Pineda, David A; Merchan, Vilma
The aim of this article was to observe the correlation between executive function (EF) variables, and to determine the factor structure of the EF in young university students, as mathematical models for supporting its multidimensional structure. Participants were both males and females, aged 16 to 21 years (N = 100) and with normal Full Scale IQ selected in a randomized and representative approach in private universities of Medellín, Colombia. They were students of verbal, visual-spatial, and mathematical careers. An executive function assessment battery was applied and which included: Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST), Trail Making Test (TMT) A and B, verbal fluency test (FAS) by phonologic and semantic cues, and Stroop's conflict word/color test. The results were as follows: An orthogonal structure of five factors, which explained 74.9% of the variance, was found. Factor 1 was formed by WCST variables (organization and flexibility), and explained 25.8% of the variance. Errors from the Stroop reading and naming were assigned to factor 2, which explained 17.3% of the variance. Factor 3 was the time for executing Stroop's test, and explained 13.1% of the variance. Factor 4 was TMT A and B (10.1%). Factor 5 was verbal fluency (8.5% of the variance). In conclusion, executive function in young university students was conformed by five orthogonal cognitive dimensions.
Brown, Thomas E.; Reichel, Philipp C.; Quinlan, Donald M.
Objectives: To demonstrate that high IQ adults diagnosed with ADHD suffer from executive function (EF) impairments that: a) can be identified with a combination of standardized measures and self-report data; and b) occur more commonly in this group than in the general population. Method: 157 ADHD adults with IQ greater than or equal to 120 were…
Brady, Danielle I.; Saklofske, Donald H.; Schwean, Vicki L.; Montgomery, Janine M.; Thorne, Keoma J.; McCrimmon, Adam W.
Researchers have proposed that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized, at least in part, by executive function (EF) difficulties associated with the integrity of the frontal lobe. Given the paucity of research regarding EFs in young adults with high functioning ASD (HF-ASD), this research involves an examination of various indices of EF…
Rodríguez Villegas, Ana Lilia; Salvador Cruz, Judith
Middle-aged individuals encounter multiple environmental demands to which they must develop efficient solutions, thus making the study of executive functions and coping strategies within this age group important. This study evaluated the relationship between the planning and flexible organization of executive function with adaptive coping strategies (ACS) in adults aged 43 to 52 years old. The study included 104 participants, including 52 men and 52 women, with no history of neurological or psychiatric illnesses, diabetes, or hypertension. The participants engaged in the Tower of London(DX) (TOL(DX)) test, the Wisconsin Card-Sorting Test (WCST), and the Coping Strategies Inventory. A relationship was observed between the percentage of errors and conceptual-level responses (WCST) and the Problem Solving ACS. In a separate analysis performed on the men, a negative relationship was discovered between the WCST and the Emotional Expression ACS. In the female group, the dimensions of the WCST and the TOL(DX) were associated with the ACS Emotional Expression and Problem-Solving subscales and the maladaptive coping strategy Social Withdrawal subscale. The relationship between executive functioning and the ACS is multidimensional, complex, and different between men and women. This study adds a neuropsychological characterization of the relationship between executive functions and ACS with ecological validity. The study confirms a relationship between the flexible organization of executive function and the Problem-Solving ACS.
Madden, David J.; Costello, Matthew C.; Dennis, Nancy A.; Davis, Simon W.; Shepler, Anne M.; Spaniol, Julia; Bucur, Barbara; Cabeza, Roberto
Task switching requires executive control processes that undergo age-related decline. Previous neuroimaging studies have identified age-related differences in brain activation associated with global switching effects (dual-task blocks vs. single-task blocks), but age-related differences in activation during local switching effects (switch trials vs. repeat trials, within blocks) have not been investigated. This experiment used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), to examine adult age differences in task switching across adjacent trials (i.e., local task switching). During fMRI scanning, participants performed a cued, word categorization task. From interspersed cue-only trials, switch-related processing associated with the cue was estimated separately from the target. Activation associated with task switching, within a distributed frontoparietal network, differed for cue- and target-related processing. The magnitude of event-related activation for task switching was similar for younger adults (n = 20; 18-27 years) and older adults (n = 20; 60-85 years), although activation sustained throughout the on-tasks periods exhibited some age-related decline. Critically, the functional connectivity of switch-related regions, during cue processing, was higher for younger adults than for older adults, whereas functional connectivity during target processing was comparable across the age groups. Further, individual differences in cue-related functional connectivity shared a substantial portion of the age-related variability in the efficiency of target categorization response (drift rate). This age-related difference in functional connectivity, however, was independent of white matter integrity within task-relevant regions. These findings highlight the functional connectivity of frontoparietal activation as a potential source of age-related decline in executive control. PMID:20434565
Kapa, Leah Lynn
Prior research has established an executive function advantage among bilinguals as compared to monolingual peers. These non-linguistic cognitive advantages are largely assumed to result from the experience of managing two linguistic systems. However, the possibility remains that the relationship between bilingualism and executive function is…
Margolis, Amy; Donkervoort, Mireille; Kinsbourne, Marcel; Peterson, Bradley S.
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is relatively smaller, and the corpus callosum (CC) larger, in adults with Tourette syndrome (TS). The authors explored the possible roles of the PFC and the CC in mediating interhemispheric interference and coordination in TS adults. They measured performance on M. Kinsbourne and J. Cook's (1971) verbal–manual interference task and on the bimanual Purdue Pegboard in 38 adults with TS and 34 healthy adults. Compared with controls, TS subjects were impaired on the bimanual Purdue Pegboard. On the dual task, right-hand performance did not differ between groups, but the normally expected left-hand advantage (opposite hemisphere condition) was absent in TS subjects. In the control group only, better left-hand performance accompanied larger PFC volumes but not CC cross-sectional area. PFC dysfunction might have precluded executive control of interference in the TS group. PMID:16460223
Margolis, Amy; Donkervoort, Mireille; Kinsbourne, Marcel; Peterson, Bradley S
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is relatively smaller, and the corpus callosum (CC) larger, in adults with Tourette syndrome (TS). The authors explored the possible roles of the PFC and the CC in mediating interhemispheric interference and coordination in TS adults. They measured performance on M. Kinsbourne and J. Cook's (1971) verbal-manual interference task and on the bimanual Purdue Pegboard in 38 adults with TS and 34 healthy adults. Compared with controls, TS subjects were impaired on the bimanual Purdue Pegboard. On the dual task, right-hand performance did not differ between groups, but the normally expected left-hand advantage (opposite hemisphere condition) was absent in TS subjects. In the control group only, better left-hand performance accompanied larger PFC volumes but not CC cross-sectional area. PFC dysfunction might have precluded executive control of interference in the TS group.
Schroeder, Valarie M.; Kelley, Michelle L.
This study examined executive functioning in college aged adult children of alcoholics (ACOAs; n = 84) and non-ACOAs (188). We examined whether characteristics of the family environment and family responsibility in one's family of origin were associated with executive functioning above the contribution of ACOA status. ACOAs reported more…
Daly, Michael; McMinn, David; Allan, Julia L
Physically active lifestyles contribute to better executive function. However, it is unclear whether high levels of executive function lead people to be more active. This study uses a large sample and multi-wave data to identify whether a reciprocal association exists between physical activity and executive function. Participants were 4555 older adults tracked across four waves of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. In each wave executive function was assessed using a verbal fluency test and a letter cancelation task and participants reported their physical activity levels. Fixed effects regressions showed that changes in executive function corresponded with changes in physical activity. In longitudinal multilevel models low levels of physical activity led to subsequent declines in executive function. Importantly, poor executive function predicted reductions in physical activity over time. This association was found to be over 50% larger in magnitude than the contribution of physical activity to changes in executive function. This is the first study to identify evidence for a robust bidirectional link between executive function and physical activity in a large sample of older adults tracked over time.
Miller, Karen J
Executive functions are higher-order cognitive processes that continue to develop well into adulthood. They are critically important to behavioral self-control and task performance, and deficits can have serious effects on a student's functioning in many areas. Primary care pediatricians can play an important role by being aware of this evolving field of research, current assessment strategies, and by encouraging families, schools, and students to adopt a positive and problem-solving approach to improve executive functions.
Sequeira, Shwetha S.; Eggermont, Laura H. P.; Silliman, Rebecca A.; Bickmore, Timothy W.; Henault, Lori E.; Winter, Michael R.; Nelson, Kerrie; Paasche-Orlow, Michael K.
Limited health literacy is associated with worse executive function, but the association between limited health literacy and decline in executive function has not been established because of a lack of longitudinal studies. The authors aimed to examine this association by studying a prospective cohort in the setting of a randomized controlled trial to promote walking in older adults. Participants were community-dwelling older adults (65 years of age or older) who scored 2 or more on the Mini-Cog, without depression (score of less than 15 on the 9-item Patient Health Questionnaire), and who completed baseline and 12-month evaluations (n = 226). Health literacy was measured using the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults. Executive function measured at baseline and 12 months using the Trail Making Test (TMT), Controlled Oral Word Association Test, and Category Fluency. The associations between health literacy and 12-month decline in each test of executive function were modeled using multivariate linear regression. Health literacy was found to be limited in 37% of participants. Limited health literacy was associated with reduced performance on all 3 executive function tests. In fully adjusted models, limited health literacy was associated with greater 12-month decline in performance on the TMT than higher health literacy (p = .01). In conclusion, older adults with limited health literacy are at risk for more rapid decline in scores on the TMT, a measure of executive function. PMID:24093352
Brown, Thomas E.; Holdnack, James; Saylor, Keith; Adler, Lenard; Spencer, Thomas; Williams, David W.; Padival, Anoop K.; Schuh, Kory; Trzepacz, Paula T.; Kelsey, Douglas
Objective: To assess the effect of atomoxetine on ADHD-related executive functions over a 6-month period using the Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Scale (BADDS) for Adults, a normed, 40-item, self-report scale in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Method: In a randomized, double-blind clinical trial, adults with ADHD…
Bucur, Barbara; Madden, David J.
Previous research has established that the effects of chronically increased blood pressure (BP) on cognition interact with adult age, but the relevant cognitive processes are not well defined. In this cross sectional study, using a sample matched for age, years of education, and sex, 134 individuals with either normal BP (n = 71) or chronically high BP (n = 63) were categorized into younger (19-39 years), middle-aged (41-58 years), and older (60-79 years) groups. Using a between-subjects ANOVA, covarying for race and years of education, composite measures of executive function and perceptual speed both exhibited age-related decline. The executive function measure, however, was associated with a differential decline in high BP older adults. This result held even when the executive function scores were covaried for speed, demonstrating an independent, age-related effect of higher BP on executive function. PMID:20209419
Hayashi, Hiroyuki; Nakashima, Daiki; Matsuoka, Hiroka; Iwai, Midori; Nakamura, Shugo; Kubo, Ayumi; Tomiyama, Naoki
ABSTRACT Exercise, such as cardiovascular fitness training, has been shown to have utility in improving executive function but is difficult for older adults with low mobility to perform. Accordingly, there is interest in the development of regimens other than high mobility exercises for older adults with low mobility. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between sensory motor function of the upper limb and executive function in community-dwelling older adults. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 57 right-handed, independent, community-dwelling older adults. Sensory motor function of upper limb, including range of motion, strength, sensation, finger dexterity, and comprehensive hand function was measured in both hands. Executive function was assessed using the Delta Trail Making Test. Multiple regression analysis indicated the finger dexterity of the non-dominant hand as independently associated with executive function (β = –0.414, P < 0.001). The findings of the present study may facilitate the development of exercise regimens for improving executive function that are more suitable for older adults with limited physical fitness levels. As this was a cross-sectional study, further studies are required to validate the efficacy of non-dominant finger dexterity training for improving executive function in older adults. PMID:27578912
Hayashi, Hiroyuki; Nakashima, Daiki; Matsuoka, Hiroka; Iwai, Midori; Nakamura, Shugo; Kubo, Ayumi; Tomiyama, Naoki
Exercise, such as cardiovascular fitness training, has been shown to have utility in improving executive function but is difficult for older adults with low mobility to perform. Accordingly, there is interest in the development of regimens other than high mobility exercises for older adults with low mobility. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the association between sensory motor function of the upper limb and executive function in community-dwelling older adults. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 57 right-handed, independent, community-dwelling older adults. Sensory motor function of upper limb, including range of motion, strength, sensation, finger dexterity, and comprehensive hand function was measured in both hands. Executive function was assessed using the Delta Trail Making Test. Multiple regression analysis indicated the finger dexterity of the non-dominant hand as independently associated with executive function (β = -0.414, P < 0.001). The findings of the present study may facilitate the development of exercise regimens for improving executive function that are more suitable for older adults with limited physical fitness levels. As this was a cross-sectional study, further studies are required to validate the efficacy of non-dominant finger dexterity training for improving executive function in older adults.
Stavro, Gillian M; Ettenhofer, Mark L; Nigg, Joel T
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with impairments in occupational, social, and educational functioning in adults. This study examined relations of adaptive impairment to ADHD symptom domains (inattentive-disorganized and hyperactive-impulsive) and to deficits in executive functioning (EF) in 195 well-characterized adults (105 ADHD, 90 non-ADHD, between ages 18 and 37). Participants completed a battery of EF measures as well as assessments of adaptive functioning. Confirmatory factor analyses were used to validate latent factors for adaptive functioning and EF. In a measurement model, weaker EF was associated with poorer adaptive functioning (r = -.30). When multi-informant composite variables for current inattentive-disorganized and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms were included in the structural model, EF no longer predicted adaptive functioning. While both symptom composites were similarly related to EF (inattentive-disorganized r = .36; hyperactive-impulsive r = .29), inattentive-disorganized symptoms accounted for more variance in adaptive functioning (67.2% vs. 3.6%). Furthermore, for retrospectively reported childhood symptoms of ADHD, only the inattentive-disorganized symptom domain was related to EF or adaptive impairment. These results suggest that, in adults with ADHD, inattentive-disorganized symptoms may be the primary contributor to key aspects of poorer adaptive function and may be the behavioral path through which EF deficits lead to adaptive impairment.
Yuan, Peng; Raz, Naftali
Lesion studies link the prefrontal cortex (PFC) to executive functions. However, the evidence from in vivo investigations in healthy people is mixed, and there are no quantitative estimates of the association strength. To examine the relationship between PFC volume and cortical thickness with executive cognition in healthy adults, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies that assessed executive functions and PFC volume (31 samples,) and PFC thickness (10 samples) in vivo, N=3272 participants. We found that larger PFC volume and greater PFC thickness were associated with better executive performance. Stronger associations between executive functions and PFC volume were linked to greater variance in the sample age but was unrelated to the mean age of a sample. Strength of association between cognitive and neuroanatomical indices depended on the executive task used in the study. PFC volume correlated stronger with Wisconsin Card Sorting Test than with digit backwards span, Trail Making Test and verbal fluency. Significant effect size was observed in lateral and medial but not orbital PFC. The results support the “bigger is better” hypothesis of brain-behavior relation in healthy adults and suggest different neural correlates across the neuropsychological tests used to assess executive functions. PMID:24568942
Yuan, Peng; Raz, Naftali
Lesion studies link the prefrontal cortex (PFC) to executive functions. However, the evidence from in vivo investigations in healthy people is mixed, and there are no quantitative estimates of the association strength. To examine the relationship between PFC volume and cortical thickness with executive cognition in healthy adults, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies that assessed executive functions and PFC volume (31 samples,) and PFC thickness (10 samples) in vivo, N=3272 participants. We found that larger PFC volume and greater PFC thickness were associated with better executive performance. Stronger associations between executive functions and PFC volume were linked to greater variance in the sample age but was unrelated to the mean age of a sample. Strength of association between cognitive and neuroanatomical indices depended on the executive task used in the study. PFC volume correlated stronger with Wisconsin Card Sorting Test than with digit backwards span, Trail Making Test and verbal fluency. Significant effect size was observed in lateral and medial but not orbital PFC. The results support the "bigger is better" hypothesis of brain-behavior relation in healthy adults and suggest different neural correlates across the neuropsychological tests used to assess executive functions.
Sachse, Michael; Schlitt, Sabine; Hainz, Daniela; Ciaramidaro, Angela; Schirman, Shella; Walter, Henrik; Poustka, Fritz; Bolte, Sven; Freitag, Christine M.
This study broadly examines executive (EF) and visuo-motor function in 30 adolescent and adult individuals with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in comparison to 28 controls matched for age, gender, and IQ. ASD individuals showed impaired spatial working memory, whereas planning, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition were spared.…
Hauser-Cram, Penny; Woodman, Ashley Cynthia; Heyman, Miriam
The role of early childhood mastery motivation as a predictor of executive function 20 years later was examined in a sample of 39 individuals who had early diagnosed developmental disabilities. Multilevel modeling was used to analyze predictors of accuracy and response time on a Flanker task measuring executive function. As predicted, participants had relatively poorer performance on trials requiring inhibition and rule switches. Individuals with Down syndrome, in comparison to other participants, demonstrated longer response times. Young adults who had higher levels of persistence on mastery motivation tasks during early childhood displayed higher levels of accuracy and shorter response times on the executive function task. Possible mechanisms by which early mastery motivation relates to later executive function are discussed.
Jarrett, Matthew A
The current study examined attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety symptoms in relation to self-reported executive functioning deficits in emerging adults. College students (N = 421; ages 17-25; 73.1% female) completed self-reports of ADHD, anxiety, and executive functioning in a laboratory setting. Structural equation modeling analyses revealed that self-reported executive functioning deficits were significantly related to all 3 symptom domains. Executive functioning deficits were most strongly related to inattention followed by hyperactivity/impulsivity and anxiety. Analyses based on clinical groups revealed that groups with ADHD and comorbid anxiety showed greater deficits on self-regulation of emotion and self-organization/problem solving than those with ADHD only or anxiety only. Groups with ADHD showed greater deficits with self-motivation and self-restraint than those with anxiety only. All clinical groups differed from a control group on executive functioning deficits. Overall, anxiety symptoms appear to be associated with college students' self-reported executive functioning deficits above and beyond relationships with ADHD symptomatology. Further, those with ADHD and anxiety appear to show increased difficulties with self-regulation of emotion and self-organization/problem solving, a domain which appears to overlap substantially with working memory. Future studies should seek to replicate our findings with a clinical population, utilize both report-based and laboratory task measures of executive functioning, and integrate both state and trait anxiety indices into study designs. Finally, future studies should seek to determine how executive functioning deficits can be best ameliorated in emerging adults with ADHD and anxiety. (PsycINFO Database Record
Objective: Exposure to elevated levels of manganese (Mn) may be associated with tremor, motor and executive dysfunction (EF), clinically resembling Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD research has identified tremor-dominant (TD) and non-tremor dominant (NTD) profiles. NTD PD presents with bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural sway, and is associated with EF impairment with lower quality of life (QoL). Presence and impact of tremor, motor, and executive dysfunction profiles on health-related QoL and life satisfaction were examined in air-Mn exposed residents of two Ohio, USA towns. Participants and Methods: From two Ohio towns exposed to air-Mn, 186 residents (76 males) aged 30-75 years were administered measures of EF (Animal Naming, ACT, Rey-O Copy, Stroop Color-Word, and Trails B), motor and tremor symptoms (UPDRS), QoL (BRFSS), life satisfaction (SWLS), and positive symptom distress (SCL-90-R). Air-Mn exposure in the two towns was modeled with 10 years of air-monitoring data. Cluster analyses detected the presence of symptom profiles by grouping together residents with similar scores on these measures. Results: Overall, mean air-Mn concentration for the two towns was 0.53 µg/m3 (SD=.92). Two-step cluster analyses identified TD and NTD symptom profiles. Residents in the NTD group lacked EF impairment; EF impairment represented a separate profile. An unimpaired group also emerged. The NTD and EF impairment groups were qualitatively similar, with relatively lo
Holland, Carol A; Ridout, Nathan; Walford, Edward; Geraghty, Jennifer
The current study examined the role of executive function in retrieval of specific autobiographical memories in older adults with regard to control of emotion during retrieval. Older and younger adults retrieved memories of specific events in response to emotionally positive, negative and neutral word cues. Contributions of inhibitory and updating elements of executive function to variance in autobiographical specificity were assessed to determine processes involved in the commonly found age-related reduction in specificity. A negative relationship between age and specificity was only found in retrieval to neutral cues. Alternative explanations of this age preservation of specificity of emotional recall are explored, within the context of control of emotion in the self-memory system and preserved emotional processing and positivity effect in older adults. The pattern of relationships suggests updating, rather than inhibition, as the source of age-related reduction in specificity, but that emotional processing (particularly of positively valenced memories) is not influenced by age-related variance in executive control. The tendency of older adults to focus on positive material may thus act as a buffer against detrimental effects of reduced executive function capacity on autobiographical retrieval, representing a possible target for interventions to improve specificity of autobiographical memory retrieval in older adults.
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. PMID:23020641
Cannizzaro, Michael S.; Coelho, Carl A.
This study examined the narrative discourse production and executive function (EF) abilities of 46 neuro-typical adults (18-98 years old). Two questions were addressed: Is the analysis of narrative structure sensitive to changes associated with aging? & What is the relationship between measures of narrative structure and EF? Narratives were…
Sharma, Shivani; Babu, Nandita
Studies reveal inconclusive evidence of the relationship between executive function and creativity. Further, there is a dearth of studies investigating creativity in older adults in the Indian context. Three tests--namely, Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (Figural), the Stroop Test, and Mental Balance (PGI memory scale)--were administered on a…
Limbers, Christine A; Young, Danielle
Executive functions play a critical role in regulating eating behaviors and have been shown to be associated with overeating which over time can result in overweight and obesity. There has been a paucity of research examining the associations among healthy dietary behaviors and executive functions utilizing behavioral rating scales of executive functioning. The objective of the present cross-sectional study was to evaluate the associations among fruit and vegetable consumption, intake of foods high in saturated fat, and executive functions using the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning-Adult Version. A total of 240 university students completed the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning-Adult Version, the 26-Item Eating Attitudes Test, and the Diet subscale of the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities Questionnaire. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted with two separate models in which fruit and vegetable consumption and saturated fat intake were the outcomes. Demographic variables, body mass index, and eating styles were controlled for in the analysis. Better initiation skills were associated with greater intake of fruits and vegetables in the last 7 days (standardized beta = -0.17; p < 0.05). Stronger inhibitory control was associated with less consumption of high fat foods in the last 7 days (standardized beta = 0.20; p < 0.05) in the multiple linear regression analysis. Executive functions that predict fruit and vegetable consumption are distinct from those that predict avoidance of foods high in saturated fat. Future research should investigate whether continued skill enhancement in initiation and inhibition following standard behavioral interventions improves long-term maintenance of weight loss.
Zimmerman, David L.; Ownsworth, Tamara; O'Donovan, Analise; Roberts, Jacqueline; Gullo, Matthew J.
Individuals with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) display diverse deficits in social, cognitive and behavioral functioning. To date, there has been mixed findings on the profile of executive function deficits for high-functioning adults (IQ > 70) with ASD. A conceptual distinction is commonly made between “cold” and “hot” executive functions. Cold executive functions refer to mechanistic higher-order cognitive operations (e.g., working memory), whereas hot executive functions entail cognitive abilities supported by emotional awareness and social perception (e.g., social cognition). This study aimed to determine the independence of deficits in hot and cold executive functions for high-functioning adults with ASD. Forty-two adults with ASD (64% male, aged 18–66 years) and 40 age and gender matched controls were administered The Awareness of Social Inference Test (TASIT; emotion recognition and social inference), Letter Number Sequencing (working memory) and Hayling Sentence Completion Test (response initiation and suppression). Between-group analyses identified that the ASD group performed significantly worse than matched controls on all measures of cold and hot executive functions (d = 0.54 − 1.5). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that the ASD sample performed more poorly on emotion recognition and social inference tasks than matched controls after controlling for cold executive functions and employment status. The findings also indicated that the ability to recognize emotions and make social inferences was supported by working memory and response initiation and suppression processes. Overall, this study supports the distinction between hot and cold executive function impairments for adults with ASD. Moreover, it advances understanding of higher-order impairments underlying social interaction difficulties for this population which, in turn, may assist with diagnosis and inform intervention programs. PMID:26903836
Stenfors, Cecilia U. D.; Hanson, Linda M.; Theorell, Töres; Osika, Walter S.
