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      Approximate Number System Task Performance: Associations With Domain-General and Domain-Specific Cognitive Skills in Young Children


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          We investigated the associations between young children’s domain-general executive functioning (EF) skills and domain-specific spontaneous focusing on number (SFON) tendencies and their performance on an approximate number system (ANS) task, paying particular attention to variations in associations across different trial types with either congruent or incongruent non-numerical continuous visual cues. We found that children’s EF skills were strongly related to their performance on ANS task trials in which continuous visual cues were incongruent with numerosity. Novel to the current study, we found that children’s SFON tendencies were specifically related to their performance on ANS task trials in which continuous visual cues were congruent with numerosity. Children’s performance on ANS task trials in which children can use both congruent numerical and non-numerical continuous visual cues to approximate large quantities may be related to their unprompted tendency to focus on number in their early environment when there are not salient distractors present. On the other hand, children’s performance on incongruent ANS trials may be less a function of number-specific knowledge but more of children’s domain-general ability to inhibit salient but conflicting or irrelevant stimuli. Importantly, these effects held even when accounting for global math achievement and children’s cardinality knowledge. Overall, results support the consideration of both domain-specific and domain-general cognitive factors in developmental models of children’s early ability to attend to numerosity and provide a possible means for reconciling previous conflicting research findings.

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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 Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS): a method of assessing executive function in children.

              The dimensional change card sort (DCCS) is an easily administered and widely used measure of executive function that is suitable for use with participants across a wide range of ages. In the standard version, children are required to sort a series of bivalent test cards, first according to one dimension (e.g., color), and then according to the other (e.g., shape). Most 3-year-olds perseverate during the post-switch phase, exhibiting a pattern of inflexibility similar to that seen in patients with prefrontal cortical damage. By 5 years of age, most children switch when instructed to do so. Performance on the DCCS provides an index of the development of executive function, and it is impaired in children with disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism. We describe the protocol for the standard version (duration = 5 min) and the more challenging border version (duration = 5 min), which may be used with children as old as 7 years.

                Author and article information

                J Numer Cogn
                Journal of Numerical Cognition
                J. Numer. Cogn.
                21 December 2018
                : 4
                : 3
                : 590-612
                [a ]Department of Psychology, University of Dayton , Dayton, OH, USA
                [b ]Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of New Hampshire , Durham, NH, USA
                [c ]Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame , Notre Dame, IN, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Department of Psychology, University of Dayton, SJ 319, 300 College Park Ave., Dayton, OH 45469, USA. mfuhs1@ 123456udayton.edu

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) 4.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 24 July 2017
                : 09 March 2018
                Self URI (journal-page): https://journals.psychopen.eu/
                Research Reports

                executive function,preschool mathematics,spontaneous focus on number,approximate number system


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