Voluntary and Involuntary Control of Attention in Adolescents Born Very Preterm: A Study of Eye Movements

E Sabrina Twilhaar, Artem V Belopolsky, Jorrit F de Kieviet, Ruurd M van Elburg, Jaap Oosterlaan

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Very preterm birth is associated with attention deficits that interfere with academic performance. A better understanding of attention processes is necessary to support very preterm born children. This study examined voluntary and involuntary attentional control in very preterm born adolescents by measuring saccadic eye movements. Additionally, these control processes were related to symptoms of inattention, intelligence, and academic performance. Participants included 47 very preterm and 61 full-term born 13-years-old adolescents. Oculomotor control was assessed using the antisaccade and oculomotor capture paradigm. Very preterm born adolescents showed deficits in antisaccade but not in oculomotor capture performance, indicating impairments in voluntary but not involuntary attentional control. These impairments mediated the relation between very preterm birth and inattention, intelligence, and academic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1272-1283
Number of pages12
JournalChild Development
Issue number4
Early online date18 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Authors. Child Development published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society for Research in Child Development.


  • Academic Performance
  • Adolescent
  • Attention
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity
  • Cognition
  • Comprehension
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Extremely Premature
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Premature Birth


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