Objective: Executive cognitive functioning is essential in private and working life and is sensitive to stress and aging. Cardiovascular (CV) health factors are related to cognitive decline and dementia, but there is relatively few studies of the role of CV autonomic regulation, a key component in stress responses and risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and executive processes. An emerging pattern of results from previous studies suggest that different executive processes may be differentially associated with CV autonomic regulation. The aim was thus to study the associations between multiple measures of CV autonomic regulation and measures of different executive cognitive processes. Method: Participants were 119 healthy working adults (79% women), from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health. Electrocardiogram was sampled for analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) measures, including the Standard Deviation of NN, here heart beats (SDNN), root of the mean squares of successive differences (RMSSD), high frequency (HF) power band from spectral analyses, and QT variability index (QTVI), a measure of myocardial repolarization patterns. Executive cognitive functioning was measured by seven neuropsychological tests. The relationships between CV autonomic regulation measures and executive cognitive measures were tested with bivariate and partial correlational analyses, controlling for demographic variables, and mental health symptoms. Results: Higher SDNN and RMSSD and lower QTVI were significantly associated with better performance on cognitive tests tapping inhibition, updating, shifting, and psychomotor speed. After adjustments for demographic factors however (age being the greatest confounder), only QTVI was clearly associated with these executive tests. No such associations were seen for working memory capacity. Conclusion: Poorer CV autonomic regulation in terms of lower SDNN and RMSSD and higher QTVI was associated with poorer executive
Stenfors, Cecilia U D; Hanson, Linda M; Theorell, Töres; Osika, Walter S
Objective: Executive cognitive functioning is essential in private and working life and is sensitive to stress and aging. Cardiovascular (CV) health factors are related to cognitive decline and dementia, but there is relatively few studies of the role of CV autonomic regulation, a key component in stress responses and risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and executive processes. An emerging pattern of results from previous studies suggest that different executive processes may be differentially associated with CV autonomic regulation. The aim was thus to study the associations between multiple measures of CV autonomic regulation and measures of different executive cognitive processes. Method: Participants were 119 healthy working adults (79% women), from the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health. Electrocardiogram was sampled for analysis of heart rate variability (HRV) measures, including the Standard Deviation of NN, here heart beats (SDNN), root of the mean squares of successive differences (RMSSD), high frequency (HF) power band from spectral analyses, and QT variability index (QTVI), a measure of myocardial repolarization patterns. Executive cognitive functioning was measured by seven neuropsychological tests. The relationships between CV autonomic regulation measures and executive cognitive measures were tested with bivariate and partial correlational analyses, controlling for demographic variables, and mental health symptoms. Results: Higher SDNN and RMSSD and lower QTVI were significantly associated with better performance on cognitive tests tapping inhibition, updating, shifting, and psychomotor speed. After adjustments for demographic factors however (age being the greatest confounder), only QTVI was clearly associated with these executive tests. No such associations were seen for working memory capacity. Conclusion: Poorer CV autonomic regulation in terms of lower SDNN and RMSSD and higher QTVI was associated with poorer executive
Hummer, Tom A; Kronenberger, William G; Wang, Yang; Anderson, Caitlin C; Mathews, Vincent P
Prior research has indicated that self-reported violent media exposure is associated with poorer performance on some neuropsychological tests in adolescents. This study aimed to examine the relationship of executive functioning to violent television viewing in healthy young adult males and examine how brain structure is associated with media exposure measures. Sixty-five healthy adult males (ages 18-29) with minimal video game experience estimated their television viewing habits over the past year and, during the subsequent week, recorded television viewing time and characteristics in a daily media diary. Participants then completed a battery of neuropsychological laboratory tests quantifying executive functions and underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Aggregate measures of executive functioning were not associated with measures of overall television viewing (any content type) during the past week or year. However, the amount of television viewing of violent content only, as indicated by both past-year and daily diary measures, was associated with poorer scores on an aggregate score of inhibition, interference control and attention, with no relationship to a composite working memory score. In addition, violent television exposure, as measured with daily media diaries, was associated with reduced frontoparietal white matter volume. Future longitudinal work is necessary to resolve whether individuals with poor executive function and slower white matter growth are more drawn to violent programming, or if extensive media violence exposure modifies cognitive control mechanisms mediated primarily via prefrontal cortex. Impaired inhibitory mechanisms may be related to reported increases in aggression with higher media violence exposure.
Lavoie, Marc E.; Thibault, Geneviève; Stip, Emmanuel; O’Connor, Kieron P.
Introduction The main aim of the current study was to assess whether adults with either Tourette syndrome (TS) or chronic tic disorder (CTD) show a similar neuropsychological profile. Neuropsychological investigations of tic disorders have been mostly focused on children, mainly because symptoms peak during that period. Little has been carried out on adults, even if a significant proportion of the tic population experience moderate or marked levels of tic frequency throughout adulthood. Still, it is not clear whether neuropsychological performances are affected to the same degree in adults with TS and CTD. Method Patients diagnosed with TS were compared with a CTD group and a control group free of psychiatric or neurological diagnosis, comparable in terms of age, gender, and intelligence. All participants completed two tests of memory (Rey-Osterreich Complex Figure, California Verbal Learning Test), one test of motor dexterity (Purdue pegboard), and four tasks of executive function (Stroop, Color Trail Test, Tower of London, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test). Results TS and CTD patients showed nonverbal memory impairments while verbal memory and executive functioning remained intact. Results also indicated that nonverbal memory performances decrease as a function of tic severity. Conclusion Both TS and CTD patients present a specific nonverbal deficit whilst the executive and motor functions are relatively intact. The two tic disorder subgroups might be part of a spectrum implicating mainly nonverbal memory. PMID:17453897
Corti, Emily J; Johnson, Andrew R; Riddle, Hayley; Gasson, Natalie; Kane, Robert; Loftus, Andrea M
The present study examined the relationship between executive function (EF) and fine motor control in young and older healthy adults. Participants completed 3 measures of executive function; a spatial working memory (SWM) task, the Stockings of Cambridge task (planning), and the Intra-Dimensional Extra-Dimensional Set-Shift task (set-shifting). Fine motor control was assessed using 3 subtests of the Purdue Pegboard (unimanual, bimanual, sequencing). For the younger adults, there were no significant correlations between measures of EF and fine motor control. For the older adults, all EFs significantly correlated with all measures of fine motor control. Three separate regressions examined whether planning, SWM and set-shifting independently predicted unimanual, bimanual, and sequencing scores for the older adults. Planning was the primary predictor of performance on all three Purdue subtests. A multiple-groups mediation model examined whether planning predicted fine motor control scores independent of participants' age, suggesting that preservation of planning ability may support fine motor control in older adults. Planning remained a significant predictor of unimanual performance in the older age group, but not bimanual or sequencing performance. The findings are discussed in terms of compensation theory, whereby planning is a key compensatory resource for fine motor control in older adults.
Sharfi, Kineret; Rosenblum, Sara
Purpose This study compared the executive functions, organization in time and perceived quality of life (QoL) of 55 adults with learning disabilities (LD) with those of 55 matched controls (mean age 30 years). Furthermore, relationships and predictive relationships between these variables among the group with LD were examined. Methods All participants completed the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF-A), the Time Organization and Participation (TOPS, A-C) and the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL) questionnaires. Chi-square tests, independent t-tests and MANOVA were used to examine group differences in each of the subscales scores and ratings of each instrument. Pearson correlations and regression predictive models were used to examine the relationships between the variables in the group with LD. Results Adults with LD had significantly poorer executive functions (BRIEF-A), deficient organization in time abilities (TOPS A-B), accompanied with negative emotional response (TOPS- C), and lower perceived QoL (physical, psychological, social and environmental) in comparison to adults without LD. Regression analysis revealed that Initiation (BRIEF-A) significantly predicted approximately 15% of the participants' organization in time abilities (TOPS A, B scores) beyond group membership. Furthermore, initiation, emotional control (BRIEF-A subscales) and emotional responses following unsuccessful organization of time (TOPS-C) together accounted for 39% of the variance of psychological QoL beyond the contribution of group membership. Conclusions Deficits in initiation and emotional executive functions as well as organization in time abilities and emotional responses to impairments in organizing time affect the QoL of adults with LD and thus should be considered in further research as well as in clinical applications. PMID:27959913
Puente, Antonio Nicolas; Lindbergh, Cutter A; Miller, L Stephen
It has been noted in the literature that cognitive reserve (CR) predicts future functional ability (FA), but the association between CR and current FA is rather limited. This investigation aimed to explicate this relationship, and hypothesized it would be mediated by executive functioning (EF). To best understand the relationship between CR and FA, we recruited and tested independent community-dwelling older adults (OAs). Bivariate correlations and hierarchical regressions were completed to determine the association between CR and FA. Both individual CR measures and a composite CR score were used. Mediation analyses were completed to examine our hypothesis that EF would mediate the CR and FA relationship. All measures of CR were positively related to and predictive of FA. Although the highest zero-order correlation across the independent CR proxies was between income and FA (r = .417), education accounted for the greatest amount of variance in FA, 8.3% after controlling for age and Mini-Mental State Examination performance. Furthermore, the CR composite had a higher correlation (r = .447) and accounted for more variance than any of the independent proxies. Complete mediation was found between a CR composite and FA via an internally consistent D-KEFS composite score (Cronbach's α = .795). This suggests that as CR increases so does EF, which in turn improves FA. Thus, future investigations could determine the effect on FA in OAs by improving EF.
Wyckoff, Emily P; Evans, Brittney C; Manasse, Stephanie M; Butryn, Meghan L; Forman, Evan M
Obesity is a significant public health issue, and is associated with poor diet. Evidence suggests that eating behavior is related to individual differences in executive functioning. Poor executive functioning is associated with poorer diet (few fruits and vegetables and high saturated fat) in normal weight samples; however, the relationship between these specific dietary behaviors and executive functioning have not been investigated in adults with obesity. The current study examined the association between executive functioning and intake of saturated fat, fruits, and vegetables in an overweight/obese sample using behavioral measures of executive function and dietary recall. One-hundred-ninety overweight and obese adults completed neuropsychological assessments measuring intelligence, planning ability, and inhibitory control followed by three dietary recall assessments within a month prior to beginning a behavioral weight loss treatment program. Inhibitory control and two of the three indices of planning each independently significantly predicted fruit and vegetable consumption such that those with better inhibition and planning ability consumed more fruits and vegetables. No relationship was found between executive functioning and saturated fat intake. Results increase understanding of how executive functioning influences eating behavior in overweight and obese adults, and suggest the importance of including executive functioning training components in dietary interventions for those with obesity. Further research is needed to determine causality as diet and executive functioning may bidirectionally influence each other.
Chuang, Yi-Fang; Eldreth, Dana; Erickson, Kirk I; Varma, Vijay; Harris, Gregory; Fried, Linda P; Rebok, George W; Tanner, Elizabeth K; Carlson, Michelle C
Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia are associated with cognitive impairment and risk of dementia in older adults. However, the mechanisms linking them are not clear. This study aims to investigate the association between aggregate CV risk, assessed by the Framingham general cardiovascular risk profile, and functional brain activation in a group of community-dwelling older adults. Sixty participants (mean age: 64.6 years) from the Brain Health Study, a nested study of the Baltimore Experience Corps Trial, underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging using the Flanker task. We found that participants with higher CV risk had greater task-related activation in the left inferior parietal region, and this increased activation was associated with poorer task performance. Our results provide insights into the neural systems underlying the relationship between CV risk and executive function. Increased activation of the inferior parietal region may offer a pathway through which CV risk increases risk for cognitive impairment.
Zamroziewicz, Marta K.; Zwilling, Chris E.; Barbey, Aron K.
Objectives: This study examines the neural mechanisms that mediate the relationship between phosphatidylcholine and executive functions in cognitively intact older adults. We hypothesized that higher plasma levels of phosphatidylcholine are associated with better performance on a particular component of the executive functions, namely cognitive flexibility, and that this relationship is mediated by gray matter structure of regions within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) that have been implicated in cognitive flexibility. Methods: We examined 72 cognitively intact adults between the ages of 65 and 75 in an observational, cross-sectional study to investigate the relationship between blood biomarkers of phosphatidylcholine, tests of cognitive flexibility (measured by the Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System Trail Making Test), and gray matter structure of regions within the PFC. A three-step mediation analysis was implemented using multivariate linear regressions and we controlled for age, sex, education, income, depression status, and body mass index. Results: The mediation analysis revealed that gray matter thickness of one region within the PFC, the left inferior PFC (Brodmann’s Area 45), mediates the relationship between phosphatidylcholine blood biomarkers and cognitive flexibility. Conclusion: These results suggest that particular nutrients may slow or prevent age-related cognitive decline by influencing specific structures within the brain. This report demonstrates a novel structural mediation between plasma phosphatidylcholine levels and cognitive flexibility. Future work should examine the potential mechanisms underlying this mediation, including phosphatidylcholine-dependent cell membrane integrity of the inferior PFC and phosphatidylcholine-dependent cholinergic projections to the inferior PFC. PMID:27733825
de Almondes, Katie M.; Costa, Mônica V.; Malloy-Diniz, Leandro F.; Diniz, Breno S.
Aim: In this manuscript, we report data on the association between executive functions screened by Frontal Assessment Battery, Five Digit Test and Digit Span with self-reported depressive symptoms and sleep complaints in non-demented older adults. Methods: A total sample of 95 non-demented older adults performed Geriatric Depression Scale short version, Frontal Assessment Battery, Five Digit Test, Digit Span, and clinical interview. We split participants in groups stratified by age according to: young-old (60–69 years of age), old-old (70–79 years), and oldest-old (>80 years) and compared these three groups on the sociodemographic characteristics and executive functions performance. We carried out Poisson regression with robust error variance to verify sleep complaints and depression effects on executive functions performance. Gender, age, years of formal education, use of antidepressants and of benzodiazepines were considered as confounding variables, taking into account executive functions as dependent and sleep complaints and depression as independent variables. Results: Controlling the effect of age, gender, years of formal education, use of benzodiazepines and of antidepressants there was a significant influence of depression in motor programming, inhibitory control, and working memory. Individuals without depression show motor programming scores 68.4% higher, inhibitory control scores 3 times greater and working memory scores also 3 times greater than individuals without depression. There was a significant influence of sleep complaints in phonemic fluency, motor programming, inhibitory control, and working memory. Individuals without sleep complaints show phonemic fluency scores 2 times greater than, motor programming scores 85.9% higher, inhibitory control scores 3 times greater and working memory scores also 3 times greater than individuals without sleep complaints. Conclusions: Sleep complaints are associated with phonemic fluency, motor programming
de Almondes, Katie M; Costa, Mônica V; Malloy-Diniz, Leandro F; Diniz, Breno S
Aim: In this manuscript, we report data on the association between executive functions screened by Frontal Assessment Battery, Five Digit Test and Digit Span with self-reported depressive symptoms and sleep complaints in non-demented older adults. Methods: A total sample of 95 non-demented older adults performed Geriatric Depression Scale short version, Frontal Assessment Battery, Five Digit Test, Digit Span, and clinical interview. We split participants in groups stratified by age according to: young-old (60-69 years of age), old-old (70-79 years), and oldest-old (>80 years) and compared these three groups on the sociodemographic characteristics and executive functions performance. We carried out Poisson regression with robust error variance to verify sleep complaints and depression effects on executive functions performance. Gender, age, years of formal education, use of antidepressants and of benzodiazepines were considered as confounding variables, taking into account executive functions as dependent and sleep complaints and depression as independent variables. Results: Controlling the effect of age, gender, years of formal education, use of benzodiazepines and of antidepressants there was a significant influence of depression in motor programming, inhibitory control, and working memory. Individuals without depression show motor programming scores 68.4% higher, inhibitory control scores 3 times greater and working memory scores also 3 times greater than individuals without depression. There was a significant influence of sleep complaints in phonemic fluency, motor programming, inhibitory control, and working memory. Individuals without sleep complaints show phonemic fluency scores 2 times greater than, motor programming scores 85.9% higher, inhibitory control scores 3 times greater and working memory scores also 3 times greater than individuals without sleep complaints. Conclusions: Sleep complaints are associated with phonemic fluency, motor programming
Gavett, Brandon E; Zhao, Rui; John, Samantha E; Bussell, Cara A; Roberts, Jennifer R; Yue, Chuan
Phishing is the spoofing of Internet websites or emails aimed at tricking users into entering sensitive information, with such goals as financial or identity theft. The current study sought to determine whether age is associated with increased susceptibility to phishing and whether tests of executive functioning can predict phishing susceptibility. A total of 193 cognitively intact participants, 91 younger adults and 102 older adults, were primarily recruited through a Psychology department undergraduate subject pool and a gerontology research registry, respectively. The Executive Functions Module from the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery and the Iowa Gambling Task were the primary cognitive predictors of reported phishing suspiciousness. Other predictors included age group (older vs. younger), sex, education, race, ethnicity, prior knowledge of phishing, prior susceptibility to phishing, and whether or not browsing behaviors were reportedly different in the laboratory setting versus at home. A logistic regression, which accounted for a 22.7% reduction in error variance compared to the null model and predicted phishing suspiciousness with 73.1% (95% CI [66.0, 80.3]) accuracy, revealed three statistically significant predictors: the main effect of education (b = 0.58, SE = 0.27) and the interactions of age group with prior awareness of phishing (b = 2.31, SE = 1.12) and performance on the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery Mazes test (b = 0.16, SE = 0.07). Whether or not older adults reported being suspicious of the phishing attacks used in this study was partially explained by educational history and prior phishing knowledge. This suggests that simple educational interventions may be effective in reducing phishing vulnerability. Although one test of executive functioning was found useful for identifying those at risk of phishing susceptibility, four tests were not found to be useful; these results speak to the need for more ecologically valid tools in
Zhao, Rui; John, Samantha E.; Bussell, Cara A.; Roberts, Jennifer R.; Yue, Chuan
Phishing is the spoofing of Internet websites or emails aimed at tricking users into entering sensitive information, with such goals as financial or identity theft. The current study sought to determine whether age is associated with increased susceptibility to phishing and whether tests of executive functioning can predict phishing susceptibility. A total of 193 cognitively intact participants, 91 younger adults and 102 older adults, were primarily recruited through a Psychology department undergraduate subject pool and a gerontology research registry, respectively. The Executive Functions Module from the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery and the Iowa Gambling Task were the primary cognitive predictors of reported phishing suspiciousness. Other predictors included age group (older vs. younger), sex, education, race, ethnicity, prior knowledge of phishing, prior susceptibility to phishing, and whether or not browsing behaviors were reportedly different in the laboratory setting versus at home. A logistic regression, which accounted for a 22.7% reduction in error variance compared to the null model and predicted phishing suspiciousness with 73.1% (95% CI [66.0, 80.3]) accuracy, revealed three statistically significant predictors: the main effect of education (b = 0.58, SE = 0.27) and the interactions of age group with prior awareness of phishing (b = 2.31, SE = 1.12) and performance on the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery Mazes test (b = 0.16, SE = 0.07). Whether or not older adults reported being suspicious of the phishing attacks used in this study was partially explained by educational history and prior phishing knowledge. This suggests that simple educational interventions may be effective in reducing phishing vulnerability. Although one test of executive functioning was found useful for identifying those at risk of phishing susceptibility, four tests were not found to be useful; these results speak to the need for more ecologically valid tools in
Bilder, Deborah A.; Noel, J. Kay; Baker, Erin R.; Irish, William; Chen, Yinpu; Merilainen, Markus J.; Prasad, Suyash; Winslow, Barbara J.
ABSTRACT This systematic review and meta-analysis (MA) investigates the impact of elevated blood phenylalanine (Phe) on neuropsychiatric symptoms in adults with phenylketonuria (PKU). The meta-analysis of PKU is challenging because high-quality evidence is lacking due to the limited number of affected individuals and few placebo-controlled, double-blind studies of adults with high and low blood Phe. Neuropsychiatric symptoms associated with PKU exceed general population estimates for inattention, hyperactivity, depression, and anxiety. High Phe is associated with an increased prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms and executive functioning deficits whereas low Phe is associated with improved neurological performance. Findings support lifelong maintenance of low blood Phe. PMID:27805419
Zelazo, Philip David; Anderson, Jacob E.; Richler, Jennifer; Wallner-Allen, Kathleen; Beaumont, Jennifer L.; Conway, Kevin P.; Gershon, Richard; Weintraub, Sandra
This study describes psychometric properties of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (NIHTB-CB) executive function measures in an adult sample. The NIHTB-CB was designed for use in epidemiologic studies and clinical trials for ages 3 to 85. A total of 268 self-described healthy adults were recruited at four university-based sites, using stratified sampling guidelines to target demographic variability for age (20–85 years), gender, education and ethnicity. The NIHTB-CB contains two computer-based instruments assessing executive function: the Dimensional Change Card Sort (a measure of cognitive flexibility) and a flanker task (a measure of inhibitory control and selective attention). Participants completed the NIHTB-CB, corresponding gold standard convergent and discriminant measures, and sociodemographic questionnaires. A subset of participants (N = 89) was retested 7 to 21 days later. Results reveal excellent sensitivity to age-related changes during adulthood, excellent test–retest reliability, and adequate to good convergent and discriminant validity. The NIH Toolbox EF measures can be used effectively in epidemiologic and clinical studies. PMID:24960301
Wilckens, Kristine A.; Woo, Sarah G.; Kirk, Afton R.; Erickson, Kirk I.; Wheeler, Mark E.
The importance of sleep for cognition in young adults is well established, but the role of habitual sleep behavior in cognition across the adult lifespan remains unknown. We examined the relationship between sleep continuity and total sleep time assessed with a sleep detection device and cognitive performance using a battery of tasks in young (n = 59, mean age = 23.05) and older (n = 53, mean age = 62.68) adults. Across age groups, higher sleep continuity was associated with better cognitive performance. In the younger group, higher sleep continuity was associated with better working memory and inhibitory control. In the older group, higher sleep continuity was associated with better inhibitory control, memory recall, and verbal fluency. Very short and very long total sleep time was associated with poorer working memory and verbal fluency, specifically in the younger group. Total sleep time was not associated with cognitive performance in any domains for the older group. These findings reveal that sleep continuity is important for executive function in both young and older adults, but total sleep time may be more important for cognition in young adults. PMID:25244484
Kurella Tamura, Manjula; Vittinghoff, Eric; Hsu, Chi-Yuan; Tam, Karman; Seliger, Stephen L; Sozio, Stephen; Fischer, Michael; Chen, Jing; Lustigova, Eva; Strauss, Louise; Deo, Rajat; Go, Alan S; Yaffe, Kristine
The association of dialysis initiation with changes in cognitive function among patients with advanced chronic kidney disease is poorly described. To better define this, we enrolled participants with advanced chronic kidney disease from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort in a prospective study of cognitive function. Eligible participants had a glomerular filtration rate of 20 ml/min/1.73m(2) or less, or dialysis initiation within the past two years. We evaluated cognitive function by a validated telephone battery at regular intervals over two years and analyzed test scores as z scores. Of 212 participants, 123 did not transition to dialysis during follow-up, 37 transitioned to dialysis after baseline, and 52 transitioned to dialysis prior to baseline. In adjusted analyses, the transition to dialysis was associated with a significant loss of executive function, but no significant changes in global cognition or memory. The estimated net difference in cognitive z scores at two years for participants who transitioned to dialysis during follow-up compared to participants who did not transition to dialysis was -0.01 (95% confidence interval -0.13, 0.11) for global cognition, -0.24 (-0.51, 0.03) for memory, and -0.33 (-0.60, -0.07) for executive function. Thus, among adults with advanced chronic kidney disease, dialysis initiation was associated with loss of executive function with no change in other aspects of cognition. Larger studies are needed to evaluate cognition during dialysis initiation.
