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Changes in cognitive functions of students in the transitional period from elementary school to junior high school

  • Kei Mizuno
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan. Tel.: +81 6 6645 3711; fax: +81 6 6645 3712.
    Affiliations
    Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan

    Molecular Probe Dynamics Laboratory, RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science, 6-7-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan
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  • Masaaki Tanaka
    Affiliations
    Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan
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  • Sanae Fukuda
    Affiliations
    Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan

    Department of Biomarker and Molecular Biophysics, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan
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  • Tetsuya Sasabe
    Affiliations
    Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan
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  • Kyoko Imai-Matsumura
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical, Health and Special Support Education, Hyogo University of Teacher Education Graduate School of Education, Hyogo, 942-1 Shimokume, Kato City, Hyogo 673-1494, Japan
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  • Yasuyoshi Watanabe
    Affiliations
    Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3 Asahimachi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan

    Molecular Probe Dynamics Laboratory, RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science, 6-7-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan

    Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST)/Research Institute of Science and Technology for Society (RISTEX), 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi City, Saitama 332-0012, Japan
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      Abstract

      Background: When students proceed to junior high school from elementary school, rapid changes in the environment occur, which may cause various behavioral and emotional problems. However, the changes in cognitive functions during this transitional period have rarely been studied. Methods: In 158 elementary school students from 4th- to 6th-grades and 159 junior high school students from 7th- to 9th-grades, we assessed various cognitive functions, including motor processing, spatial construction ability, semantic fluency, immediate memory, delayed memory, spatial and non-spatial working memory, and selective, alternative, and divided attention. Results: Our findings showed that performance on spatial and non-spatial working memory, alternative attention, divided attention, and semantic fluency tasks improved from elementary to junior high school. In particular, performance on alternative and divided attention tasks improved during the transitional period from elementary to junior high school. Conclusion: Our finding suggests that development of alternative and divided attention is of crucial importance in the transitional period from elementary to junior high school.

      Keywords

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