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      Examining the role of parents and teachers in executive function development in early and middle childhood: A systematic review

      , , ,
      Developmental Review
      Elsevier BV

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          Executive Functions

          Executive functions (EFs) make possible mentally playing with ideas; taking the time to think before acting; meeting novel, unanticipated challenges; resisting temptations; and staying focused. Core EFs are inhibition [response inhibition (self-control—resisting temptations and resisting acting impulsively) and interference control (selective attention and cognitive inhibition)], working memory, and cognitive flexibility (including creatively thinking “outside the box,” seeing anything from different perspectives, and quickly and flexibly adapting to changed circumstances). The developmental progression and representative measures of each are discussed. Controversies are addressed (e.g., the relation between EFs and fluid intelligence, self-regulation, executive attention, and effortful control, and the relation between working memory and inhibition and attention). The importance of social, emotional, and physical health for cognitive health is discussed because stress, lack of sleep, loneliness, or lack of exercise each impair EFs. That EFs are trainable and can be improved with practice is addressed, including diverse methods tried thus far.
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            The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex "Frontal Lobe" tasks: a latent variable analysis.

            This individual differences study examined the separability of three often postulated executive functions-mental set shifting ("Shifting"), information updating and monitoring ("Updating"), and inhibition of prepotent responses ("Inhibition")-and their roles in complex "frontal lobe" or "executive" tasks. One hundred thirty-seven college students performed a set of relatively simple experimental tasks that are considered to predominantly tap each target executive function as well as a set of frequently used executive tasks: the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Tower of Hanoi (TOH), random number generation (RNG), operation span, and dual tasking. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the three target executive functions are moderately correlated with one another, but are clearly separable. Moreover, structural equation modeling suggested that the three functions contribute differentially to performance on complex executive tasks. Specifically, WCST performance was related most strongly to Shifting, TOH to Inhibition, RNG to Inhibition and Updating, and operation span to Updating. Dual task performance was not related to any of the three target functions. These results suggest that it is important to recognize both the unity and diversity of executive functions and that latent variable analysis is a useful approach to studying the organization and roles of executive functions. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.
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              The Nature and Organization of Individual Differences in Executive Functions: Four General Conclusions.

              Executive functions (EFs)-a set of general-purpose control processes that regulate one's thoughts and behaviors-have become a popular research topic lately and have been studied in many subdisciplines of psychological science. This article summarizes the EF research that our group has conducted to understand the nature of individual differences in EFs and their cognitive and biological underpinnings. In the context of a new theoretical framework that we have been developing (the unity/diversity framework), we describe four general conclusions that have emerged from our research. Specifically, we argue that individual differences in EFs, as measured with simple laboratory tasks, (1) show both unity and diversity (different EFs are correlated yet separable); (2) reflect substantial genetic contributions; (3) are related to various clinically and societally important phenomena; and (4) show some developmental stability.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Developmental Review
                Developmental Review
                Elsevier BV
                02732297
                March 2023
                March 2023
                : 67
                : 101063
                Article
                10.1016/j.dr.2022.101063
                99588f50-5918-4350-80b1-92c3db6a13d0
                © 2023

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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