Executive functions are thinking skills that assist with reasoning, planning, problem solving, and managing one's life. The brain areas that underlie these skills are interconnected with and influenced by activity in many different brain areas, some of which are associated with emotion and stress. One consequence of the stress-specific connections is that executive functions, which help us to organize our thinking, tend to be disrupted when stimulation is too high and we are stressed out, or too low when we are bored and lethargic. Given their central role in reasoning and also in managing stress and emotion, scientists have conducted studies, primarily with adults, to determine whether executive functions can be improved by training. By and large, results have shown that they can be, in part through computer-based videogame-like activities. Evidence of wider, more general benefits from such computer-based training, however, is mixed. Accordingly, scientists have reasoned that training will have wider benefits if it is implemented early, with very young children as the neural circuitry of executive functions is developing, and that it will be most effective if embedded in children's everyday activities. Evidence produced by this research, however, is also mixed. In sum, much remains to be learned about executive function training. Without question, however, continued research on this important topic will yield valuable information about cognitive development. WIREs Cogn Sci 2017, 8:e1403. doi: 10.1002/wcs.1403 For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.
Duggan, Emily C; Garcia-Barrera, Mauricio A; Müller, Ulrich
Ecologically valid indicators of executive functions are designed to capture dysfunction not easily measured in a lab setting. Here, we present two studies on the development and validity analyses of a behavioral screener for executive functions among young adults. In Study 1, we derived a four-factor (problem solving, attentional control, behavioral control, and emotional control) behavioral screener using a sample of 765 individuals. We used invariance analyses to evaluate the screener's measurement reliability across sex. In Study 2, we replicated the screener derivation analyses using an independent sample of 197 undergraduates. To further examine the screener's validity, we evaluated it against a well-known executive functions rating scale. The four-factor model was supported in both samples and analyses provided support for this screener as a valid and reliable measure for everyday executive functions among young adults.
Meier, Irene B.; Gu, Yian; Guzman, Vanessa A.; Wiegman, Anne F.; Schupf, Nicole; Manly, Jennifer J.; Luchsinger, José A.; Viswanathan, Anand; Martinez-Ramirez, Sergi; Greenberg, Steven M.; Mayeux, Richard; Brickman, Adam M.
Background Normal aging is associated with decline in cognitive abilities, particularly in the domains of psychomotor speed and executive functioning. However, “aging,” per se, is not a cause of cognitive decline but rather a variable that likely captures multiple accumulating biological changes over time that collectively affect mental abilities. Recent work has focused on the role of cerebrovascular disease as one of the biological changes. In the current study, we examined whether lobar microbleeds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal voids due to hemosiderin deposits secondary to cerebral amyloid angiopathy, are associated with cognitive decline in normal aging. Previous studies that reported a relationship between the presence of lobar microbleeds and decreased cognitive abilities have been primarily cross-sectional. Here, we used a retrospective longitudinal design to examine whether the presence of lobar microbleeds is associated with the rate of cognitive decline among non-demented older adults. Methods Participants came from an ongoing longitudinal community-based aging study, in which subjects are evaluated at 18-24 month intervals and received a full medical, neurological, and neuropsychological examination at each of the follow-up visits. Gradient echo MRI scans were available on 197 non-demented participants (mean age: 84.15+/-5.02 years). Microbleeds were rated visually on horizontal view and divided into subcortical (basal ganglia, cerebellum) and lobar (frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital lobe) regions, and confirmed with coronal and sagittal view to exclude artifacts. Cognition was assessed with a neuropsychological battery, providing summary scores for memory, language, executive, and visuospatial abilities calculated through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Using general estimating equations (GEE), we compared cognition cross-sectionally between individuals with 2 or more (n=11) and fewer than 2 (n=186) lobar microbleeds
Jiang, Xiong; Barasky, Rebecca; Olsen, Halli; Riesenhuber, Maximilian; Magnus, Manya
The increased prevalence of HIV among adults >50 years underscores the importance of improving our understanding of mechanisms causing HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Identifying novel and noninvasive diagnostic predictors of HAND prior to clinical manifestation is critical to ultimately identifying means of preventing progression to symptomatic HAND. Here, using a task-switching paradigm, in which subjects were cued (unpredictably) to perform a face-gender or a word-semantic task on superimposed face and word images, we examined the behavioral and neural profile of impaired cognitive control in older HIV + adults (N = 14, 9 HIV+). Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral data were acquired while subjects were performing the face-gender or word-semantic task. We found that, despite comparable performance in standard neuropsychology tests that are designed to probe executive deficits, HIV-infected participants were significantly slower than uninfected controls in adapting to change in task demand, and the behavioral impairments can be quantitatively related to difference in fMRI signal at the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Due to the limited sample size of this hypothesis-generating study, we should take caution with these findings and future studies with a large and better matched sample size are needed. However, these rather novel findings in this study have a few important implications: first, the prevalence of cognitive impairments in HIV+ older adults might be even higher than previously proposed; second, ACC (in particularly its dorsal region) might be one of the key regions underlying cognitive impairments (in particularly executive functions) in HIV; and third, it might be beneficial to adopt paradigms developed and validated in cognitive neuroscience to study HAND, as these techniques might be more sensitive to some aspects of HIV-associated neurocognitive impairments than standard neuropsychology tests.
de Frias, Cindy M.; Dixon, Roger A.
The authors first examined the concurrent moderating role of lifestyle engagement on the relation between cognitive status (cognitively elite, cognitively normal [CN], and cognitively impaired [CI]) and executive functioning (EF) in older adults. Second, the authors examined whether baseline participation in lifestyle activities predicted differential 4.5-year stabilities and transitions in cognitive status. Participants (initial N = 501; 53–90 years) were from the Victoria Longitudinal Study. EF was represented by a 1-factor structure. Lifestyle activities were measured in multiple domains of engagement (e.g., cognitive, physical, and social). Two-wave status stability groups included sustained normal aging, transitional early impairment, and chronic impairment. Hierarchical regressions showed that baseline participation in social activities moderated cognitive status differences in EF. CI adults with high (but not low) social engagement performed equivalently to CN adults on EF. Longitudinally, logistic regressions showed that engagement in physical activities was a significant predictor of stability of cognitive status. CI adults who were more engaged in physical activities were more likely to improve in their cognitive status over time than their more sedentary peers. Participation in cognitive activities was a significant predictor of maintenance in a higher cognitive status group. Given that lifestyle engagement plays a detectable role in healthy, normal, and impaired neuropsychological aging, further research in activity-related associations and interventions is recommended. PMID:24323561
Lei, Yu; Li, Yan-Jiang; Guo, Qi-Hao; Liu, Xing-Dang; Liu, Zhuang; Ni, Wei; Su, Jia-Bin; Yang, Heng; Jiang, Han-Qiang; Xu, Bin; Gu, Yu-Xiang; Mao, Ying
OBJECTIVE Chronic frontal hemodynamic disturbances are associated with executive dysfunction in adult patients with moyamoya disease (MMD). However, the impact of surgical revascularization on executive dysfunction and its underlying mechanism remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to examine the postoperative radiological correlates of cognitive improvement and thereby explore its underlying mechanism. METHODS Fourteen patients who met the inclusion criteria were identified at Huashan Hospital, were operated on, and were successfully followed up for 6 months. Postoperative changes in cortical perfusion and regional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) were examined by SPECT and resting-state functional MRI, respectively. Executive function was evaluated by 2 tests (Trail Making Test Part B and the summation of executive subtests of Memory and Executive Screening [MES-EX]). Follow-up neuropsychological outcomes were then correlated with radiological changes to identify nodes functioning as leading contributors to postoperative executive outcomes. RESULTS All patients underwent successful unilateral bypass procedures, with some operations performed on the left side and some on the right side. At the 6-month follow-up, the baseline and follow-up test scores for the different sides did not differ significantly. The group with good collaterals (Matsushima Grade A, 9 patients) exhibited significantly increased postoperative perfusion (change in [△] hemodynamics) in bilateral frontal (left, p = 0.009; right, p = 0.003) and left parietal lobe (p = 0.014). The Spearman's correlation test suggested that only the right frontal lobe exhibited significant positive postoperative radiological correlates with cognitive performance (△MES-EX vs △hemodynamics, r = 0.620, p = 0.018; △MES-EX vs △ALFF, r = 0.676, p = 0.008; △hemodynamics vs △ALFF, r = 0.547, p = 0.043). Subsequent regional ALFF analysis revealed that the right dorsolateral prefrontal
Mowszowski, L; Lampit, A; Walton, C C; Naismith, S L
Given projected increases in dementia prevalence, emphasising earlier stages of cognitive impairment in older adults enables targeted early intervention strategies. Strategy-based cognitive training (SCT) is a remedial approach involving guidance and practice in compensatory techniques to improve cognition, including memory and attention. It may also be effective for improving executive functions (EF) integral to everyday tasks. This review systematically evaluates SCT effects on EF in older adults without dementia. Following PRISMA guidelines, we reviewed eligible trials according to pre-defined criteria, differentiating SCT from other cognitive interventions and stipulating total EF-focused intervention time, study design and target population (healthy older adults or mild cognitive decline). We then evaluated trials according to design, methodological quality and outcomes. Unfortunately, with too few studies in mild cognitive impairment, we refocused our review only on healthy older adults. Thirteen studies with 4120 participants in total were included, primarily targeting inductive reasoning. Despite heterogeneous study designs and SCT programs, 11/13 trials reported significant EF improvements, generally of moderate effect size (Hedges' g > 0.3). Four studies reported sustained benefits from one month to 10 years. There was some evidence of far transfer. We conclude that there is promising evidence for SCT as a targeted intervention for EF in healthy older adults and preliminary evidence for maintaining effects over time. Fewer trials have investigated far transfer (e.g. improved everyday functioning) or capacity to delay/prevent dementia, which are most relevant to clinical utility. Limitations include the inability to calculate effect sizes for four studies and absence of statistical meta-analysis.
Wilens, Timothy E.; Martelon, MaryKate; Fried, Ronna; Petty, Carter; Bateman, Clancey; Biederman, Joseph
Objective There is increasing interest regarding the risk and overlap of executive function deficits (EFDs) in stable cigarette smoking and substance use disorders (SUD). Therefore, we examined whether earlier EFD was a risk factor for subsequent cigarette smoking and SUD and further explored the relationship between EFD and SUD. Method We assessed 435 subjects at the five-year follow-up (232 cases of ADHD; mean age ± SD: 15.4 ± 3.43 and 203 controls: 16.3 ± 3.42 years) and again four to five years later as part of a prospective family study of ADHD youth. Individuals were assessed by structured psychiatric interview for psychopathology and SUD. EFD was categorically defined in an individual that had at least 2 out of 6 abnormal neuropsychological tests of executive functioning. Results At the final follow-up period, ADHD was found to be a significant predictor of stable cigarette smoking (p<0.01) and SUD into late adolescence and young adult years (p<0.01). However, EFDs were not associated with an increase in subsequent substance use outcomes. New onset stable cigarette smoking, but not SUD, was associated with subsequent EFD (p<0.01). Conclusions Our results do not support the hypothesis that EFDs predicts later stable cigarette smoking or SUD in children with ADHD growing up. However, stable cigarette smoking is associated with subsequent EFD. PMID:21241951
Hauser-Cram, Penny; Woodman, Ashley Cynthia; Heyman, Miriam
The role of early childhood mastery motivation as a predictor of executive function 20 years later was examined in a sample of 39 individuals who had early diagnosed developmental disabilities. Multilevel modeling was used to analyze predictors of accuracy and response time on a Flanker task measuring executive function. As predicted, participants…
Rau, Holly K; Suchy, Yana; Butner, Jonathan E; Williams, Paula G
Two competing theoretical models of individual differences in executive functioning (EF) were examined: the Prefrontal Convexity Model and the Hemispheric Asymmetry Model. Neurologically healthy individuals (N = 315; mean age 20.8) completed a modified switching task (MST) and the Attention Network Test (ANT) in a single testing session. Data analysis was conducted in two phases. In the first phase (model identification), latent profile analysis was applied to MST variables measuring the abilities to form, switch, and maintain mental sets under conditions designed to tax left or right hemisphere resources. In the second phase (model validation), participant clusters obtained from the first phase were compared on the ANT. The Model Identification phase yielded a 3-profile solution consistent with the Hemispheric Asymmetry Model. Profile 1 (N = 203) was characterized by average EF performances. Profile 2 (N = 43) revealed a set maintenance weakness under non-verbal conditions. Profile 3 (N = 38) demonstrated weaknesses in cognitive flexibility combined with poor executive performances under verbal conditions. The Model Validation phase confirmed group differences. Profile 1 demonstrated average EF performances. Profile 2 demonstrated distractibility and decreased alertness, consistent with a right hemisphere weakness. Profile 3 demonstrated cognitive rigidity in the absence of external cues, consistent with a left hemisphere weakness. Individual differences in EF appear to follow a Hemispheric Asymmetry Model of EF among neurologically healthy adults. Investigating the relationship between hemispherically mediated executive functions and other individual difference factors known to confer health risk or resilience could inform numerous disciplines within the field of psychology.
Venkatraman, Vijay K.; Aizenstein, Howard; Guralnik, Jack; Newman, Anne B.; Glynn, Nancy W.; Taylor, Christopher; Studenski, Stephanie; Launer, Lenore; Pahor, Marco; Williamson, Jeff; Rosano, Caterina
Context Older adults responding to executive control function (ECF) tasks show greater brain activation on functional MRI (fMRI). It is not clear whether greater fMRI activation indicates a strategy to compensate for underlying brain structural abnormalities while maintaining higher performance. Objective To identify the patterns of fMRI activation in relationship with ECF performance and with brain structural abnormalities. Design Cross-sectional analysis. Main variables of interest: fMRI activation, accuracy while performing an ECF task (Digit Symbol Substitution Test), volume of white matter hyperintensities and of total brain atrophy. Setting Cohort of community-dwelling older adults. Participants Data were obtained on 25 older adults (20 women, 81 years mean age). Outcome Measure Accuracy (number of correct response / total number of responses) while performing the Digit Symbol Substitution Test. Results Greater accuracy was significantly associated with greater peak fMRI activation, from ECF regions, including left middle frontal gyrus and right posterior parietal cortex. Greater WMH was associated with lower activation within accuracy-related regions. The interaction of accuracy by white matter hyperintensities volume was significant within the left posterior parietal region. Specifically, the correlation of white matter hyperintensities volume with fMRI activation varied as a function of accuracy and it was positive for greater accuracy. Associations with brain atrophy were not significant. Conclusions Recruitment of additional areas and overall greater brain activation in older adults is associated with higher performance. Posterior parietal activation may be particularly important to maintain higher accuracy in the presence of underlying brain connectivity structural abnormalities. PMID:19922803
Fortin, Alexandra; Caza, Nicole
Medial temporal lobe (MTL)/memory and frontal lobe (FL)/executive functions indexes are used to measure changes related to cognitive aging. These indexes are based on composite scores of neuropsychological tests validated in English-speaking populations, and their use in aging research is growing in popularity. This study aimed at validating the MTL/memory and FL/executive functions indexes in French-speaking adults. Ninety-eight healthy participants (32 young and 66 older adults) were tested on eight neuropsychological tests, three associated with MTL/memory functions and five associated with FL/executive functions. Factor analysis indicated that residual scores independent of age and associated with MTL/memory functions grouped under one factor, and residual scores associated with FL/executive functions grouped under another factor. Bootstrapping analysis with 1,000 resamples confirmed stability for seven neuropsychological tests. This study provides the first validation of the MTL/memory and FL/executive functions composite scores in French-speaking adults, which may be used to assess cognitive changes in aging research.
Kawagoe, Toshikazu; Onoda, Keiichi; Yamaguchi, Shuhei
Aging is associated with deterioration in a number of cognitive functions. Previous reports have demonstrated the beneficial effect of physical fitness on cognitive function, especially executive function (EF). The graph theoretical approach models the brain as a complex network represented graphically as nodes and edges. We analyzed several measures of EF, an index of physical fitness, and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from healthy older volunteers to elucidate the associations among EF, cardiorespiratory fitness, and brain network properties. The topological neural properties were significantly related to the level of EF and/or physical fitness. Global efficiency, which represents how well the whole brain is integrated, was positively related, whereas local efficiency, which represents how well the brain is functionally segregated, was negatively related, to the level of EF and fitness. The associations among EF, physical fitness and topological resting-state functional network property appear related to compensation and dedifferentiation in older age. A mediation analysis showed that high-fit older adults gain higher global efficiency of the brain at the expense of lower local efficiency. The results suggest that physical fitness may be beneficial in maintaining EF in healthy aging by enhancing the efficiency of the global brain network. PMID:28054664
Shields, Grant S; Moons, Wesley G; Slavich, George M
Executive function is a neuropsychological construct that enables controlled cognitive processing, which has been hypothesized to enhance individuals' resilience to stress. However, little empirical work has directly examined how executive function under different conditions mitigates the negative effects of stress exposure on health. To address this issue, we recruited 110 healthy young adults and assessed their recent life stress exposure, executive function in either a stressful or non-stressful context, and current health complaints. Based on existing research, we hypothesized that individuals exhibiting better executive function following a laboratory-based stressor (but not a control task) would demonstrate weaker associations between recent stress exposure and health because they perceived recent life stressors as being less severe. Consistent with this hypothesis, better executive function during acute stress, but not in the absence of stress, was associated with an attenuated link between participants' recent life stress exposure and their current health complaints. Moreover, this attenuating effect was mediated by lesser perceptions of stressor severity. Based on these data, we conclude that better executive function under stress is associated with fewer health complaints and that these effects may occur by reducing individuals' perceptions of stressor severity. The data thus suggest the possibility of reducing stress-related health problems by enhancing executive function.
Moynihan, Jan A.; Chapman, Benjamin P.; Klorman, Rafael; Krasner, Michael S.; Duberstein, Paul R.; Brown, Kirk Warren; Talbot, Nancy L.
Background/Aims Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has enhanced cognition, positive emotion, and immunity in younger and middle-aged samples; its benefits are less well known for older persons. Here we report on a randomized controlled trial of MBSR for older adults and its effects on executive function, left frontal asymmetry of the EEG alpha band, and antibody response. Methods Older adults (n = 201) were randomized to MBSR or waiting list control. The outcome measures were: the Trail Making Test part B/A (Trails B/A) ratio, a measure of executive function; changes in left frontal alpha asymmetry, an indicator of positive emotions or approach motivation; depression, mindfulness, and perceived stress scores, and the immunoglobulin G response to a protein antigen, a measure of adaptive immunity. Results MBSR participants had a lower Trails B/A ratio immediately after intervention (p <0.05); reduced shift to rightward frontal alpha activation after intervention (p = 0.03); higher baseline antibody levels after intervention (p <0.01), but lower antibody responses 24 weeks after antigen challenge (p <0.04), and improved mindfulness after intervention (p = 0.023) and at 21 weeks of follow-up (p = 0.006). Conclusions MBSR produced small but significant changes in executive function, mindfulness, and sustained left frontal alpha asymmetry. The antibody findings at follow-up were unexpected. Further study of the effects of MBSR on immune function should assess changes in antibody responses in comparison to T-cell-mediated effector functions, which decline as a function of age. PMID:23774986
Georgiou, George K; Das, J P
The purpose of this study was two-fold: (a) to examine what component of executive functions (EF) - planning and working memory - predicts reading comprehension in young adults (Study 1), and (b) to examine if less skilled comprehenders experience deficits in the EF components (Study 2). In Study 1, we assessed 178 university students (120 females; mean age=21.82 years) on planning (Planned Connections, Planned Codes, and Planned Patterns), working memory (Listening Span, Digit Span Backward, and Digit Memory), and reading comprehension (Nelson-Denny Reading Test). The results of structural equation modeling indicated that only planning was a significant predictor of reading comprehension. In Study 2, we assessed 30 university students with a specific reading comprehension deficit (19 females; mean age=23.01 years) and 30 controls (18 females; mean age=22.77 years) on planning (Planned Connections and Crack the Code) and working memory (Listening Span and Digit Span Backward). The results showed that less skilled comprehenders performed significantly poorer than controls only in planning. Taken together, the findings of both studies suggest that planning is the preeminent component of EF that is driving its relationship with reading comprehension in young adults.
McAlister, Courtney; Schmitter-Edgecombe, Maureen
Everyday multitasking and its cognitive correlates were investigated in an older adult population using a naturalistic task, the Day Out Task. Fifty older adults and 50 younger adults prioritized, organized, initiated, and completed a number of subtasks in a campus apartment to prepare for a day out (e.g., gather ingredients for a recipe, collect change for a bus ride). Participants also completed tests assessing cognitive constructs important in multitasking. Compared to younger adults, the older adults took longer to complete the everyday tasks and more poorly sequenced the subtasks. Although they initiated, completed, and interweaved a similar number of subtasks, the older adults demonstrated poorer task quality and accuracy, completing more subtasks inefficiently. For the older adults, reduced prospective memory abilities were predictive of poorer task sequencing, while executive processes and prospective memory were predictive of inefficiently completed subtasks. The findings suggest that executive dysfunction and prospective memory difficulties may contribute to the age-related decline of everyday multitasking abilities in healthy older adults.
Anderson-Hanley, Cay; Arciero, Paul J.; Barcelos, Nicole; Nimon, Joseph; Rocha, Tracey; Thurin, Marisa; Maloney, Molly
The rise in dementia and the evidence of cognitive benefits of exercise for the older adult population together make salient the research into variables affecting cognitive benefit and exercise behavior. One promising avenue for increasing exercise participation has been the introduction of exergaming, a type of exercise that works in combination with virtual reality to enhance both the exercise experience and health outcomes. Past research has revealed that executive function (EF) was related to greater use of self-regulatory strategies, which in turn was related to greater adherence to exercise following an intervention (McAuley et al., 2011). Best et al. (2014) found improvement in EF related to adherence to exercise post- intervention. Anderson-Hanley et al. (2012) found that for older adults aerobic exergaming yielded greater cognitive benefit than traditional exercise alone; however, questions remain as to the possible impact of greater cognitive benefit and other factors on participants’ involvement in exercise following the end of an intervention. The current study presents follow-up data exploring the relationship between EF, self-regulation, and exercise behavior in the post-intervention (naturalistic) period. Herein, it was predicted that higher EF at the start of the naturalistic window, would predict subsequent exercise with an exergame. Contrary to expectations, results suggest that those with poorer EF are likely to exergame more frequently. The results of this study contradict previous literature, but suggest an interesting relationship between EF, self-regulation, and exercise behaviors when exergaming is employed, particularly with older adults with some cognitive decline. We hypothesize that other factors may be at work, perhaps expectation of cognitive benefit might act as a unique motivator. PMID:25538608
Martoni, Riccardo Maria; Salgari, Giulia; Galimberti, Elisa; Cavallini, Maria Cristina; O'Neill, Joseph
Visuospatial working memory (VSWM) is the ability of the brain to transiently store and manipulate visual information. VSWM deficiencies have been reported in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but not consistently, perhaps due to variability in task design and clinical patient factors. To explore this variability, this study assessed effects of the design factors task difficulty and executive organizational strategy and of the clinical factors gender, OCD symptom dimension, and duration of illness on VSWM in OCD. The CANTAB spatial working memory, spatial recognition memory, delayed matching to sample, and stop signal tasks were administered to 42 adult OCD patients and 42 age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Aims were to detect a possible VSWM deficit in the OCD sample, to evaluate influences of the above task and patient factors, to determine the specificity of the deficit to the visuospatial subdomain, and to examine effects of sustained attention as potential neurocognitive confound. We confirmed previous findings of a VSWM deficit in OCD that was more severe for greater memory load (task difficulty) and that was affected by task strategy (executive function). We failed to demonstrate significant deficits in neighboring or confounding neurocognitive subdomains (visual object recognition or visual object short-term memory, sustained attention). Notably, the VSWM deficit was only significant for female patients, adding to evidence for sexual dimorphism in OCD. Again as in prior work, more severe OCD symptoms in the symmetry dimension (but no other dimension) significantly negatively impacted VSWM. Duration of illness had no significant effect on VSWM. VSWM deficits in OCD appear more severe with higher task load and may be mediated through poor task strategy. Such deficits may present mainly in female patients and in (male and female) patients with symmetry symptoms.
