindergarten years (Anaya, 2016; Carlson, 2005). However, there are only a few studies that assess the prediction of school readiness through validated cool and hot self-regulation tasks (Carlson, 2005; Krain, Wilson, Arbuckle, Kastellanos, & Wilham, 2006; Rothbart, Ellis, Rueda, & Posner, 2003; Thompson & Giedd, 2000). There also few studies examining to what extent cool and hot-self-regulation tasks predict socio-emotional (Blair, 2002) and academic achievement (Bull & Scherif, 2001), which are aspects of school readiness. The current study examined the validity of hot and cool tasks as measures of school readiness within a preschool sample (n = 86) enrolled in one of two programs: one blended Head Start and one full Head Start program. Adapted hot and cool self-regulation tasks, global observer ratings of hot and cool self-regulation tasks (Preschool Self-Regulation Assessment Assessor Report (PSRA-AR) and the Observation of Child Temperament Scale), Woodcock Johnson subtests (Letter Word, Applied Problems, and Picture Vocabulary), teacher ratings of social competence (Social Competence and Behavioral Evaluation) and emotional competence (Emotion Regulation Checklist) were collected in the fall of the school year. Results indicated that performance on cool tasks of measures cool self-regulation were highly correlated with academic performance and that the Snack Delay task and the PSRA-AR component scores (Attention/Impulse Control and Positive Emotion) of hot self-regulation were correlated with socio-emotional competence. Additionally, there were no age differences for hot self-regulation. Regression analyses suggested that hot self-regulation predicted socio-emotional competence and cool tasks predicted academic achievement. However, conclusions regarding hot self-regulation age differences and predictive validity are limited by the sole use of one hot task within this study and the results do not warrant a conclusion regarding whether hot self-regulation and cool self-regulation are separate self-regulation constructs, given the use of only one hot task.


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