Barkley, Russell A.; Murphy, Kevin R.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with deficits in executive functioning (EF). ADHD in adults is also associated with impairments in major life activities, particularly occupational functioning. We investigated the extent to which EF deficits assessed by both tests and self-ratings contributed to the degree of impairment in 11 measures involving self-reported occupational problems, employer reported workplace adjustment, and clinician rated occupational adjustment. Three groups of adults were recruited as a function of their severity of ADHD: ADHD diagnosis (n = 146), clinical controls self-referring for ADHD but not diagnosed with it (n = 97), and community controls (n = 109). Groups were combined and regression analyses revealed that self-ratings of EF were significantly predictive of impairments in all 11 measures of occupational adjustment. Although several tests of EF also did so, they contributed substantially less than did the EF ratings, particularly when analyzed jointly with the ratings. We conclude that EF deficits contribute to the impairments in occupational functioning that occur in conjunction with adult ADHD. Ratings of EF in daily life contribute more to such impairments than do EF tests, perhaps because, as we hypothesize, each assesses a different level in the hierarchical organization of EF as a meta-construct. PMID:20197297
Roiland, R.A.; Lin, F.; Phelan, C.; Chapman, B.P.
Objectives Both pre-frailty and frailty are linked with impaired executive function (EF) but the mechanism underlying this relationship is not known. Williams and colleagues’ model posits EF affects health outcomes via stress regulation. This model was utlized to test indicators of stress regulation as mediators of the relationship between EF and pre-frailty in older adults. Design Cross-sectional. Setting Academic general clinical research centers. Participants 690 community-dwelling older adults ≥ 50 years of age. Measurements Pre-frailty was measured using a modified form of the Fried Frailty measure. EF was assessed via telephone-based neurocognitive assessments. Indicators of stress regulation included: stress exposure (measured by perceived stress), reactivity and recovery (measured by heart rate) and restoration (measured by serum interleukin-6 and sleep quality). Results 396 individuals were classified as non-frail, 277 as pre-frail, and 17 as frail. Pre-frail and non-frail individuals were included in data analyses. Compared to non-frail individuals, prefrail were older and exhibited poorer EF, higher levels of stress exposure and poorer stress restoration. Poorer EF was associated with greater stress exposure, less stress reactivity, longer stress recovery and poorer stress restoration. The total effect of the relationship between EF and pre-frailty was significant with significant indirect effects supporting stress exposure and restoration as mediators of the relationship. Conclusion Stress exposure and restoration appear to mediate the relationship between EF and pre-frailty. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the direction of causality and determine whether stress regulation processes are appropriate targets for interventions aiming to prevent declines in EF and the development of pre-frailty. PMID:26412287
Planning ahead and organizational abilities in time and space are ingredients of high-level cognitive functions labeled as ‘Executive Functions’ (EF) required for daily activities such as writing or home management. EF deficits are considered a possible underlying brain mechanism involved in Developmental Coordination Disorders (DCD). The aim: of the study was to compare the handwriting process measures and the planning and organizational abilities in space and time of students with DCD with those of matched controls and to find whether handwriting measures can predict daily planning and organizational abilities among students with DCD. Method: 30 students diagnosed with DCD, between the ages of 24–41, and 30 age- and gender-matched controls participated in the study. They filled out the Handwriting Proficiency Screening Questionnaire (HPSQ) and the Adult Developmental Co-ordination Disorders Checklist (ADC). Furthermore, they copied a paragraph on a digitizer that is part of a computerized system Computerised Penmanship Evaluation Toll (ComPET). Results: Significant group differences were found for the HPSQ subscales scores as well as for the temporal and spatial measures of the paragraph copy task. Significant group differences were also found for the planning and organizational abilities in space and time as reflected through the ADC subscales. Significant medium correlations were found in both groups between the mean HPSQ time subscale and the ADC-B subscale mean score (r = 0.50/0.58, p < 0.05). Series of regression analyses indicated that two handwriting performance measures (mean HPSQ time subscale and mean stroke duration) predicted 19% of planning and organizational abilities as reflected through daily functions (ADC-B) [F(3, 54) = 38.37, β = 0.40, p < 0.0001]. Conclusion: The results support previous evidence about EF deficits as an underlying brain mechanism involved in motor coordination disorders, their significance as related to theoretical
Wallace, Gregory L.; Kenworthy, Lauren; Pugliese, Cara E.; Popal, Haroon S.; White, Emily I.; Brodsky, Emily; Martin, Alex
Although executive functioning (EF) difficulties are well documented among children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), little is known about real-world measures of EF among adults with ASD. Therefore, this study examined parent-reported real-world EF problems among 35 adults with ASD without intellectual disability and their…
Davids, Roeliena C.; Groen, Yvonne; Berg, Ina J.; Tucha, Oliver M.; van Balkom, Ingrid D.
Although deficits in Executive Functioning (EF) are reported frequently in young individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), they remain relatively unexplored later in life (>50 years). We studied objective performance on EF measures (Tower of London, Zoo map, phonetic/semantic fluency) as well as subjective complaints (self- and proxy…
Wilens, Timothy E.; Martelon, MaryKate; Fried, Ronna; Petty, Carter; Bateman, Clancey; Biederman, Joseph
Objective: There is increasing interest regarding the risk and overlap of executive function deficits (EFDs) in stable cigarette smoking and substance use disorders (SUD). Therefore, we examined whether earlier EFD was a risk factor for subsequent cigarette smoking and SUD and further explored the relationship between EFD and SUD. Method: We…
Carriedo, Nuria; Corral, Antonio; Montoro, Pedro R.; Herrero, Laura; Rucián, Mercedes
Updating information in working memory (WM) is a critical executive function responsible both for continuously replacing outdated information with new relevant data and to suppress or inhibit content that is no longer relevant according to task demands. The goal of the present research is twofold: First, we aimed to study updating development in…
Carriedo, Nuria; Corral, Antonio; Montoro, Pedro R; Herrero, Laura; Rucián, Mercedes
Updating information in working memory (WM) is a critical executive function responsible both for continuously replacing outdated information with new relevant data and to suppress or inhibit content that is no longer relevant according to task demands. The goal of the present research is twofold: First, we aimed to study updating development in 548 participants of 4 different age ranges--7-, 11-, and 15-year-olds and young adults--using the updating task devised by R. De Beni and P. Palladino (2004), which allows differentiating maintenance and inhibition processes. Second, we attempted to determine the relation between these processes across development as well as the differentiation among different types of inhibition processes tapped by this task. Results showed that there was an improvement of memory performance with age along with an upgrading of inhibitory efficiency. However, whereas in memory performance, a progressive increase was observed until the age of 15 years followed by stabilization, in inhibition, a continuous progressive increase was observed until young adulthood. Importantly, results showed that development of the different inhibitory mechanisms does not progress equally. All the groups committed more errors related to inefficient suppression mechanisms in WM than errors related to control of long-term memory interference. Principal component analysis showed that updating implies different subprocesses: active maintenance/suppression of information in WM and control of proactive interference. Developmental trajectories showed that the maintenance/suppression of information in the WM component continues to develop far beyond adolescence but that proactive interference control is responsible for variations in updating across development.
Matsuda, Kensuke; Ikeda, Shou; Mitsutake, Tsubasa; Nakahara, Masami; Nagai, Yoshiharu; Ikeda, Takuro; Horikawa, Etsuo
[Purpose] Prevention of dementia requires early intervention against it. To ensure that early interventions are effective it is crucial to study the cognitive functions related to dementia in young adulthood. Moreover, it is needed not only to verify the cognitive function test but also to elucidate the actual brain activity and the influence of related factors on the brain activity. To investigate the factors influencing cognitive function among young adults and examine the differences in executive function by physical activity level. [Subjects and Methods] Forty healthy university students (mean age, 20.4 years) were classified into two groups by cognitive function score (HIGH and LOW), determined according to Trail Making Test performance and Stroop task processing time. We then assessed what factors were related to cognitive function by logistic regression analysis. Executive function was determined by brain blood flow using near-infrared spectroscopy during the Stroop task, and was then compared by physical activity levels (determined according to number of steps per hour). [Results] Full-scale Intelligence Quotient according to the 3rd Wechsler Adult Intelligent Scale and number of steps per hour influenced cognitive function score, with odds ratios of 1.104 and 1.012, respectively. Oxy-hemoglobin concentrations in areas related to executive function during the Stroop task were significantly higher among those in the high physical activity group than among those in the low physical activity group. [Conclusion] The study revealed that Full-scale Intelligence Quotient and a number of steps per hour are factors associated with the cognitive functions in young adulthood. In addition, activity in execution function related area was found to be significantly higher in the high physical activity group than in the low physical activity group, suggesting the importance of physical activity for enhancing young adulthood cognitive functions. PMID:28356633
Matsuda, Kensuke; Ikeda, Shou; Mitsutake, Tsubasa; Nakahara, Masami; Nagai, Yoshiharu; Ikeda, Takuro; Horikawa, Etsuo
[Purpose] Prevention of dementia requires early intervention against it. To ensure that early interventions are effective it is crucial to study the cognitive functions related to dementia in young adulthood. Moreover, it is needed not only to verify the cognitive function test but also to elucidate the actual brain activity and the influence of related factors on the brain activity. To investigate the factors influencing cognitive function among young adults and examine the differences in executive function by physical activity level. [Subjects and Methods] Forty healthy university students (mean age, 20.4 years) were classified into two groups by cognitive function score (HIGH and LOW), determined according to Trail Making Test performance and Stroop task processing time. We then assessed what factors were related to cognitive function by logistic regression analysis. Executive function was determined by brain blood flow using near-infrared spectroscopy during the Stroop task, and was then compared by physical activity levels (determined according to number of steps per hour). [Results] Full-scale Intelligence Quotient according to the 3rd Wechsler Adult Intelligent Scale and number of steps per hour influenced cognitive function score, with odds ratios of 1.104 and 1.012, respectively. Oxy-hemoglobin concentrations in areas related to executive function during the Stroop task were significantly higher among those in the high physical activity group than among those in the low physical activity group. [Conclusion] The study revealed that Full-scale Intelligence Quotient and a number of steps per hour are factors associated with the cognitive functions in young adulthood. In addition, activity in execution function related area was found to be significantly higher in the high physical activity group than in the low physical activity group, suggesting the importance of physical activity for enhancing young adulthood cognitive functions.
Sullivan, Jeremy R; Riccio, Cynthia A; Castillo, Christine L
Executive function refers to a variety of behaviors and abilities related to planning and strategy use, as well as to the maintenance of attention and behavior in the pursuit of some goal. Many instruments have been designed for the purpose of assessing executive function, and the tower tasks represent a specific group of measures commonly used in the assessment of this construct. This review and meta-analysis examines the theoretical and psychometric basis for the use of the various tower tasks in neuropsychological assessment of adults. Neuroimaging and electrophysiological evidence are consistent with theoretical hypotheses of frontal involvement (e.g., planning and strategy use) in tower task performance. Further, adults with various disorders of presumed neurological basis demonstrate impaired performance on tower tasks. Implications for the use of tower tasks in practice and research are discussed.
Cognitive decline is known to reduce reliability of subjective pain reports. Although facial expressions of pain are generally considered to be less affected by this decline, empirical support for this assumption is sparse. The present study therefore examined how cognitive functioning relates to facial expressions of pain and whether cognition acts as a moderator between nociceptive intensity and facial reactivity. Facial and subjective responses of 51 elderly participants to mechanical stimulation at three intensities levels (50 kPa, 200 kPa, and 400 kPa) were assessed. Moreover, participants completed a neuropsychological examination of executive functioning (planning, cognitive inhibition, and working memory), episodic memory, and psychomotor speed. The results showed that executive functioning has a unique relationship with facial reactivity at low pain intensity levels (200 kPa). Moreover, cognitive inhibition (but not other executive functions) moderated the effect of pressure intensity on facial pain expressions, suggesting that the relationship between pressure intensity and facial reactivity was less pronounced in participants with high levels of cognitive inhibition. A similar interaction effect was found for cognitive inhibition and subjective pain report. Consequently, caution is needed when interpreting facial (as well as subjective) pain responses in individuals with a high level of cognitive inhibition. PMID:27274618
Boucard, Geoffroy K; Albinet, Cédric T; Bugaiska, Aurélia; Bouquet, Cédric A; Clarys, David; Audiffren, Michel
The purposes of this study were to determine the impact of physical activity on three different executive functions (shifting, inhibition, and updating) and to examine whether cardiovascular fitness was a good mediator of the positive link(s) between these variables. Sixty-three young adults (18-28 years), 30 young-old adults (60-70 years) and 30 old adults (71-81 years) were divided into physically active and sedentary groups according to physical activity level (assessed from an accelerometer and the Historical Leisure Activity Questionnaire). Cardiovascular fitness was assessed by VO2max from the Rockport 1 mile. Each executive function was assessed through three different experimental tasks. ANCOVAs revealed that the effect of physical activity level was specific to the old adults and significant for inhibition, but not for updating and shifting. Mediation analysis showed that this positive effect in the old adults group was mediated by cardiovascular fitness level. The present findings highlight the positive linkages among physical activity, cardiovascular fitness, and inhibition in aging.
Watt, Jennifer C.; Grove, George A.; Wollam, Mariegold E.; Uyar, Fatma; Mataro, Maria; Cohen, Neal J.; Howard, Darlene V.; Howard, James H.; Erickson, Kirk I.
Accumulating evidence suggests that physical activity improves explicit memory and executive cognitive functioning at the extreme ends of the lifespan (i.e., in older adults and children). However, it is unknown whether these associations hold for younger adults who are considered to be in their cognitive prime, or for implicit cognitive functions that do not depend on motor sequencing. Here we report the results of a study in which we examine the relationship between objectively measured physical activity and (1) explicit relational memory, (2) executive control, and (3) implicit probabilistic sequence learning in a sample of healthy, college-aged adults. The main finding was that physical activity was positively associated with explicit relational memory and executive control (replicating previous research), but negatively associated with implicit learning, particularly in females. These results raise the intriguing possibility that physical activity upregulates some cognitive processes, but downregulates others. Possible implications of this pattern of results for physical health and health habits are discussed. PMID:27584059
Van Vleet, Thomas M; DeGutis, Joseph M; Merzenich, Michael M; Simpson, Gregory V; Zomet, Ativ; Dabit, Sawsan
Efficient self-regulation of alertness declines with age exacerbating normal declines in performance across multiple cognitive domains, including learning and skill acquisition. Previous cognitive intervention studies have shown that it is possible to enhance alertness in patients with acquired brain injury and marked attention impairments, and that this benefit generalizes to improvements in more global cognitive functions. In the current preliminary studies, we sought to test whether this approach, that targets both tonic (over a period of minutes) and phasic (moment-to-moment) alertness, can improve key executive functioning declines in older adults, and enhance the rate of skill acquisition. The results of both Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrate that, compared to active control (AC) training, alertness training significantly enhanced performance in several validated executive function measures. In Experiment 2, alertness training significantly improved skill acquisition compared to AC training in a well-characterized speed of processing (SOP) task, with the largest benefits shown in the most challenging SOP blocks. The results of the current study suggest that targeting intrinsic alertness through cognitive training provides a novel approach to improve executive functions in older adults and may be a useful adjunct treatment to enhance benefits gained in other clinically validated treatments.
Tian, Qu; Resnick, Susan M; Ferrucci, Luigi; Studenski, Stephanie A
Higher intra-individual lap time variation (LTV) of the 400-m walk is cross-sectionally associated with poorer attention in older adults. Whether higher LTV predicts decline in executive function and whether the relationship is accounted for by slower walking remain unanswered. The main objective of this study was to examine the relationship between baseline LTV and longitudinal change in executive function. We used data from 347 participants aged 60 years and older (50.7% female) from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Longitudinal assessments of executive function were conducted between 2007 and 2013, including attention (Trails A, Digit Span Forward Test), cognitive flexibility and set shifting (Trails B, Delta TMT: Trials B minus Trials A), visuoperceptual speed (Digit Symbol Substitution Test), and working memory (Digit Span Backward Test). LTV and mean lap time (MLT) were obtained from the 400-m walk test concurrent with the baseline executive function assessment. LTV was computed as variability of lap time across ten 40-m laps based on individual trajectories. A linear mixed-effects model was used to examine LTV in relation to changes in executive function, adjusted for age, sex, education, and MLT. Higher LTV was associated with greater decline in performance on Trails B (β = 4.322, p < 0.001) and delta TMT (β = 4.230, p < 0.001), independent of covariates. Findings remained largely unchanged after further adjustment for MLT. LTV was not associated with changes in other executive function measures (all p > 0.05). In high-functioning older adults, higher LTV in the 400-m walk predicts executive function decline involving cognitive flexibility and set shifting over a long period of time. High LTV may be an early indicator of executive function decline independent of MLT.
Chen, C.-C.; Ringenbach, S. D. R.; Crews, D.; Kulinna, P. H.; Amazeen, Eric L.
Background: This study was aimed at investigating the impact of a single exercise intervention on executive function in young adults with Down syndrome (DS). Methods: Considering the relations among executive function, physical and mental health and early onset of Alzheimer's disease in this population, we tested three components of executive…
Barcelos, Nicole; Shah, Nikita; Cohen, Katherine; Hogan, Michael J; Mulkerrin, Eamon; Arciero, Paul J; Cohen, Brian D; Kramer, Arthur F; Anderson-Hanley, Cay
Dementia cases are increasing worldwide; thus, investigators seek to identify interventions that might prevent or ameliorate cognitive decline in later life. Extensive research confirms the benefits of physical exercise for brain health, yet only a fraction of older adults exercise regularly. Interactive mental and physical exercise, as in aerobic exergaming, not only motivates, but has also been found to yield cognitive benefit above and beyond traditional exercise. This pilot study sought to investigate whether greater cognitive challenge while exergaming would yield differential outcomes in executive function and generalize to everyday functioning. Sixty-four community based older adults (mean age=82) were randomly assigned to pedal a stationary bike, while interactively engaging on-screen with: (1) a low cognitive demand task (bike tour), or (2) a high cognitive demand task (video game). Executive function (indices from Trails, Stroop and Digit Span) was assessed before and after a single-bout and 3-month exercise intervention. Significant group × time interactions were found after a single-bout (Color Trails) and after 3 months of exergaming (Stroop; among 20 adherents). Those in the high cognitive demand group performed better than those in the low cognitive dose condition. Everyday function improved across both exercise conditions. Pilot data indicate that for older adults, cognitive benefit while exergaming increased concomitantly with higher doses of interactive mental challenge.
Hocking, Darren R; Reeve, Jessica; Porter, Melanie A
Although there is evidence of a distinct profile of executive dysfunction in Williams syndrome (WS), a rare genetically based neurodevelopmental disorder, the utility of informant reports of everyday executive function (EF) impairments and their relation to intelligence is not yet clear. Here we aimed to evaluate the functional impact of executive dysfunction in adults with WS and to establish the validity of child and adult versions of the most commonly used rating scale for EF assessment, the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF). We were also interested in whether distinct components of everyday EF relate to intelligence in WS. Parent report child (BRIEF-C) and adult (BRIEF-A) ratings were collected on 20 adults with WS (aged 18.5 to 53 years), with a mean IQ of 60.95 (SD = 17.67). Neuropsychological measures of EF included: The Shape School Test (Espy, 2007); select subdomains of EF from the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities, Australian Adaptation (WJ III COG); and select subdomains from the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales, Second Edition-Parent Survey (Vineland-II). Results showed that the BRIEF-A, but not the BRIEF-C, was the most highly correlated with neuropsychological measures of EF, suggesting that it was a valid measure of the profile of EF impairments in adults with WS. The profile of everyday EF dysfunction revealed relative impairments in monitoring, working memory, planning and organisation in WS. In addition, both neuropsychological and rating scale measures showed an association between the shifting component of EF and intelligence. These findings indicate that the BRIEF-A is a valid measure of the multidimensional nature of real-world impairments in EF, and highlight its utility as a less labor intensive and low-cost screening tool for measuring specific EF impairments that could become the focus of targeted intervention in adults with WS.
Bialystok, Ellen; DePape, Anne-Marie
The authors investigated whether intensive musical experience leads to enhancements in executive processing, as has been shown for bilingualism. Young adults who were bilinguals, musical performers (instrumentalists or vocalists), or neither completed 3 cognitive measures and 2 executive function tasks based on conflict. Both executive function…
Rouw, Romke; van Driel, Joram; Knip, Koen; Richard Ridderinkhof, K
In grapheme-color synesthesia, a number or letter can evoke two different and possibly conflicting (real and synesthetic) color sensations at the same time. In this study, we investigate the relationship between synesthesia and executive control functions. First, no general skill differences were obtained between synesthetes and non-synesthetes in classic executive control paradigms. Furthermore, classic executive control effects did not interact with synesthetic behavioral effects. Third, we found support for our hypothesis that inhibition of a synesthetic color takes effort and time. Finally, individual differences analyses showed no relationship between the two skills; performance on a 'normal' Stroop task does not predict performance on a synesthetic Stroop task. Across four studies, the current results consistently show no clear relationship between executive control functions and synesthetic behavioral effects. This raises the question of which mechanisms are at play in synesthetic 'management' during the presence of two conflicting (real and synesthetic) sensations.
Roth, Robert M.; Lance, Charles E.; Isquith, Peter K.; Fischer, Adina S.; Giancola, Peter R.
The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version (BRIEF-A) is a questionnaire measure designed to assess executive functioning in everyday life. Analysis of data from the BRIEF-A standardization sample yielded a two-factor solution (labeled Behavioral Regulation and Metacognition). The present investigation employed confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to evaluate four alternative models of the factor structure of the BRIEF-A self-report form in a sample of 524 healthy young adults. Results indicated that a three-factor model best fits the data: a Metacognition factor, a Behavioral Regulation factor consisting of the Inhibit and Self-Monitor scales, and an Emotional Regulation factor composed of the Emotional Control and Shift scales. The three factors contributed 14%, 19%, and 24% of unique variance to the model, respectively, and a second-order general factor accounted for 41% of variance overall. This three-factor solution is consistent with recent CFAs of the Parent report form of the BRIEF. Furthermore, although the Behavioral Regulation factor score in the two-factor model did not differ between adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and a matched healthy comparison group, greater impairment on the Behavioral Regulation factor but not the Emotional Regulation factor was found using the three-factor model. Together, these findings support the multidimensional nature of executive function and the clinical relevance of a three-factor model of the BRIEF-A. PMID:23676185
Eggenberger, Patrick; Wolf, Martin; Schumann, Martina; de Bruin, Eling D.
Different types of exercise training have the potential to induce structural and functional brain plasticity in the elderly. Thereby, functional brain adaptations were observed during cognitive tasks in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies that correlated with improved cognitive performance. This study aimed to investigate if exercise training induces functional brain plasticity during challenging treadmill walking and elicits associated changes in cognitive executive functions. Forty-two elderly participants were recruited and randomly assigned to either interactive cognitive-motor video game dancing (DANCE) or balance and stretching training (BALANCE). The 8-week intervention included three sessions of 30 min per week and was completed by 33 participants (mean age 74.9 ± 6.9 years). Prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity during preferred and fast walking speed on a treadmill was assessed applying functional near infrared spectroscopy pre- and post-intervention. Additionally, executive functions comprising shifting, inhibition, and working memory were assessed. The results showed that both interventions significantly reduced left and right hemispheric PFC oxygenation during the acceleration of walking (p < 0.05 or trend, r = 0.25–0.36), while DANCE showed a larger reduction at the end of the 30-s walking task compared to BALANCE in the left PFC [F(1, 31) = 3.54, p = 0.035, r = 0.32]. These exercise training induced modulations in PFC oxygenation correlated with improved executive functions (p < 0.05 or trend, r = 0.31–0.50). The observed reductions in PFC activity may release cognitive resources to focus attention on other processes while walking, which could be relevant to improve mobility and falls prevention in the elderly. This study provides a deeper understanding of the associations between exercise training, brain function during walking, and cognition in older adults. PMID:27148041
Eggenberger, Patrick; Wolf, Martin; Schumann, Martina; de Bruin, Eling D
Different types of exercise training have the potential to induce structural and functional brain plasticity in the elderly. Thereby, functional brain adaptations were observed during cognitive tasks in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies that correlated with improved cognitive performance. This study aimed to investigate if exercise training induces functional brain plasticity during challenging treadmill walking and elicits associated changes in cognitive executive functions. Forty-two elderly participants were recruited and randomly assigned to either interactive cognitive-motor video game dancing (DANCE) or balance and stretching training (BALANCE). The 8-week intervention included three sessions of 30 min per week and was completed by 33 participants (mean age 74.9 ± 6.9 years). Prefrontal cortex (PFC) activity during preferred and fast walking speed on a treadmill was assessed applying functional near infrared spectroscopy pre- and post-intervention. Additionally, executive functions comprising shifting, inhibition, and working memory were assessed. The results showed that both interventions significantly reduced left and right hemispheric PFC oxygenation during the acceleration of walking (p < 0.05 or trend, r = 0.25-0.36), while DANCE showed a larger reduction at the end of the 30-s walking task compared to BALANCE in the left PFC [F (1, 31) = 3.54, p = 0.035, r = 0.32]. These exercise training induced modulations in PFC oxygenation correlated with improved executive functions (p < 0.05 or trend, r = 0.31-0.50). The observed reductions in PFC activity may release cognitive resources to focus attention on other processes while walking, which could be relevant to improve mobility and falls prevention in the elderly. This study provides a deeper understanding of the associations between exercise training, brain function during walking, and cognition in older adults.
Louise, Stephanie; Gurvich, Caroline; Neill, Erica; Tan, Eric J.; Van Rheenen, Tamsyn E.; Rossell, Susan
Previous research has shown mild forms of the neurocognitive impairments seen in schizophrenia among healthy individuals exhibiting high schizotypal traits. This study aimed to explore associations between schizotypy and cognitive performance in an adult community sample. Ninety-five females and 79 males completed the Oxford–Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE), which measures four separable aspects of schizotypy: cognitive disorganization, unusual experiences, introvertive anhedonia, and impulsive non-conformity. Subsequently, participants were administered a neurocognitive battery incorporating measures of executive skills including inhibition, cognitive flexibility, reasoning, and problem solving along with measures of attention and processing speed and both verbal and spatial working memory. In line with predictions, the current study found that higher scores on the subscales of unusual experiences, cognitive disorganization, and impulsive non-conformity related to worse performance on a measure of inhibition. Additionally, as introvertive anhedonia increased, both attention and processing speed and reasoning and problem-solving performance became more impaired. In conclusion, this study extends schizotypy literature by examining the subscales of the O-LIFE, and enables inferences to be drawn in relation to cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. PMID:26082726
Frazier, Darvis T; Bettcher, Brianne M; Dutt, Shubir; Patel, Nihar; Mungas, Dan; Miller, Joshua; Green, Ralph; Kramer, Joel H
This study investigated the relationship between insulin-resistance and constituent components of executive function in a sample of neurologically intact older adult subjects using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR) and latent factors of working memory, cognitive control and processing speed derived from confirmatory factor analysis. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), mean arterial pressure (MAP), along with body mass index (BMI) and white matter hypointensity (WMH) were used to control for vascular risk factors, adiposity and cerebrovascular injury. The study included 119 elderly subjects recruited from the University of California, San Francisco Memory and Aging Center. Subjects underwent neuropsychological assessment, fasting blood draw and brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Partial correlations and linear regression models were used to examine the HOMA-IR-executive function relationship. Pearson correlation adjusting for age showed a significant relationship between HOMA-IR and working memory (rp = -.18; p = .047), a trend with cognitive control (rp = -.17; p = .068), and no relationship with processing speed (rp = .013; p = .892). Linear regression models adjusting for demographic factors (age, education, and gender), LDL, MAP, BMI, and WMH indicated that HOMA-IR was negatively associated with cognitive control (r = -.256; p = .026) and working memory (r = -.234; p = .054). These results suggest a greater level of peripheral insulin-resistance is associated with decreased cognitive control and working memory. After controlling for demographic factors, vascular risk, adiposity and cerebrovascular injury, HOMA-IR remained significantly associated with cognitive control, with working memory showing a trend. These findings substantiate the insulin-resistance-executive function hypothesis and suggest a complex interaction, demonstrated by the differential impact of insulin-resistance on processing speed and specific aspects of executive function.
Makris, Nikos; Biederman, Joseph; Valera, Eve M; Bush, George; Kaiser, Jonathan; Kennedy, David N; Caviness, Verne S; Faraone, Stephen V; Seidman, Larry J
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been associated with structural alterations in brain networks influencing cognitive and motor behaviors. Volumetric studies in children identify abnormalities in cortical, striatal, callosal, and cerebellar regions. In a prior volumetric study, we found that ADHD adults had significantly smaller overall cortical gray matter, prefrontal, and anterior cingulate volumes than matched controls. Thickness and surface area are additional indicators of integrity of cytoarchitecture in the cortex. To expand upon our earlier results and further refine the regions of structural abnormality, we carried out a structural magnetic resonance imaging study of cortical thickness in the same sample of adults with ADHD (n = 24) and controls (n = 18), hypothesizing that the cortical networks underlying attention and executive function (EF) would be most affected. Compared with healthy adults, adults with ADHD showed selective thinning of cerebral cortex in the networks that subserve attention and EF. In the present study, we found significant cortical thinning in ADHD in a distinct cortical network supporting attention especially in the right hemisphere involving the inferior parietal lobule, the dorsolateral prefrontal, and the anterior cingulate cortices. This is the first documentation that ADHD in adults is associated with thinner cortex in the cortical networks that modulate attention and EF.
Wallace, Gregory L; Kenworthy, Lauren; Pugliese, Cara E; Popal, Haroon S; White, Emily I; Brodsky, Emily; Martin, Alex
Although executive functioning (EF) difficulties are well documented among children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), little is known about real-world measures of EF among adults with ASD. Therefore, this study examined parent-reported real-world EF problems among 35 adults with ASD without intellectual disability and their correlations with adaptive functioning and co-morbid anxiety and depression symptomatology. A variable EF profile was found with prominent deficits occurring in flexibility and metacognition. Flexibility problems were associated with anxiety-related symptoms while metacognition difficulties were associated with depression symptoms and impaired adaptive functioning (though the metacognition-adaptive functioning relationship was moderated by ADHD symptoms). These persistent EF problems are predictors of broader functioning and therefore remain an important treatment target among adults with ASD.
Kenworthy, Lauren; Pugliese, Cara E.; Popal, Haroon S.; White, Emily I.; Brodsky, Emily; Martin, Alex
Although executive functioning (EF) difficulties are well documented among children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), little is known about real-world measures of EF among adults with ASD. Therefore, this study examined parent-reported real-world EF problems among 35 adults with ASD without intellectual disability and their correlations with adaptive functioning and co-morbid anxiety and depression symptomatology. A variable EF profile was found with prominent deficits occurring in flexibility and metacognition. Flexibility problems were associated with anxiety-related symptoms while metacognition difficulties were associated with depression symptoms and impaired adaptive functioning (though the metacognition-adaptive functioning relationship was moderated by ADHD symptoms). These persistent EF problems are predictors of broader functioning and therefore remain an important treatment target among adults with ASD. PMID:26572659
Fu, Li; Maes, Joseph H. R.; Kessels, Roy P. C.; Daselaar, Sander M.
It is essential to develop effective interventions aimed at ameliorating age-related cognitive decline. Previous studies found that effortful encoding benefits episodic memory in older adults. However, to date it is unclear whether this benefit is different for individuals with strong versus weak executive functioning (EF). Fifty-one older adults were recruited and divided into low (N = 26) and high (N = 25) functioning groups, based on their EF capacity. All participants performed a semantic and a perceptual incidental encoding task. Each encoding task was performed under four difficulty levels to establish different effort levels. Encoding was followed by a recognition task. Results showed that the high EF group benefitted from increased effort in both tasks. However, the low EF group only showed a beneficial effect under low levels of effort. Results are consistent with the Compensation-Related Utilization of Neural Circuits Hypothesis (CRUNCH) and suggest that future research directed at developing efficient memory strategies to reduce negative cognitive aging effects should take individual cognitive differences among older adults into account, such as differences in EF. PMID:28328979
Orellana, Gricel; Slachevsky, Andrea
The executive function (EF) is a set of abilities, which allows us to invoke voluntary control of our behavioral responses. These functions enable human beings to develop and carry out plans, make up analogies, obey social rules, solve problems, adapt to unexpected circumstances, do many tasks simultaneously, and locate episodes in time and place. EF includes divided attention and sustained attention, working memory (WM), set-shifting, flexibility, planning, and the regulation of goal directed behavior and can be defined as a brain function underlying the human faculty to act or think not only in reaction to external events but also in relation with internal goals and states. EF is mostly associated with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC). Besides EF, PFC is involved in self-regulation of behavior, i.e., the ability to regulate behavior according to internal goals and constraints, particularly in less structured situations. Self-regulation of behavior is subtended by ventral medial/orbital PFC. Impairment of EF is one of the most commonly observed deficits in schizophrenia through the various disease stages. Impairment in tasks measuring conceptualization, planning, cognitive flexibility, verbal fluency, ability to solve complex problems, and WM occur in schizophrenia. Disorders detected by executive tests are consistent with evidence from functional neuroimaging, which have shown PFC dysfunction in patients while performing these kinds of tasks. Schizophrenics also exhibit deficit in odor identifying, decision-making, and self-regulation of behavior suggesting dysfunction of the orbital PFC. However, impairment in executive tests is explained by dysfunction of prefronto-striato-thalamic, prefronto-parietal, and prefronto-temporal neural networks mainly. Disorders in EFs may be considered central facts with respect to schizophrenia and it has been suggested that negative symptoms may be explained by that executive dysfunction. PMID:23805107
Objective: Exposure to elevated levels of manganese (Mn) may be associated with tremor, motor and executive dysfunction (EF), clinically resembling Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD research has identified tremor-dominant (TD) and non-tremor dominant (NTD) profiles. NTD PD pres...
Ibáñez, Agustin; Petroni, Agustin; Urquina, Hugo; Torrente, Fernando; Torralva, Teresa; Hurtado, Esteban; Guex, Raphael; Blenkmann, Alejandro; Beltrachini, Leandro; Muravchik, Carlos; Baez, Sandra; Cetkovich, Marcelo; Sigman, Mariano; Lischinsky, Alicia; Manes, Facundo
Although it has been shown that adults with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have impaired social cognition, no previous study has reported the brain correlates of face valence processing. This study looked for behavioral, neuropsychological, and electrophysiological markers of emotion processing for faces (N170) in adult ADHD compared to controls matched by age, gender, educational level, and handedness. We designed an event-related potential (ERP) study based on a dual valence task (DVT), in which faces and words were presented to test the effects of stimulus type (faces, words, or face-word stimuli) and valence (positive versus negative). Individual signatures of cognitive functioning in participants with ADHD and controls were assessed with a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation, including executive functioning (EF) and theory of mind (ToM). Compared to controls, the adult ADHD group showed deficits in N170 emotion modulation for facial stimuli. These N170 impairments were observed in the absence of any deficit in facial structural processing, suggesting a specific ADHD impairment in early facial emotion modulation. The cortical current density mapping of N170 yielded a main neural source of N170 at posterior section of fusiform gyrus (maximum at left hemisphere for words and right hemisphere for faces and simultaneous stimuli). Neural generators of N170 (fusiform gyrus) were reduced in ADHD. In those patients, N170 emotion processing was associated with performance on an emotional inference ToM task, and N170 from simultaneous stimuli was associated with EF, especially working memory. This is the first report to reveal an adult ADHD-specific impairment in the cortical modulation of emotion for faces and an association between N170 cortical measures and ToM and EF.
Rouel, Melissa; Raman, Jayanthi; Hay, Phillipa; Smith, Evelyn
Obesity and binge eating disorder (BED) are both associated with deficiencies in executive function. The Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function - Adult Version (BRIEF-A) is a self-report measure that assesses executive function. This study aimed to examine the psychometric properties of the BRIEF-A in an obese population, with and without BED, and to explore the differences on the BRIEF-A in the obese, with and without BED, compared to normative sample. 98 obese participants (70 BED) completed the BRIEF-A, DASS-21 and several performance-based measures of executive function. 30 participants completed a repeat assessment two months later. There was evidence of good internal consistency and test-retest reliability, however evidence for construct and convergent validity was mixed. Additionally, it was found that obese individuals report significantly more executive function difficulties on the BRIEF-A than the normative sample. Further, obese with BED report more executive function difficulties than those without. This study shows some evidence of sound psychometric properties of the BRIEF-A in an obese sample, however more research is required to understand the nature of executive function being measured.
Burton, B; Grant, M; Feigenbaum, A; Singh, R; Hendren, R; Siriwardena, K; Phillips, J; Sanchez-Valle, A; Waisbren, S; Gillis, J; Prasad, S; Merilainen, M; Lang, W; Zhang, C; Yu, S; Stahl, S
Symptoms of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly inattention, and impairments in executive functioning have been reported in early and continuously treated children, adolescents, and adults with phenylketonuria (PKU). In addition, higher blood phenylalanine (Phe) levels have been correlated with the presence of ADHD symptoms and executive functioning impairment. The placebo-controlled PKU ASCEND study evaluated the effects of sapropterin therapy on PKU-associated symptoms of ADHD and executive and global functioning in individuals who had a therapeutic blood Phe response to sapropterin therapy. The presence of ADHD inattentive symptoms and executive functioning deficits was confirmed in this large cohort of 206 children and adults with PKU, of whom 118 responded to sapropterin therapy. In the 38 individuals with sapropterin-responsive PKU and ADHD symptoms at baseline, sapropterin therapy resulted in a significant improvement in ADHD inattentive symptoms in the first 4 weeks of treatment, and improvements were maintained throughout the 26 weeks of treatment. Sapropterin was well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile. The improvements in ADHD inattentive symptoms and aspects of executive functioning in response to sapropterin therapy noted in a large cohort of individuals with PKU indicate that these symptoms are potentially reversible when blood Phe levels are reduced.
Danielsson, Henrik; Henry, Lucy; Ronnberg, Jerker; Nilsson, Lars-Goran
The aim of the present study was to investigate executive functions in adults with intellectual disability, and compare them to a closely matched control group longitudinally for 5 years. In the Betula database, a group of adults with intellectual disability (ID, n = 46) was defined from measures of verbal and non-verbal IQ. A control group, with…
Longaud-Valès, A; Chevignard, M; Dufour, C; Grill, J; Puget, S; Sainte-Rose, C; Valteau-Couanet, D; Dellatolas, G
There is a lack of studies assessing executive functions (EF) using ecologically valid tests in children with frontal lobe lesions. This study aimed to (1) evaluate EF in children, adolescents and young adults treated for childhood frontal lobe tumours, (2) identify factors influencing performance, such as age at diagnosis or type of treatment, and (3) examine correlations between intellectual ability and classical and ecological tests of EF. Twenty-one patients, aged 8-27 years, treated for a childhood benign or malignant frontal lobe tumour, and 42 healthy controls (matched for gender, age and socio-economic status) were assessed using classical tests of EF, and the BADS-C ecological battery. Patients also underwent assessment of intellectual ability and parent and teacher ratings of the BRIEF questionnaire. IQ scores ranged from 45 to 125 (mean FSIQ = 84) and were lower in case of epilepsy, hydrocephalus and lower parental education. Patients displayed deficits in most, but not all measures of EF. Most classical and ecological measures of EF were strongly correlated to IQ. This study confirms the frequency of EF deficits in this population; it also highlights the utility of ecological measures of EF and some limitations of classical tests of EF in children.
Meltzer, Erica P; Kapoor, Ashu; Fogel, Joshua; Elbulok-Charcape, Milushka M; Roth, Robert M; Katz, Mindy J; Lipton, Richard B; Rabin, Laura A
Subjective executive functioning (EF) measures provide valuable information about real-world difficulties, although it is unclear what variables actually associate with subjective EF scores. We investigated subjective EF in 245 nondemented, community-dwelling older adults (aged 70 and above) from the Einstein Aging Study. Partial correlational analyses controlling for age were performed between the nine Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult version (BRIEF-A) clinical scales and objective EF tests, self-reported mood and personality, and informant-reported activities of daily living. The significance level was set at p < .006 for all analyses (two-tailed). Most notably, higher worry/oversensitivity, physiological anxiety, and fear of aging were significantly associated with increased EF difficulties on all nine BRIEF-A scales. Additionally, increased EF difficulties on five or more BRIEF-A scales were significantly associated with lower conscientiousness, higher neuroticism, and higher depressive symptom scores. The only objective neuropsychological test that significantly correlated with increased EF difficulties (on four BRIEF-A scales) was a measure of practical judgment. Overall, results indicate that interpretation of subjective EF scores must account for self-report of mood and personality. Moreover, the BRIEF-A only minimally taps objective EF as measured by performance-based measures. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.
The Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS; Delis, Kaplan, & Kramer, 2001a) is a set of standardized tests for comprehensively assessing higher-level cognitive functions, referred to as "executive functions," in both children and adults (aged 8 to 89). Executive functions draw on the individual's more fundamental or primary cognitive…
Lillard, Angeline S; Li, Hui; Boguszewski, Katie
Children spend a lot of time watching television on its many platforms: directly, online, and via videos and DVDs. Many researchers are concerned that some types of television content appear to negatively influence children's executive function. Because (1) executive function predicts key developmental outcomes, (2) executive function appears to be influenced by some television content, and (3) American children watch large quantities of television (including the content of concern), the issues discussed here comprise a crucial public health issue. Further research is needed to reveal exactly what television content is implicated, what underlies television's effect on executive function, how long the effect lasts, and who is affected.
Liu-Ambrose, Teresa; Pang, Marco; Eng, Janice J
Background Stroke survivors have a high incidence of falls. Impaired executive-controlled processes are frequent in stroke survivors and are associated with falls in this population. Better understanding of the independent association between executive-controlled processes and physiological fall risk (i.e. performances of balance and mobility) could enhance future interventions that aim to prevent falls and to promote an independent lifestyle among stroke survivors. Methods Cross-sectional analysis of 63 adults who suffered a mild stroke >1 year prior to the study, aged > or =50 years. Results Cognitive flexibility was independently associated with performances of balance and mobility in community-dwelling older adults after mild stroke, after accounting for age, quadriceps strength of the paretic side and current physical activity level. Conclusions Clinicians may need to consider cognitive function when assessing and treating impaired balance and mobility in community-dwelling older adults after mild stroke. PMID:17143004
Gonzalez-Gadea, Maria Luz; Baez, Sandra; Torralva, Teresa; Castellanos, Francisco Xavier; Rattazzi, Alexia; Bein, Victoria; Rogg, Katharina; Manes, Facundo; Ibanez, Agustin
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Asperger's Syndrome (AS) share a heterogeneous cognitive profile. Studies assessing executive functions (EF) and social cognition in both groups have found preserved and impaired performances. These inconsistent findings would be partially explained by the cognitive variability reported in these…
Fischer, Mariellen; Barkley, Russell A; Smallish, Lori; Fletcher, Kenneth
Tests of several executive functions (EFs) as well as direct observations of symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during testing were collected at the young adult follow-up (M = 20 years) on a large sample of hyperactive (H; N = 147) and community control (CC; N = 71) children. The EF tasks included tests of attention, inhibition, and response perseveration. The H group was subdivided into those with and without ADHD (+ or w/o) at follow-up. The H+ADHD group made significantly more inhibition errors than the CC group on a Continuous Performance Test (CPT) and showed more ADHD symptoms while performing the CPT. The H+ADHD group also displayed more ADHD symptoms during a letter cancellation task than did both the hyperactive w/o ADHD and CC groups. Both H groups showed slower reaction times during a Card Playing Task. That subset of hyperactive probands with Conduct Disorder (CD) displayed significantly more perseverative responding on that task than did those without CD, but otherwise it did not differ on any other measures. Current level of anxiety contributed adversely to both CPT commission errors and ADHD behavior during the CPT. Comorbid depression did not contribute to any group differences on these tests. Although developmental improvements were found in both the H and the CC groups in their CPT inattention and inhibition scores since adolescence, the H groups remained distinguishable from the CC groups over this period. We conclude that formerly hyperactive children manifest greater EF deficits at follow-up in the areas of inattention, disinhibition, and slowed reaction time and greater ADHD behavior during testing, but these problems are mostly confined to those with current ADHD. Response perseveration, however, was limited to those hyperactive children with CD by follow-up, consistent with Quay's theory of these two disorders.
Huh, Yoonseok; Yang, Eun Joo; Lee, Seung Ah; Lim, Jae-Young; Kim, Ki Woong; Paik, Nam-Jong
Reduced executive function and physical performance are common age-related conditions. This study evaluated the associations between executive function and physical performance in a representative sample of older adults. Cross-sectional data were analyzed from a population-based sample of 629 men and women aged 65 or older and living in one typical city in Korea. Specific aspects of executive function were assessed using the trail making test, digit span test, and lexical fluency test to measure set shifting, working memory and cognitive flexibility functions. Physical performance was measured using performance-oriented mobility assessment (POMA) scores and isokinetic muscle strength. Subjects' self-efficacy was also assessed using the activities-specific balance confidence (ABC) scale. Results of the lexical fluency test were associated with POMA scores and muscle strength, independent of age, gender, education, comorbidity, physical activity status, depression, and global cognition, suggesting that reduced cognitive flexibility is associated with reduced physical performance and muscle strength. Self-efficacy was also independently associated with physical performance and muscle strength. Clinicians need to consider the association between executive function and physical performance when working to improve physical functioning in an aged population.
Adler, Lenard A.; Clemow, David B.; Williams, David W.; Durell, Todd M.
Objective To evaluate the effect of atomoxetine treatment on executive functions in young adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods In this Phase 4, multi-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, young adults (18–30 years) with ADHD were randomized to receive atomoxetine (20–50 mg BID, N = 220) or placebo (N = 225) for 12 weeks. The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult (BRIEF-A) consists of 75 self-report items within 9 nonoverlapping clinical scales measuring various aspects of executive functioning. Mean changes from baseline to 12-week endpoint on the BRIEF-A were analyzed using an ANCOVA model (terms: baseline score, treatment, and investigator). Results At baseline, there were no significant treatment group differences in the percentage of patients with BRIEF-A composite or index T-scores ≥60 (p>.5), with over 92% of patients having composite scores ≥60 (≥60 deemed clinically meaningful for these analyses). At endpoint, statistically significantly greater mean reductions were seen in the atomoxetine versus placebo group for the BRIEF-A Global Executive Composite (GEC), Behavioral Regulation Index (BRI), and Metacognitive Index (MI) scores, as well as the Inhibit, Self-Monitor, Working Memory, Plan/Organize and Task Monitor subscale scores (p<.05), with decreases in scores signifying improvements in executive functioning. Changes in the BRIEF-A Initiate (p = .051), Organization of Materials (p = .051), Shift (p = .090), and Emotional Control (p = .219) subscale scores were not statistically significant. In addition, the validity scales: Inconsistency (p = .644), Infrequency (p = .097), and Negativity (p = .456) were not statistically significant, showing scale validity. Conclusion Statistically significantly greater improvement in executive function was observed in young adults with ADHD in the atomoxetine versus placebo group as measured by changes in the BRIEF
Pesce, M; Rizzuto, A; La Fratta, I; Tatangelo, R; Campagna, G; Iannasso, M; Ferrone, A; Franceschelli, S; Speranza, L; Patruno, A; De Lutiis, M A; Felaco, M; Grilli, A
Executive Functions (EFs) involve a set of high cognitive abilities impairment which have been successfully related to a redox omeostasis imbalance in several psychiatric disorders. Firstly, we aimed to investigate the relationship between executive functioning and some oxidative metabolism parameters in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells (PBMCs) from healthy adult samples. The Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Scales were administered to assess five specific facets of executive functioning. Total superoxide anion production, Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT), Glutathione Reductase (GR) and Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) activities were evaluated on proteins extracted from the PBMCs. We found significant positive correlations between superoxide anion production and the total score of the 'Brown' Scale and some of its clusters. The GPx and CAT activities were negatively associated with the total score and some clusters. In a linear regression analysis, these biological variables were indicated as the most salient predictors of the total score, explaining the 24% variance (adjusted R(2)=0.24, ANOVA, p<.001). This study provides novel evidence that Executive Functions have underpinnings in the oxidative metabolism, as ascertained in healthy subjects.
Lanfranchi, S.; Jerman, O.; Dal Pont, E.; Alberti, A.; Vianello, R.
Background: The present work is aimed at analysing executive function (EF) in adolescents with Down Syndrome (DS). So far, EF has been analysed mainly in adults with DS, showing a pattern of impairment. However, less is known about children and adolescents with this syndrome. Studying adolescents with DS might help us better understand whether…
Mäntylä, Timo; Rönnlund, Michael; Kliegel, Matthias
This study examined metamemory in relation to three basic executive functions (set shifting, working memory updating, and response inhibition) measured as latent variables. Young adults (Experiment 1) and middle-aged adults (Experiment 2) completed a set of executive functioning tasks and the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ). In Experiment 1, source recall and face recognition tasks were included as indicators of objective memory performance. In both experiments, analyses of the executive functioning data yielded a two-factor solution, with the updating and inhibition tasks constituting a common factor and the shifting tasks a separate factor. Self-reported memory problems showed low predictive validity, but subjective and objective memory performance were related to different components of executive functioning. In both experiments, set shifting, but not updating and inhibition, was related to PRMQ, whereas source recall showed the opposite pattern of correlations in Experiment 1. These findings suggest that metamemorial judgments reflect selective effects of executive functioning and that individual differences in mental flexibility contribute to self-beliefs of efficacy.
Falbo, S.; Condello, G.; Capranica, L.; Forte, R.
Physical and cognitive training seem to counteract age-related decline in physical and mental function. Recently, the possibility of integrating cognitive demands into physical training has attracted attention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of twelve weeks of designed physical-cognitive training on executive cognitive function and gait performance in older adults. Thirty-six healthy, active individuals aged 72.30 ± 5.84 years were assigned to two types of physical training with major focus on physical single task (ST) training (n = 16) and physical-cognitive dual task (DT) training (n = 20), respectively. They were tested before and after the intervention for executive function (inhibition, working memory) through Random Number Generation and for gait (walking with/without negotiating hurdles) under both single and dual task (ST, DT) conditions. Gait performance improved in both groups, while inhibitory performance decreased after exercise training with ST focus but tended to increase after training with physical-cognitive DT focus. Changes in inhibition performance were correlated with changes in DT walking performance with group differences as a function of motor task complexity (with/without hurdling). The study supports the effectiveness of group exercise classes for older individuals to improve gait performance, with physical-cognitive DT training selectively counteracting the age-related decline in a core executive function essential for daily living. PMID:28053985
Falbo, S; Condello, G; Capranica, L; Forte, R; Pesce, C
Physical and cognitive training seem to counteract age-related decline in physical and mental function. Recently, the possibility of integrating cognitive demands into physical training has attracted attention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of twelve weeks of designed physical-cognitive training on executive cognitive function and gait performance in older adults. Thirty-six healthy, active individuals aged 72.30 ± 5.84 years were assigned to two types of physical training with major focus on physical single task (ST) training (n = 16) and physical-cognitive dual task (DT) training (n = 20), respectively. They were tested before and after the intervention for executive function (inhibition, working memory) through Random Number Generation and for gait (walking with/without negotiating hurdles) under both single and dual task (ST, DT) conditions. Gait performance improved in both groups, while inhibitory performance decreased after exercise training with ST focus but tended to increase after training with physical-cognitive DT focus. Changes in inhibition performance were correlated with changes in DT walking performance with group differences as a function of motor task complexity (with/without hurdling). The study supports the effectiveness of group exercise classes for older individuals to improve gait performance, with physical-cognitive DT training selectively counteracting the age-related decline in a core executive function essential for daily living.
Carlson, Michelle C.; Saczynski, Jane S.; Rebok, George W.; Seeman, Teresa; Glass, Thomas A.; McGill, Sylvia; Tielsch, James; Frick, Kevin D.; Hill, Joel; Fried, Linda P.
Purpose: There is little empirical translation of multimodal cognitive activity programs in "real-world" community-based settings. This study sought to demonstrate in a short-term pilot randomized trial that such an activity program improves components of cognition critical to independent function among sedentary older adults at greatest risk.…
Goldberg, B. )
Functional languages have recently gained attention as vehicles for programming in a concise and element manner. In addition, it has been suggested that functional programming provides a natural methodology for programming multiprocessor computers. This paper describes research that was performed to demonstrate that multiprocessor execution of functional programs on current multiprocessors is feasible, and results in a significant reduction in their execution times. Two implementations of the functional language ALFL were built on commercially available multiprocessors. Alfalfa is an implementation on the Intel iPSC hypercube multiprocessor, and Buckwheat is an implementation on the Encore Multimax shared-memory multiprocessor. Each implementation includes a compiler that performs automatic decomposition of ALFL programs and a run-time system that supports their execution. The compiler is responsible for detecting the inherent parallelism in a program, and decomposing the program into a collection of tasks, called serial combinators, that can be executed in parallel. The abstract machine model supported by Alfalfa and Buckwheat is called heterogeneous graph reduction, which is a hybrid of graph reduction and conventional stack-oriented execution. This model supports parallelism, lazy evaluation, and higher order functions while at the same time making efficient use of the processors in the system. The Alfalfa and Buckwheat runtime systems support dynamic load balancing, interprocessor communication (if required), and storage management. A large number of experiments were performed on Alfalfa and Buckwheat for a variety of programs. The results of these experiments, as well as the conclusions drawn from them, are presented.
McFall, G. Peggy; Wiebe, Sandra A.; Vergote, David; Jhamandas, Jack; Westaway, David; Dixon, Roger A.
Objective We report a gene x environment (health) study focusing on concurrent performance and longitudinal change in a latent-variable executive function (EF) phenotype. Specifically, we tested the independent and interactive effects of a recently identified insulin degrading enzyme genetic polymorphism (IDE rs6583817) and pulse pressure (PP) (one prominent aging-related vascular health indicator) across up to 9 years of EF data in a sample of older adults from the Victoria Longitudinal Study. Both factors vary across a continuum of risk-elevating to risk-reducing and have been recently linked to normal and impaired cognitive aging. Method We assembled a genotyped and typically aging group of older adults (n=599, M age=66 years at baseline), following them for up to three longitudinal waves (M interval=4.4 years). We used confirmatory factor analyses, latent growth modeling, and path analyses to pursue three main research goals. Results First, the EF single factor model was confirmed as comprised of 4 executive function tasks and it demonstrated measurement invariance across the waves. Second, older adults with the major IDE G allele exhibited better EF outcomes than homozygotes for the minor A allele at the centering age of 75 years. Adults with higher PP performed more poorly on EF tasks at age 75 years and exhibited greater EF longitudinal decline. Third, gene x health interaction analyses showed that worsening vascular health (higher PP) differentially affected EF performance in older adults with the IDE G allele. Discussion Genetic interaction analyses can reveal differential and magnifying effects on cognitive phenotypes in aging. In the present case, pulse pressure is confirmed as a risk factor for concurrent and changing cognitive health in aging, but the effects operate differently across the risk and protective allelic distribution of this IDE gene. PMID:24660790
Jacoby, Michele; Averbuch, Sara; Sacher, Yaron; Katz, Noomi; Weiss, Patrice L; Kizony, Rachel
Impairments of executive functions (EF) significantly affect the ability to lead an independent lifestyle. Virtual environments offer a way to rehabilitate EF due to their ecological validity. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effectiveness of a virtual reality (VR) supermarket (VMall) for treatment of EF in patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), compared to conventional occupational therapy (OT), in order to provide initial data regarding the effect sizes for calculation of sample size as well as to establish an intervention protocol for future Randomized Control Trials (RCTs). Twelve men and women, aged 19-55 years, who had TBI resulting in EF impairments participated in this study. Outcome measures were the Multiple Errands Test-Simplified Version (MET-SV) and the Executive Function Performance Test (EFPT). Cognitive treatment provided to both groups was based on the same principles; the participants in the experimental group received 10 45-min VR-based treatment sessions and the control group participants received 10 sessions of occupational therapy cognitive retraining without VR. Baseline performance prior to intervention showed no statistically significant differences between groups. Most participants improved their performance after therapy. Following a Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons, no significant between or within group differences were found, Nevertheless, large effect sizes (0.51) for the percent (%) relative change of the MET-SV total score and EFPT total score after intervention were high in favor of the experimental group indicating a larger improvement in EF. Based on this pilot study, results show a trend towards an advantage to VR therapy compared to cognitive retraining OT without VR, as it leads to greater improvement in complex everyday activities.
Sandberg, Petra; Rönnlund, Michael; Nyberg, Lars; Stigsdotter Neely, Anna
There is a growing body of research on the modifiability of executive functions in different stages of life. Previous studies demonstrate robust training effects but limited transfer in younger and particularly in older adults. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether a theoretically derived intervention for executive functioning, addressing several basic processes (updating, shifting, and inhibition), can induce transfer effects in early and late adulthood. Fifty-nine healthy adults, 29 young and 30 older adults, were randomly assigned to either training or no-contact control groups. The training groups received 15 sessions of executive process training for about 45 min/session during 5 weeks. A test battery including a criterion task and near, intermediate, and far transfer tasks was administered before and after training. Results showed pronounced age-equivalent gains on the criterion task. Near transfer was seen to non-trained updating and inhibition tasks for the young and older trained participants. However, only the young adults showed intermediate transfer to two complex working memory tasks. No far transfer effects were seen for either age group. These findings provide additional evidence for age-related constraints in the ability to generalize acquired executive skills, and specifically show that training of multiple executive processes is not sufficient to foster transfer beyond the very near in older adults.
Bialystok, Ellen; Depape, Anne-Marie
The authors investigated whether intensive musical experience leads to enhancements in executive processing, as has been shown for bilingualism. Young adults who were bilinguals, musical performers (instrumentalists or vocalists), or neither completed 3 cognitive measures and 2 executive function tasks based on conflict. Both executive function tasks included control conditions that assessed performance in the absence of conflict. All participants performed equivalently for the cognitive measures and the control conditions of the executive function tasks, but performance diverged in the conflict conditions. In a version of the Simon task involving spatial conflict between a target cue and its position, bilinguals and musicians outperformed monolinguals, replicating earlier research with bilinguals. In a version of the Stroop task involving auditory and linguistic conflict between a word and its pitch, the musicians performed better than the other participants. Instrumentalists and vocalists did not differ on any measure. Results demonstrate that extended musical experience enhances executive control on a nonverbal spatial task, as previously shown for bilingualism, but also enhances control in a more specialized auditory task, although the effect of bilingualism did not extend to that domain.
Lagattuta, Kristin Hansen; Sayfan, Liat; Monsour, Michael
Two experiments examined 4- to 11-year-olds' and adults' performance (N = 350) on two variants of a Stroop-like card task: the day-night task (say 'day' when shown a moon and 'night' when shown a sun) and a new happy-sad task (say 'happy' for a sad face and 'sad' for a happy face). Experiment 1 featured colored cartoon drawings. In Experiment 2, the happy-sad task featured photographs, and pictures for both measures were gray scale. All age groups made more errors and took longer to respond to the happy-sad versus the day-night versions. Unlike the day-night task, the happy-sad task did not suffer from ceiling effects, even in adults. The happy-sad task provides a methodological advance for measuring executive function across a wide age range.
Brydges, Christopher R.; Reid, Corinne L.; Fox, Allison M.; Anderson, Mike
Executive functions (EF) and intelligence are of critical importance to success in many everyday tasks. Working memory, or updating, which is one latent variable identified in confirmatory factor analytic models of executive functions, predicts intelligence (both fluid and crystallised) in adults, but inhibition and shifting do not (Friedman et…
Allee-Smith, Paula J.; Winters, Rebecca R.; Drake, Amanda; Joslin, Amanda K.
The Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale (BDEFS), authored by Russell A. Barkley and published by Guilford in 2011, is an individually administered assessment tool that may be used to evaluate adults ages 18 to 81. The purpose of this measure is to screen those who may be experiencing executive functioning (EF) deficits in…
Functional languages have recently gained attention as vehicles for programming in a concise and elegant manner. In addition, it has been suggested that functional programming provides a natural methodology for programming multiprocessor computers. This dissertation demonstrates that multiprocessor execution of functional programs is feasible, and results in a significant reduction in their execution times. Two implementations of the functional language ALFL were built on commercially available multiprocessors. ALFL is an implementation on the Intel iPSC hypercube multiprocessor, and Buckwheat is an implementation on the Encore Multimax shared-memory multiprocessor. Each implementation includes a compiler that performs automatic decomposition of ALFL programs. The compiler is responsible for detecting the inherent parallelism in a program, and decomposing the program into a collection of tasks, called serial combinators, that can be executed in parallel. One of the primary goals of the compiler is to generate serial combinators exhibiting the coarsest granularity possibly without sacrificing useful parallelism. This dissertation describes the algorithms used by the compiler to analyze, decompose, and optimize functional programs. The abstract machine model supported by Alfalfa and Buckwheat is called heterogeneous graph reduction, which is a hybrid of graph reduction and conventional stack-oriented execution. This model supports parallelism, lazy evaluation, and higher order functions while at the same time making efficient use of the processors in the system. The Alfalfa and Buckwheat run-time systems support dynamic load balancing, interprocessor communication (if required) and storage management. A large number of experiments were performed on Alfalfa and Buckwheat for a variety of programs. The results of these experiments, as well as the conclusions drawn from them, are presented.
Martel, Michelle; Nikolas, Molly; Nigg, Joel T.
A study is conducted to determine the specificity of executive function weakness in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during adolescence. Results suggest that executive function weakness in ADHD is specifically associated with symptoms of inattention-disorganization.
Vélez-Pastrana, María C; González, Rafael A; Rodríguez Cardona, Javier; Purcell Baerga, Paloma; Alicea Rodríguez, Ángel; Levin, Frances R
Performance-based measures have shown some limitation in the assessment of executive functioning (EF) and rating scales have been proposed as an alternative. Our aim was to conduct a comprehensive psychometric evaluation of the Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale (BDEFS), as administered in 452 Latino community adults (65.5% female). The BDEFS was back-translated into Spanish. We performed exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to assess the structure of the translated BDEFS and to compare it with the original five-factor structure based on the English-language version. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was performed to test the original language structure of the instrument, and also a modified version with items that loaded equally in both versions. The Adult Self-Report Scale was used to screen for ADHD symptoms. We assessed invariance on the latent factor's mean by age and gender, and to estimate associations with ADHD symptom dimensions. The five-factor structure of the BDEFS was partially supported by EFA/CFA, in which 78 out of 89 items loaded similar to the original English-language structure. Factor scores were significantly associated with ADHD symptom dimensions. Model-based contrasts revealed that inattention was primarily associated with disorganization, time-management and motivational aspects of EF; hyperactivity was predominantly related to self-restraint and self-regulation factors. The BDEFS seemingly assesses similar dimensions of the EF construct in English and in the present Spanish-language versions. Factor scores were differentially associated with ADHD subtypes. Replication and confirmation of the Spanish-language BDEFS in a larger sample is advised. (PsycINFO Database Record
Vélez-Pastrana, María C.; González, Rafael A.; Cardona, Javier Rodríguez; Baerga, Paloma Purcell; Rodríguez, Ángel Alicea; Levin, Frances R.
Performance-based measures have shown some limitation in the assessment of Executive Functions (EF) and rating scales have been proposed as an alternative. Our aim was to conduct a comprehensive psychometric evaluation of the Barkley Deficits in Executive Functioning Scale (BDEFS), as administered in 452 Latino community adults (65.5% female). The BDEFS was back-translated into Spanish. We performed exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to assess the structure of the translated BDEFS and to compare it with the original 5-factor structure based on the English language version. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed to test the original language structure of the instrument, and also a modified version with items that loaded equally in both versions. The Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS) was used to screen for ADHD symptoms. We assessed invariance on the latent factor’s mean by age and gender, and to estimate associations with ADHD symptom dimensions. The 5-factor structure of the BDEFS was partially supported by EFA/CFA, in which 78 out of 89 items loaded similar to the original English language structure. Factor scores were significantly associated with ADHD symptom dimensions. Model-based contrasts revealed that inattention was primarily associated with disorganization, time-management and motivational aspects of EF; hyperactivity was predominantly related to self-restraint and self-regulation factors. The BDEFS seemingly assesses similar dimensions of the EF construct in English and in the present Spanish language versions. Factor scores were differentially associated with ADHD subtypes. Replication and confirmation of the Spanish language BDEFS in a larger sample is advised. PMID:26302104
In this paper it is proposed that the prefrontal lobe participates in two closely related but different executive function abilities: (1) "metacognitive executive functions": problem solving, planning, concept formation, strategy development and implementation, controlling attention, working memory, and the like; that is, executive functions as…
Hass, Michael R.; Patterson, Ashlea; Sukraw, Jocelyn; Sullivan, Brianna M.
Despite the common usage of the term "executive functioning" in neuropsychology, several aspects of this concept remain unsettled. In this paper, we will address some of the issues surrounding the notion of executive functioning and how an understanding of executive functioning and its components might assist school-based practitioners…
... 29 Labor 2 2014-07-01 2014-07-01 false Executive functions. 452.19 Section 452.19 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.19 Executive functions. The definitional phrase... other executive functions of a labor organization” brings within the term “officer” any person who...
... 29 Labor 2 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Executive functions. 452.19 Section 452.19 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.19 Executive functions. The definitional phrase... other executive functions of a labor organization” brings within the term “officer” any person who...
... 29 Labor 2 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Executive functions. 452.19 Section 452.19 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.19 Executive functions. The definitional phrase... other executive functions of a labor organization” brings within the term “officer” any person who...
... 29 Labor 2 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Executive functions. 452.19 Section 452.19 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.19 Executive functions. The definitional phrase... other executive functions of a labor organization” brings within the term “officer” any person who...
... 29 Labor 2 2012-07-01 2012-07-01 false Executive functions. 452.19 Section 452.19 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.19 Executive functions. The definitional phrase... other executive functions of a labor organization” brings within the term “officer” any person who...
Executive development programs (EDPs) have undergone significant change since their introduction in the early 20th century. As an adjunct or alternative to traditional education, EDPs are considered an efficient means of imparting critical, functional, and social-behavior skills to current and future organizational leaders. Consequently, such…
Ferrara, R; Ansermet, F; Massoni, F; Petrone, L; Onofri, E; Ricci, P; Archer, T; Ricci, S
Earliest notions concerning autism (Autism Spectrum Disorders, ASD) describe the disturbance in executive functioning. Despite altered definition, executive functioning, expressed as higher cognitive skills required complex behaviors linked to the prefrontal cortex, are defective in autism. Specific difficulties in children presenting autism or verbal disabilities at executive functioning levels have been identified. Nevertheless, the developmental deficit of executive functioning in autism is highly diversified with huge individual variation and may even be absent. The aim of the present study to examine the current standing of intact executive functioning intact in ASD.
Gaines, K Drorit; Soper, Henry V
Assessment of executive functions in the adult is best captured at the stage where full maturation of brain development occurs. Assessment of executive functions of children, however, is considerably more complicated. First, assessment of executive functioning in children represents a snapshot of these developing functions at a particular time linked stage, which may have implications for further development. Second, neuropsychological measures available to assess executive functions in children are limited in number and scope and may not be sensitive to the gradual developmental changes. The present article provides an overview of the salient neurodevelopmental stages of executive functioning and discusses the utilization of recently developed neuropsychological measures to assess these stages. Comments on clinical implications of these findings regarding Traumatic Brain Injury will be provided.
Hippolyte, L.; Iglesias, K.; Van der Linden, M.; Barisnikov, K.
Background: Although the prevalence of mental illness and behaviour problems is lower in adults with Down syndrome (DS) than in other populations with intellectual disabilities, they do present emotional and relational problems, as well as social integration difficulties. However, studies reporting on specific competences known to be central in…
Xu, Xia; Deng, Zhang-Yan; Huang, Qin; Zhang, Wei-Xia; Qi, Chang-Zhu; Huang, Jia-Ai
People with cognitive deficits or executive dysfunction are often overweight or obese. Several human neuroimaging studies have found that executive function (EF) predicts food intake and weight gain; however, fewer studies have investigated the relationship between EF and weight loss. The Stroop task is a classic measure of EF that is used in many neuroimaging studies. In the present work, functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) data were collected during performance of the Stroop task from a sample of overweight or obese adolescents and young adults (n=31) who participated in a summer fitness and weight loss camp. We assessed the Stroop effect by interference in the reaction time (RT) to visual challenges, and by alterations in levels of oxygenated hemoglobin, as detected by fNIRS. In line with previous studies, we found that the Stroop effect was successfully induced by different visual task conditions among obese/overweight individuals. Moreover, our results reveal that better Stroop task performance is correlated with greater weight loss over a4-weekfitness intervention. Indeed, behavioral data demonstrated that reduced RT interference predicted a greater percentage of weight loss. Moreover, overweight/obese individuals with a greater hemodynamic response in the left ventrolateral and bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex due to the Stroop effect lost more weight during the short-term fitness intervention than participants with lower levels of activation of these neural regions. Overall, our results support a role for prefrontal cortex-mediated EF in influencing food intake and weight loss outcomes in a population of a previously unstudied age.
Ellis, Carilyn; Hoffman, William; Jaehnert, Sarah; Plagge, Jane; Loftis, Jennifer M.; Schwartz, Daniel; Huckans, Marilyn
Objectives Compared with non-addicted controls (CTLs), adults in remission from methamphetamine addiction (MA-REM) evidence impairments on objective measures of executive functioning and impulsivity. Methods To evaluate the impact of these impairments in MA-REM adults, demographically matched groups (MA-REM, n=30; CTLs, n=24) completed objective and self-report measures of executive functioning and impulsivity. Results MA-REM adults demonstrated significantly (p < 0.050) greater objective and subjective problems with executive functioning and impulsivity. Conclusions These results suggest that adults in MA-REM are aware of their deficits and that these deficits have significant impact in everyday life. PMID:27034621
Crane, Laura; Pring, Linda; Ryder, Nicola; Hermelin, Beate
Although executive functions have been widely studied in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), there have been no direct empirical studies of executive abilities in savants with ASD. This study assessed three facets of executive ability (fluency, perseveration and monitoring) in savant artists with ASD, compared to non-talented adults…
Daamen, Marcel; Bäuml, Josef G.; Scheef, Lukas; Meng, Chun; Jurcoane, Alina; Jaekel, Julia; Sorg, Christian; Busch, Barbara; Baumann, Nicole; Bartmann, Peter; Wolke, Dieter; Wohlschläger, Afra; Boecker, Henning
Very preterm birth is associated with an increased prevalence of attention problems and may especially impair executive attention, i.e., top-down control of attentional selection in situations where distracting information interferes with the processing of task-relevant stimuli. While there are initial findings linking structural brain alterations in preterm-born individuals with attention problems, the functional basis of these problems are not well understood. The present study used an fMRI adaptation of the Attentional Network Test to examine the neural correlates of executive attention in a large sample of N = 86 adults born very preterm and/or with very low birth weight (VP/VLBW), and N = 100 term-born controls. Executive attention was measured by comparing task behavior and brain activations associated with the processing of incongruent vs. congruent arrow flanker stimuli. Consistent with subtle impairments of executive attention, the VP/VLBW group showed lower accuracy and a tendency for increased response times during the processing of incongruent stimuli. Both groups showed similar activation patters, especially within expected fronto-cingulo-parietal areas, but no significant between-group differences. Our results argue for a maintained attention-relevant network organization in high-functioning preterm born adults in spite of subtle deficits in executive attention. Gestational age and neonatal treatment variables showed associations with task behavior, and brain activation in the dorsal ACC and lateral occipital areas, suggesting that the degree of prematurity (and related neonatal complications) has subtle modulatory influences on executive attention processing. PMID:26640769
Baggetta, Peter; Alexander, Patricia A.
Executive function is comprised of different behavioral and cognitive elements and is considered to play a significant role in learning and academic achievement. Educational researchers frequently study the construct. However, because of its complexity functionally, the research on executive function can at times be both confusing and…
Engelhardt, Laura E.; Briley, Daniel A.; Mann, Frank D.; Harden, K. Paige; Tucker-Drob, Elliot M.
Individual differences in children's executive functions (EFs) are relevant for a wide range of normal and disordered psychological outcomes across the lifespan, but the origins of variation in child EFs are not well understood. We used a racially and socioeconomically diverse sample of 505 3rd-8th grade twins from the Texas Twin Project to estimate genetic and environmental influences on a common EF factor and on variance unique to four core EF domains: Inhibition, Switching, Working Memory, and Updating. As has been previously demonstrated in young adults, the common EF factor was 100% heritable, indicating that correlations among the four EF domains are entirely attributable to shared genetic etiology. Nonshared environmental influences were evident for variance unique to individual domains. General EF may thus serve as an early life marker of genetic propensity for a range of functions and pathologies later in life. PMID:26246520
Sorel, Olivier; Pennequin, Valerie
This study tested whether the aging of executive functioning is linked to the decline in planning performance. Participants were divided into three groups: group 1 composed of 15 adults with a mean age of 22.7 years, group 2 composed of 15 adults with a mean age of 68.1 years and group 3 composed of 16 adults with a mean age of 78.75 years. Each…
Lewis, Charlie; Koyasu, Masuo; Oh, Seungmi; Ogawa, Ayako; Short, Benjamin; Huang, Zhao
Much of the evidence from the West has shown links between children's developing self-control (executive function), their social experiences, and their social understanding (Carpendale & Lewis, 2006, chapters 5 and 6), across a range of cultures including China. This chapter describes four studies conducted in three Oriental cultures, suggesting that the relationships among social interaction, executive function, and social understanding are different in these cultures, implying that social and executive skills are underpinned by key cultural processes.
Pavão Martins, Isabel; Maruta, Carolina; Freitas, Vanda; Mares, Inês
Evaluation of executive functions is essential in clinical diagnosis, yet there are limited data regarding the performance of participants with low education. We present results on several measures of executive functions obtained in community-dwelling adults with an overall low education and study the effect of this variable in each test. A sample of 479 adults (64% female, mean age 66.4 years) was assessed by a battery comprising 13 measures of executive function (Trail Making Test; Symbol Search; Matrix reasoning; Semantic and phonemic verbal fluencies; Stroop test; and digit spans). Tests' psychometric properties and the effects of age, gender, and education were studied across education levels within each age group. Tests showed good psychometric properties. Education explained more variance than age in the majority of measures, with lower educational levels being significantly associated to worse scores. Tables are presented with mean scores, standard deviation, and the value of extreme percentiles for younger (50-65, N = 232) and older (>65 years, N = 247) × education (0-3, 4, 5-9, and >9 years) subgroups. Education-adjusted norms are necessary for an adequate interpretation of test results. The present data may be useful for clinicians caring for populations with low literacy.
Lopez, Brian R.; Lincoln, Alan J.; Ozonoff, Sally; Lai, Zona
The executive function theory was utilized to examine the relationship between cognitive process and the restricted, repetitive symptoms of Autistic Disorder (AD). Seventeen adults with AD were compared to 17 nonautistic controls on a new executive function battery (Delis-Kaplin Executive Function Scales). Restricted, repetitive symptoms were…
Petty, Ana Lucia; de Souza, Maria Thereza C. Coelho
The aim of this paper is to discuss executive functions and playing games, considering Piaget's work (1967) and the neuropsychological framework (Barkley, 1997, 2000; Cypel, 2007). Two questions guide the discussion: What are the intersections between playing games and the development of executive functions? Can we stimulate children with learning…
Raffard, Stephane; Bayard, Sophie
Schizophrenia is characterized by heterogeneous brain abnormalities involving cerebral regions implied in the executive functioning. The dysexecutive syndrome is one of the most prominent and functionally cognitive features of schizophrenia. Nevertheless, it is not clear to what extend executive deficits are heterogeneous in schizophrenia…
Foy, Judith G.; Mann, Virginia A.
The purpose of this study was to examine how executive function skills in verbal and nonverbal auditory tasks are related to early reading skills in beginning readers. Kindergarteners (N = 41, aged 5 years) completed verbal (phonemes) and nonverbal (environmental sounds) Continuous Performance tasks yielding measures of executive function (misses,…
Tate, Eleanor B.; Unger, Jennifer B.; Chou, Chih-Ping; Spruijt-Metz, Donna; Pentz, Mary Ann; Riggs, Nathaniel R.
Objective: This study tested the relationships among child executive function (EF), child-perceived parent fast food intake, and child self-reported subsequent consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient (HCLN) food. Design: One year and 6-month longitudinal observation from a larger randomized controlled trial. Setting. Southern California…
Finnanger, Torun Gangaune; Olsen, Alexander; Skandsen, Toril; Lydersen, Stian; Vik, Anne; Evensen, Kari Anne I.; Catroppa, Cathy; Håberg, Asta K.; Andersson, Stein; Indredavik, Marit S.
Survivors of moderate-severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are at risk for long-term cognitive, emotional, and behavioural problems. This prospective cohort study investigated self-reported executive, emotional, and behavioural problems in the late chronic phase of moderate and severe TBI, if demographic characteristics (i.e., age, years of education), injury characteristics (Glasgow Coma Scale score, MRI findings such as traumatic axonal injury (TAI), or duration of posttraumatic amnesia), symptoms of depression, or neuropsychological variables in the first year after injury predicted long-term self-reported function. Self-reported executive, emotional, and behavioural functioning were assessed among individuals with moderate and severe TBI (N = 67, age range 15–65 years at time of injury) 2–5 years after TBI, compared to a healthy matched control group (N = 72). Results revealed significantly more attentional, emotional regulation, and psychological difficulties in the TBI group than controls. Demographic and early clinical variables were associated with poorer cognitive and emotional outcome. Fewer years of education and depressive symptoms predicted greater executive dysfunction. Younger age at injury predicted more aggressive and rule-breaking behaviour. TAI and depressive symptoms predicted Internalizing problems and greater executive dysfunction. In conclusion, age, education, TAI, and depression appear to elevate risk for poor long-term outcome, emphasising the need for long-term follow-up of patients presenting with risk factors. PMID:26549936
Phillips, David Spencer
The effect of physical activity (PA) and consequent influence on cognition within adult seniors has been widely published. However, there is a paucity of causal research relating PA and cognition to schoolchildren within an authentic setting. Also, little is known about the required intensity and dosage of PA to effect executive function (EF)…
Ahmed, Fayeza S.; Miller, L. Stephen
This study examined the relationship between Executive Function (EF) and Theory of Mind (ToM) using the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) and three tests of ToM (Reading the Mind in the Eyes test (RMET), Strange Stories test, and Faux Pas test). Separate regression analyses were conducted, and EF predictors varied by ToM test. No EF…
Hawkes, Teresa D; Manselle, Wayne; Woollacott, Marjorie H
This cross-sectional field study documented the effect of long-term t'ai chi, meditation, or aerobic exercise training versus a sedentary lifestyle on executive function. It was predicted that long-term training in t'ai chi and meditation plus exercise would produce greater benefits to executive function than aerobic exercise. T'ai chi and meditation plus exercise include mental and physical training. Fifty-four volunteers were tested: t'ai chi (n=10); meditation+exercise (n=16); aerobic exercisers (n=16); and sedentary controls (n=12). A one-factor (group), one-covariate (age) multivariate analysis of covariance was performed. Significant main effects of group and age were found (group, 67.9%, p<0.001; age, 76.3%, p=0.001). T'ai chi and meditation practitioners but not aerobic exercisers outperformed sedentary controls on percent switch costs (p=0.001 and p=0.006, respectively), suggesting that there may be differential effects of training type on executive function.
Bettcher, Brianne M; Mungas, Dan; Patel, Nihar; Elofson, Jonathan; Dutt, Shubir; Wynn, Matthew; Watson, Christa L; Stephens, Melanie; Walsh, Christine M; Kramer, Joel H
Executive functions are often considered lynchpin "frontal lobe tasks", despite accumulating evidence that a broad network of anterior and posterior brain structures supports them. Using a latent variable modelling approach, we assessed whether prefrontal grey matter volumes independently predict executive function performance when statistically differentiated from global atrophy and individual non-frontal lobar volume contributions. We further examined whether fronto-parietal white matter microstructure underlies and independently contributes to executive functions. We developed a latent variable model to decompose lobar grey matter volumes into a global grey matter factor and specific lobar volumes (i.e. prefrontal, parietal, temporal, occipital) that were independent of global grey matter. We then added mean fractional anisotropy (FA) for the superior longitudinal fasciculus (dorsal portion), corpus callosum, and cingulum bundle (dorsal portion) to models that included grey matter volumes related to cognitive variables in previous analyses. Results suggested that the 2-factor model (shifting/inhibition, updating/working memory) plus an information processing speed factor best explained our executive function data in a sample of 202 community dwelling older adults, and was selected as the base measurement model for further analyses. Global grey matter was related to the executive function and speed variables in all four lobar models, but independent contributions of the frontal lobes were not significant. In contrast, when assessing the effect of white matter microstructure, cingulum FA made significant independent contributions to all three executive function and speed variables and corpus callosum FA was independently related to shifting/inhibition and speed. Findings from the current study indicate that while prefrontal grey matter volumes are significantly associated with cognitive neuroscience measures of shifting/inhibition and working memory in healthy
This chapter provides an overview of key principles and practices in executive coaching. Coaching is discussed as a reflective learning opportunity and offers the theoretical grounding, strategies, and case studies for each of four key elements of a coaching engagement.
Mason, Barbara J; Crean, Rebecca; Goodell, Vivian; Light, John M; Quello, Susan; Shadan, Farhad; Buffkins, Kimberly; Kyle, Mark; Adusumalli, Murali; Begovic, Adnan; Rao, Santosh
There are no FDA-approved pharmacotherapies for cannabis dependence. Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and patients seeking treatment for primary cannabis dependence represent 25% of all substance use admissions. We conducted a phase IIa proof-of-concept pilot study to examine the safety and efficacy of a calcium channel/GABA modulating drug, gabapentin, for the treatment of cannabis dependence. A 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in 50 unpaid treatment-seeking male and female outpatients, aged 18-65 years, diagnosed with current cannabis dependence. Subjects received either gabapentin (1200 mg/day) or matched placebo. Manual-guided, abstinence-oriented individual counseling was provided weekly to all participants. Cannabis use was measured by weekly urine toxicology and by self-report using the Timeline Followback Interview. Cannabis withdrawal symptoms were assessed using the Marijuana Withdrawal Checklist. Executive function was measured using subtests from the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System. Relative to placebo, gabapentin significantly reduced cannabis use as measured both by urine toxicology (p=0.001) and by the Timeline Followback Interview (p=0.004), and significantly decreased withdrawal symptoms as measured by the Marijuana Withdrawal Checklist (p<0.001). Gabapentin was also associated with significantly greater improvement in overall performance on tests of executive function (p=0.029). This POC pilot study provides preliminary support for the safety and efficacy of gabapentin for treatment of cannabis dependence that merits further study, and provides an alternative conceptual framework for treatment of addiction aimed at restoring homeostasis in brain stress systems that are dysregulated in drug dependence and withdrawal.
Whiteside, Douglas M; Kealey, Tammy; Semla, Matthew; Luu, Hien; Rice, Linda; Basso, Michael R; Roper, Brad
Measures of phonemic and semantic verbal fluency, such as FAS and Animal Fluency (Benton, Hamsher, & Sivan, 1989), are often thought to be measures of executive functioning (EF). However, some studies (Henry & Crawford, 2004a , 2004b , 2004c ) have noted there is also a language component to these tasks. The current exploratory factor-analytic study examined the underlying cognitive structure of verbal fluency. Participants were administered language and EF measures, including the Controlled Oral Word Association Test (FAS version), Animal Fluency, Boston Naming Test (BNT), Vocabulary (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III), Wisconsin Card-Sorting Test (WCST, perseverative responses), and Trail-Making Test-Part B (TMT-B). A 2-factor solution was found with the 1st factor, language, having significant loadings for BNT and Vocabulary, while the second factor was labeled EF because of significant loading from the WCST and TMT-B. Surprisingly, FAS and Animal Fluency loaded exclusively on to the language factor and not EF. The current results do not exclude EF as a determinant of verbal fluency, but they do suggest that language processing is the critical component for this task, even without significant aphasic symptoms. Thus, the results indicated that both letter (phonemic) and category (semantic) fluency are related to language, but the relationship to EF is not supported by the results.
Figueras, Berta; Edwards, Lindsey; Langdon, Dawn
The relationship between language and executive function (EF) and their development in children have been the focus of recent debate and are of theoretical and clinical importance. Exploration of these functions in children with a peripheral hearing loss has the potential to be informative from both perspectives. This study compared the EF and…
The National Academy of Neuropsychology defines clinical neuropsychology as "a sub-field of psychology concerned with the applied science of brain-behavior relationships. Clinical neuropsychologists use this knowledge in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and/or rehabilitation of patients across the lifespan with neurological, medical, neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, as well as other cognitive and learning disorders" (National Academy of Neuropsychology, 2011 ). Pediatric neuropsychologists have long been concerned about another area of functionality, making their recommendations educationally relevant. This article describes accommodated metacognitive instruction, a pedagogy based on cognitive neuropsychological principles of learning and used to instruct college faculty on a methodology for teaching in all-inclusive environments.
Conway, Anne; Stifter, Cynthia A
Despite an extensive history underscoring the role of social processes and child contributions to the development of executive functions (C. Lewis & J. Carpendale, 2009; L. S. Vygotsky, 1987), research on these relations is sparse. To address this gap, 68 mother-child dyads were examined to determine whether maternal attention-directing behaviors (attention maintaining, attention redirection) and toddlers' temperament predicted executive processes during preschool (mean age = 4.5 years, SD = 0.46)-delay and conflict inhibition. Maternal attention maintaining was associated with high levels of conflict inhibition for inhibited and exuberant children, whereas attention redirection was associated with low levels of delay and conflict inhibition for inhibited children. Therefore, maternal attention-directing behaviors may enhance the development of executive functions but only for children with inhibited and exuberant temperaments.
Best, John R
The current study examined an important aspect of experience--physical activity--that may contribute to children's executive function. The design attempted to tease apart 2 important aspects of children's exercise by examining the separate and combined effects of acute physical activity and cognitive engagement on an aspect of children's executive functioning. In a 2 × 2 within-subject experimental design, children (N = 33, 6 to 10 years old) completed activities that varied systematically in both physical activity (physically active video games versus sedentary video activities) and cognitive engagement (challenging and interactive video games versus repetitive video activities). Cognitive functioning, including executive function, was assessed after each activity by a modified flanker task (Rueda et al., 2004). Whereas cognitive engagement had no effect on any aspect of task performance, physical activity (i.e., exergaming) enhanced children's speed to resolve interference from conflicting visuospatial stimuli. Age comparisons indicated improvements with age in the accuracy of resolving interference and in overall response time. The results extend past research by showing more precisely how physical activity influences executive function and how this effect differs from the improvements that occur with development.
Best, John R.; Miller, Patricia H.
This review article examines theoretical and methodological issues in the construction of a developmental perspective on executive function (EF) in childhood and adolescence. Unlike most reviews of EF, which focus on preschoolers, this review focuses on studies that include large age ranges. It outlines the development of the foundational…
Menghini, D.; Addona, F.; Costanzo, F.; Vicari, S.
Background: The present study was aimed at investigating working memory (WM) and executive functions capacities in individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) as compared with mental-age matched typically developing (TD) children. Method: In order to serve the study goal, a sizeable battery of tasks tapping WM as well as attention, memory, planning,…
Cuevas, Kimberly; Bell, Martha Ann
Individual differences in infant attention are theorized to reflect the speed of information processing and are related to later cognitive abilities (i.e., memory, language, and intelligence). This study provides the first systematic longitudinal analysis of infant attention and early childhood executive function (EF; e.g., working memory,…
Accessible and practical, this book helps teachers incorporate executive function processes--such as planning, organizing, prioritizing, and self-checking--into the classroom curriculum. Chapters provide effective strategies for optimizing what K-12 students learn by improving how they learn. Noted authority Lynn Meltzer and her research…
Conway, Anne; Stifter, Cynthia A.
Despite an extensive history underscoring the role of social processes and child contributions to the development of executive functions (C. Lewis & J. Carpendale, 2009; L. S. Vygotsky, 1987), research on these relations is sparse. To address this gap, 68 mother-child dyads were examined to determine whether maternal attention-directing behaviors…
Rhodes, Sinéad M; Booth, Josephine N; Palmer, Lorna Elise; Blythe, Richard A; Delibegovic, Mirela; Wheate, Nial J
We examined the relationship between executive functions and both factual and conceptual learning of science, specifically chemistry, in early adolescence. Sixty-three pupils in their second year of secondary school (aged 12-13 years) participated. Pupils completed tasks of working memory (Spatial Working Memory), inhibition (Stop-Signal), attention set-shifting (ID/ED), and planning (Stockings of Cambridge), from the CANTAB. They also participated in a chemistry teaching session, practical, and assessment on the topic of acids and alkalis designed specifically for this study. Executive function data were related to (1) the chemistry assessment which included aspects of factual and conceptual learning and (2) a recent school science exam. Correlational analyses between executive functions and both the chemistry assessment and science grades revealed that science achievements were significantly correlated with working memory. Linear regression analysis revealed that visuospatial working memory ability was predictive of chemistry performance. Interestingly, this relationship was observed solely in relation to the conceptual learning condition of the assessment highlighting the role of executive functions in understanding and applying knowledge about what is learned within science teaching.
Carney, Daniel P. J.; Brown, Janice H.; Henry, Lucy A.
Williams (WS) and Down (DS) syndromes are characterised by roughly opposing ability profiles. Relative verbal strengths and visuospatial difficulties have been reported in those with WS, while expressive language difficulties have been observed in individuals with DS. Few investigations into the executive function (EF) skills of these groups have…
Willoughby, Michael; Holochwost, Steven J.; Blanton, Zane E.; Blair, Clancy B.
The primary objective of this article was to critically evaluate the routine use of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) for representing an individual's performance across a battery of executive function tasks. A conceptual review and statistical reanalysis of N = 10 studies that used CFA methods of EF tasks was undertaken. Despite evidence of…
Fossati, P; Ergis, A M; Allilaire, J F
While several neuropsychological studies have demonstrated that cognitive deficits are seen across a broad range of cognitive domains, executive deficits associated with frontal lobe dysfunction may be prominent in depression. Executive function refers to cognitive processes that control and integrate other cognitive activities such as episodic memory. These executive functions involve a set of cognitive behaviors which include: dealing with novelty, selecting strategies, inhibiting incorrect responses, monitoring performance and using feedback to adjust future responding. The measurement of executive function relies mainly on the use of neuropsychological tests known to be sensitive to frontal lobe damage such as the Wisconsin and California Card Sorting Tests, verbal fluency tests, Stroop-test, Tower of London Task and Trail Making Test. The present review focuses on studies investigating executive functions in primary unipolar depression with these neuropsychological tasks. Unipolar depressed patients mainly exhibit cognitive inhibition deficits, problem-solving impairments and planning deficits. Cognitive inhibition deficits in depressed patients have been related to a reduction of cognitive resources and psychomotor retardation. Inhibition disturbance could lead depressed patients to process irrelevant information and consequently reduce their capacity to control transient mood changes. Several studies have found evidence of problem solving impairments in depressed patients. Depressed subjects show with card sorting tests difficulties in hypothesis testing with a loss of spontaneous and reactive cognitive flexibility. The cognitive rigidity and hypothesis-testing associated with dorsolateral prefrontal dysfunction in depression may prevent patients to cope with life events and lead to a perpetuation of depressed mood by a continuation of stress exposure. Planning tasks, such as the Tower of London Test, also demonstrate that depressed patients fail to use
Duijkers, Judith C. L. M.; Vissers, Constance Th. W. M.; Egger, Jos I. M.
In mental health, the term dual-diagnosis is used for the co-occurrence of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) with another mental disorder. These co-occurring disorders can have a shared cause, and can cause/intensify each other’s expression. Forming a threat to health and society, dual-diagnosis is associated with relapses in addiction-related behavior and a destructive lifestyle. This is due to a persistent failure to control impulses and the maintaining of inadequate self-regulatory behavior in daily life. Thus, several aspects of executive functioning like inhibitory, shifting and updating processes seem impaired in dual-diagnosis. Executive (dys-)function is currently even seen as a shared underlying key component of most mental disorders. However, the number of studies on diverse aspects of executive functioning in dual-diagnosis is limited. In the present review, a systematic overview of various aspects of executive functioning in dual-diagnosis is presented, striving for a prototypical profile of patients with dual-diagnosis. Looking at empirical results, inhibitory and shifting processes appear to be impaired for SUD combined with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or cluster B personality disorders. Studies involving updating process tasks for dual-diagnosis were limited. More research that zooms in to the full diversity of these executive functions is needed in order to strengthen these findings. Detailed insight in the profile of strengths and weaknesses that underlies one’s behavior and is related to diagnostic classifications, can lead to tailor-made assessment and indications for treatment, pointing out which aspects need attention and/or training in one’s self-regulative abilities. PMID:27445939
Lepach, Anja C; Pauls, Franz; Petermann, Franz
The matter of modality is controversially discussed in the context of working memory (WM). There is evidence that modality-specific processes are accompanied by amodal processes to some extent. We investigated the relationship between executive-functioning tasks and visual WM (VWM) and were especially interested in the issue of amodal processes. Our correlational analyses suggest modality-independent relations of the tasks. We also aimed to quantify to what extent executive functioning is meaningful for VWM performances. We therefore estimated the relationship between executive tasks and VWM performances in a healthy (n = 710) and a clinical traumatic brain injury sample (n = 151) as well as in the combined total sample. The results indicate a substantial relevance of the verbal task for VWM performances in the total and the clinical sample but a low relevance in the healthy sample. These results could support assumptions of resource-depending differences in the relations of executive functioning and VWM but need further validation due to limitations of our study.
Verburgh, Lot; Scherder, Erik J A; van Lange, Paul A M; Oosterlaan, Jaap
Executive functions might be important for successful performance in sports, particularly in team sports requiring quick anticipation and adaptation to continuously changing situations in the field. The executive functions motor inhibition, attention and visuospatial working memory were examined in highly talented soccer players. Eighty-four highly talented youth soccer players (mean age 11.9), and forty-two age-matched amateur soccer players (mean age 11.8) in the age range 8 to 16 years performed a Stop Signal task (motor inhibition), the Attention Network Test (alerting, orienting, and executive attention) and a visuospatial working memory task. The highly talented soccer players followed the talent development program of the youth academy of a professional soccer club and played at the highest national soccer competition for their age. The amateur soccer players played at a regular soccer club in the same geographical region as the highly talented soccer players and play in a regular regional soccer competition. Group differences were tested using analyses of variance. The highly talented group showed superior motor inhibition as measured by stop signal reaction time (SSRT) on the Stop Signal task and a larger alerting effect on the Attention Network Test, indicating an enhanced ability to attain and maintain an alert state. No group differences were found for orienting and executive attention and visuospatial working memory. A logistic regression model with group (highly talented or amateur) as dependent variable and executive function measures that significantly distinguished between groups as predictors showed that these measures differentiated highly talented soccer players from amateur soccer players with 89% accuracy. Highly talented youth soccer players outperform youth amateur players on suppressing ongoing motor responses and on the ability to attain and maintain an alert state; both may be essential for success in soccer.
Verburgh, Lot; Scherder, Erik J. A.; van Lange, Paul A.M.; Oosterlaan, Jaap
Executive functions might be important for successful performance in sports, particularly in team sports requiring quick anticipation and adaptation to continuously changing situations in the field. The executive functions motor inhibition, attention and visuospatial working memory were examined in highly talented soccer players. Eighty-four highly talented youth soccer players (mean age 11.9), and forty-two age-matched amateur soccer players (mean age 11.8) in the age range 8 to 16 years performed a Stop Signal task (motor inhibition), the Attention Network Test (alerting, orienting, and executive attention) and a visuospatial working memory task. The highly talented soccer players followed the talent development program of the youth academy of a professional soccer club and played at the highest national soccer competition for their age. The amateur soccer players played at a regular soccer club in the same geographical region as the highly talented soccer players and play in a regular regional soccer competition. Group differences were tested using analyses of variance. The highly talented group showed superior motor inhibition as measured by stop signal reaction time (SSRT) on the Stop Signal task and a larger alerting effect on the Attention Network Test, indicating an enhanced ability to attain and maintain an alert state. No group differences were found for orienting and executive attention and visuospatial working memory. A logistic regression model with group (highly talented or amateur) as dependent variable and executive function measures that significantly distinguished between groups as predictors showed that these measures differentiated highly talented soccer players from amateur soccer players with 89% accuracy. Highly talented youth soccer players outperform youth amateur players on suppressing ongoing motor responses and on the ability to attain and maintain an alert state; both may be essential for success in soccer. PMID:24632735
Mateer, C A
Individuals with frontal lobe impairments often demonstrate a variety of disorders of executive function that pose significant challenges to rehabilitation. Impairments in initiation, sequencing, impulse control, attention, prospective memory, and self-awareness frequently manifest in disorganized and maladaptive behaviors that severely impact many aspects of adaptive functioning. A greater awareness of the nature of these deficits, improved tools for evaluation, and an increased interest in rehabilitation have led to the development of both specific strategies and general schemas for treating and managing executive function deficits. Studies supporting the use of environmental manipulations, compensatory strategy training, and techniques to improve underlying skills, including attention and prospective memory, are described. An overarching strategy for working with individuals with impaired executive functions is proposed, based on the individual's level of awareness and context dependency. Rehabilitation is conceptualized as a set of activities, which assist the individual in moving from a more dependent, externally supported state to a more independent, internally supported and self-regulated state through the systematic shift in external to internal regulation of behavior. Successful movement along this continuum is variable across cases, but the literature suggests that significant gains in function and behavior are possible.
Multiple roads lead to Rome: combined high-intensity aerobic and strength training vs. gross motor activities leads to equivalent improvement in executive functions in a cohort of healthy older adults.
Berryman, Nicolas; Bherer, Louis; Nadeau, Sylvie; Lauzière, Séléna; Lehr, Lora; Bobeuf, Florian; Lussier, Maxime; Kergoat, Marie Jeanne; Vu, Thien Tuong Minh; Bosquet, Laurent
The effects of physical activity on cognition in older adults have been extensively investigated in the last decade. Different interventions such as aerobic, strength, and gross motor training programs have resulted in improvements in cognitive functions. However, the mechanisms underlying the relationship between physical activity and cognition are still poorly understood. Recently, it was shown that acute bouts of exercise resulted in reduced executive control at higher relative exercise intensities. Considering that aging is characterized by a reduction in potential energy ([Formula: see text] max - energy cost of walking), which leads to higher relative walking intensity for the same absolute speed, it could be argued that any intervention aimed at reducing the relative intensity of the locomotive task would improve executive control while walking. The objective of the present study was to determine the effects of a short-term (8 weeks) high-intensity strength and aerobic training program on executive functions (single and dual task) in a cohort of healthy older adults. Fifty-one participants were included and 47 (age, 70.7 ± 5.6) completed the study which compared the effects of three interventions: lower body strength + aerobic training (LBS-A), upper body strength + aerobic training (UBS-A), and gross motor activities (GMA). Training sessions were held 3 times every week. Both physical fitness (aerobic, neuromuscular, and body composition) and cognitive functions (RNG) during a dual task were assessed before and after the intervention. Even though the LBS-A and UBS-A interventions increased potential energy to a higher level (Effect size: LBS-A-moderate, UBS-A-small, GMA-trivial), all groups showed equivalent improvement in cognitive function, with inhibition being more sensitive to the intervention. These findings suggest that different exercise programs targeting physical fitness and/or gross motor skills may lead to equivalent improvement in
Mukherjee, Shubhabrata; Kim, Sungeun; Gibbons, Laura E; Nho, Kwangsik; Risacher, Shannon L; Glymour, M Maria; Habeck, Christian; Lee, Grace J; Mormino, Elizabeth; Ertekin-Taner, Nilüfer; Montine, Thomas J; Decarli, Charles; Saykin, Andrew J; Crane, Paul K
The genetic basis of resilience, defined as better cognitive functioning than predicted based on neuroimaging or neuropathology, is not well understood. Our objective was to identify genetic variation associated with executive functioning resilience. We computed residuals from regression models of executive functioning, adjusting for age, sex, education, Hachinski score, and MRI findings (lacunes, cortical thickness, volumes of white matter hyperintensities and hippocampus). We estimated heritability and analyzed these residuals in models for each SNP. We further evaluated our most promising SNP result by evaluating cis-associations with brain levels of nearby (±100 kb) genes from a companion data set, and comparing expression levels in cortex and cerebellum from decedents with AD with those from other non-AD diseases. Complete data were available for 750 ADNI participants of European descent. Executive functioning resilience was highly heritable (H² = 0.76; S.E. = 0.44). rs3748348 on chromosome 14 in the region of RNASE13 was associated with executive functioning resilience (p-value = 4.31 × 10⁻⁷). rs3748348 is in strong linkage disequilibrium (D' of 1.00 and 0.96) with SNPs that map to TPPP2, a member of the α-synuclein family of proteins. We identified nominally significant associations between rs3748348 and expression levels of three genes (FLJ10357, RNASE2, and NDRG2). The strongest association was for FLJ10357 in cortex, which also had the most significant difference in expression between AD and non-AD brains, with greater expression in cortex of decedents with AD (p-value = 7 × 10⁻⁷). Further research is warranted to determine whether this signal can be replicated and whether other loci may be associated with cognitive resilience.
Richland, Lindsey E; Burchinal, Margaret R
Analogical reasoning is a core cognitive skill that distinguishes humans from all other species and contributes to general fluid intelligence, creativity, and adaptive learning capacities. Yet its origins are not well understood. In the study reported here, we analyzed large-scale longitudinal data from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development to test predictors of growth in analogical-reasoning skill from third grade to adolescence. Our results suggest an integrative resolution to the theoretical debate regarding contributory factors arising from smaller-scale, cross-sectional experiments on analogy development. Children with greater executive-function skills (both composite and inhibitory control) and vocabulary knowledge in early elementary school displayed higher scores on a verbal analogies task at age 15 years, even after adjusting for key covariates. We posit that knowledge is a prerequisite to analogy performance, but strong executive-functioning resources during early childhood are related to long-term gains in fundamental reasoning skills.
Cuevas, Kimberly; Bell, Martha Ann
Individual differences in infant attention are theorized to reflect the speed of information processing and are related to later cognitive abilities (i.e., memory, language, intelligence). This study provides the first systematic longitudinal analysis of infant attention and early childhood executive function (EF; e.g., working memory, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility). A group of 5-month-olds (n = 201) were classified as short or long lookers. At 24, 36, and 48 months of age, children completed age-appropriate EF tasks. Infant short lookers (i.e., more efficient information processors) exhibited higher EF throughout early childhood as compared to infant long lookers, even after controlling for verbal ability (a potential indicator of intelligence). These findings are discussed in relation to the emergence of executive attention. PMID:23711103
Riggs, Nathaniel R.; Jahromi, Laudan B.; Razza, Rachel P.; Dillworth-Bart, Janean E.; Mueller, Ulrich
Executive function is understood as an umbrella term encompassing a number of interrelated sub-skills necessary for purposeful, goal-directed activity. Research suggests a vital role for executive function in children's social-emotional development. However, executive function is rarely considered in models of intervention programs that attempt to…
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... 29 Labor 2 2013-07-01 2013-07-01 false Nature of executive functions. 452.20 Section 452.20 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.20 Nature of executive functions. (a) The... being authorized to perform the functions of president if he is the chief or principal executive...
... 29 Labor 2 2011-07-01 2011-07-01 false Nature of executive functions. 452.20 Section 452.20 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.20 Nature of executive functions. (a) The... being authorized to perform the functions of president if he is the chief or principal executive...
... 29 Labor 2 2010-07-01 2010-07-01 false Nature of executive functions. 452.20 Section 452.20 Labor... DISCLOSURE ACT OF 1959 Coverage of Election Provisions § 452.20 Nature of executive functions. (a) The... being authorized to perform the functions of president if he is the chief or principal executive...
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Howard, Steven J; Okely, Anthony D; Ellis, Yvonne G
Despite the prominent role of executive functions in children's emerging competencies, there remains debate regarding the structure and development of executive functions. In an attempt to reconcile these discrepancies, a differentiation model of executive function development was evaluated in the early years using 6-month age groupings. Specifically, 281 preschoolers completed measures of working memory, inhibition, and shifting. Results contradicted suggestions that executive functions follow a single trajectory of progressive separation in childhood, instead suggesting that these functions may undergo a period of integration in the preschool years. These results highlight potential problems with current practices and theorizing in executive function research.
Costanzo, Floriana; Varuzza, Cristiana; Menghini, Deny; Addona, Francesca; Gianesini, Tiziana; Vicari, Stefano
Executive functions are a set of high cognitive abilities that control and regulate other functions and behaviors and are crucial for successful adaptation. Deficits in executive functions are frequently described in developmental disorders, which are characterized by disadaptive behavior. However, executive functions are not widely examined in individuals with intellectual disability. The present study is aimed at evaluating the etiological specificity hypotheses pertaining to executive functions by comparing individuals with intellectual disability of different etiology, as Williams syndrome and Down syndrome, on different aspects of executive functions. To this aim a battery evaluating attention, short-term and working memory, planning, categorization, shifting and inhibition, was administered to 15 children, adolescents and adults with Williams syndrome, to 15 children, adolescents and adults with Down syndrome and to 16 mental-age-matched typically developing children. The two groups with intellectual disability showed impairment in a set of executive functions, as auditory sustained attention, visual selective attention, visual categorization and working memory, and preserved visual sustained attention, auditory selective attention and visual inhibition. However, a distinctive profile has been found between the two syndromic groups on other executive functions. While participants with Down syndrome were poor in shifting and verbal aspects of memory and inhibition, those with Williams syndrome were poor in planning. The specific weakness and straights on executive functions may support the etiological specificity hypothesis accounting for distinctive cognitive development syndrome-specific.
Temple, Christine M.; Shephard, Elizabeth E.
TS school starters had enhanced receptive and expressive language on standardised assessment (CELF-P) and enhanced rhyme judgements, spoonerisms, and lexical decision, indicating enhanced phonological skills and word representations. There was marginal but consistent advantage across lexico-semantic tasks. On executive tasks, speeded naming of…
Nilsen, Elizabeth S; Huyder, Vanessa; McAuley, Tara; Liebermann, Dana
Executive functioning (EF) facilitates the development of academic, cognitive, and social-emotional skills and deficits in EF are implicated in a broad range of child psychopathologies. Although EF has clear implications for early development, the few questionnaires that assess EF in preschoolers tend to ask parents for global judgments of executive dysfunction and thus do not cover the full range of EF within the preschool age group. Here we present a new measure of preschoolers' EF-the Ratings of Everyday Executive Functioning (REEF)-that capitalizes on parents' observations of their preschoolers' (i.e., 3- to 5-year-olds) behavior in specific, everyday contexts. Over 4 studies, items comprising the REEF were refined and the measure's reliability and validity were evaluated. Factor analysis of the REEF yielded 1 factor, with items showing strong internal reliability. More important, children's scores on the REEF related to both laboratory measures of EF and another parent-report EF questionnaire. Moreover, reflecting divergent validity, the REEF was more strongly related to measures of EF as opposed to measures of affective styles. The REEF also captured differences in children's executive skills across the preschool years, and norms at 6-month intervals are reported. In summary, the REEF is a new parent-report measure that provides researchers with an efficient, valid, and reliable means of assessing preschoolers' executive functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record
Gonzalez, Claudia L. R.; Mills, Kelly J.; Genee, Inge; Li, Fangfang; Piquette, Noella; Rosen, Nicole; Gibb, Robbin
Executive Function (EF) refers to important socio-emotional and cognitive skills that are known to be highly correlated with both academic and life success. EF is a blanket term that is considered to include self-regulation, working memory, and planning. Recent studies have shown a relationship between EF and motor control. The emergence of motor control coincides with that of EF, hence understanding the relationship between these two domains could have significant implications for early detection and remediation of later EF deficits. The purpose of the current study was to investigate this relationship in young children. This study incorporated the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) and two motor assessments with a focus on precision grasping to test this hypothesis. The BRIEF is comprised of two indices of EF: (1) the Behavioral Regulation Index (BRI) containing three subscales: Inhibit, Shift, and Emotional Control; (2) the Metacognition Index (MI) containing five subscales: Initiate, Working Memory, Plan/Organize, Organization of Materials, and Monitor. A global executive composite (GEC) is derived from the two indices. In this study, right-handed children aged 5–6 and 9–10 were asked to: grasp-to-construct (Lego® models); and grasp-to-place (wooden blocks), while their parents completed the BRIEF questionnaire. Analysis of results indicated significant correlations between the strength of right hand preference for grasping and numerous elements of the BRIEF including the BRI, MI, and GEC. Specifically, the more the right hand was used for grasping the better the EF ratings. In addition, patterns of space-use correlated with the GEC in several subscales of the BRIEF. Finally and remarkably, the results also showed a reciprocal relationship between hand and space use for grasping and EF. These findings are discussed with respect to: (1) the developmental overlap of motor and executive functions; (2) detection of EF deficits through
Geurts, Hilde M.; Vissers, Marlies E.
Cognitive autism research is mainly focusing on children and young adults even though we know that autism is a life-long disorder and that healthy aging already has a strong impact on cognitive functioning. We compared the neuropsychological profile of 23 individuals with autism and 23 healthy controls (age range 51-83 years). Deficits were…
Qureshi, Adam W.; Apperly, Ian A.; Samson, Dana
Previous research suggests that perspective-taking and other "theory of mind" processes may be cognitively demanding for adult participants, and may be disrupted by concurrent performance of a secondary task. In the current study, a Level-1 visual perspective task was administered to 32 adults using a dual-task paradigm in which the secondary task…
Lantrip, Crystal; Isquith, Peter K; Koven, Nancy S; Welsh, Kathleen; Roth, Robert M
Development of emotion regulation strategy use involves a transition from reliance on suppression during childhood to greater use of reappraisal in adolescence and adulthood-a transition that parallels developmental changes in executive functions. We evaluated the relationship between emotion regulation strategy use and executive functioning in the everyday life of 70 typically developing adolescents who completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire for Youth and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Self-Report. Results indicated that greater reliance on reappraisal was associated with better executive functions, while reliance on suppression was related to poorer executive functions. Findings suggest that adolescents who rely on reappraisal may have more cognitive resources to help them remain attentive and well regulated in their daily lives. On the other hand, if better executive functions facilitate the use of reappraisal, adolescents' ability to regulate their emotions could potentially be enhanced via supports for executive functions.
Lopez, Brian R; Lincoln, Alan J; Ozonoff, Sally; Lai, Zona
The executive function theory was utilized to examine the relationship between cognitive process and the restricted, repetitive symptoms of Autistic Disorder (AD). Seventeen adults with AD were compared to 17 nonautistic controls on a new executive function battery (Delis-Kaplin Executive Function Scales). Restricted, repetitive symptoms were measured by a variety of instruments (i.e., the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, and the Aberrant Behavior Checklist). The study replicated the executive function profile that has been reported in adults with AD. In addition to the replication findings, the study found several executive processes (i.e., cognitive flexibility, working memory, and response inhibition) were highly related to the restrictive, repetitive symptoms of AD; whereas, other executive process (i.e., planning and fluency) were not found to be significantly correlated with restricted, repetitive symptoms. Similarly, we found an executive function model consisting of relative strengths and deficits was the best predictor of restricted, repetitive symptoms of autism. The implications for the executive function theory and how the theory predicts core symptoms of autism are discussed.
Guiney, Hayley; Machado, Liana
Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise has the potential to improve executive functioning, even in healthy populations. The purpose of this review is to elucidate which components of executive functioning benefit from such exercise in healthy populations. In light of the developmental time course of executive functions, we consider separately children, young adults, and older adults. Data to date from studies of aging provide strong evidence of exercise-linked benefits related to task switching, selective attention, inhibition of prepotent responses, and working memory capacity; furthermore, cross-sectional fitness data suggest that working memory updating could potentially benefit as well. In young adults, working memory updating is the main executive function shown to benefit from regular exercise, but cross-sectional data further suggest that task-switching and post error performance may also benefit. In children, working memory capacity has been shown to benefit, and cross-sectional data suggest potential benefits for selective attention and inhibitory control. Although more research investigating exercise-related benefits for specific components of executive functioning is clearly needed in young adults and children, when considered across the age groups, ample evidence indicates that regular engagement in aerobic exercise can provide a simple means for healthy people to optimize a range of executive functions.
Vaughan, Leslie; Giovanello, Kelly
The present study of older adults used structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine the relationships between 3 executive processes underlying executive function (EF) (inhibition, task switching, updating in working memory), and 2 types of instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) (self-report, performance based). Experimental tasks of executive attention and self-report or performance-based IADL tests were administered to create latent constructs of EF and IADLs. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to examine the construct validity of EF and IADLs. This analysis indicated a 3-factor model of inhibition, updating, and task switching and a 2-factor model of self-report and performance-based IADLs. As predicted, when the latent variable relationships were analyzed, executive processes had a significant relationship with performance-based, but not self-report, IADLs. In addition, task switching had a strong and significant relationship with performance-based IADLs. The results of this study uniquely show a direct relationship between executive processes and performance-based IADLs, thus demonstrating the ecological utility of experimental measures of EF to predict daily function. Furthermore, these results point to areas of cognitive training that may strategically impact older adults' performance on daily life activities.
Best, John R.; Miller, Patricia H.
This review paper examines theoretical and methodological issues in the construction of a developmental perspective on executive function (EF) in childhood and adolescence. Unlike most reviews of EF, which focus on preschoolers, this review focuses on studies that include large age ranges. It outlines the development of the foundational components of EF—inhibition, working memory, and shifting. Cognitive and neurophysiological assessments show that although EF emerges during the first few years of life, it continues to strengthen significantly throughout childhood and adolescence. The components vary somewhat in their developmental trajectories. The paper relates the findings to longstanding issues of development (e.g., developmental sequences, trajectories, and processes) and suggests research needed for constructing a developmental framework encompassing early childhood through adolescence. PMID:21077853
Giancola, Peter R
The primary goal of this investigation was to determine whether executive functioning (EF) would moderate the alcohol-aggression relation. Participants were 310 (152 men and 158 women) healthy social drinkers between 21 and 35 years of age. EF as well as non-EF skills were measured with 13 validated neuropsychological tests. Following the consumption of either an alcoholic or a placebo beverage, participants were tested on a modified version of the Taylor Aggression Paradigm (S. Taylor, 1967), in which mild electric shocks were received from, and administered to, a fictitious opponent. Aggressive behavior was operationalized as the shock intensities administered to the fictitious opponent. EF was negatively related to aggressive behavior for men, regardless of beverage group, even when controlling for non-EF skills. Furthermore, alcohol increased aggression only for men with lower EF scores. Finally, the mere belief that alcohol was consumed suppressed aggression for women but not for men.
Wong, Alina; Rodriguez, Mabel; Quevedo, Liliana; de Cossio, Lourdes Fernandez; Borges, Ariel; Reyes, Alicia; Corral, Roberto; Blanco, Florentino; Alvarez, Miguel
There is a current debate about the ecological validity of executive function (EF) tests. Consistent with the verisimilitude approach, this research proposes the Ballet Executive Scale (BES), a self-rating questionnaire that assimilates idiosyncratic executive behaviors of classical dance community. The BES was administrated to 149 adolescents,…
Lagattuta, Kristin Hansen; Sayfan, Liat; Monsour, Michael
Two experiments examined 4- to 11-year-olds' and adults' performance (N = 350) on two variants of a Stroop-like card task: the "day-night task" (say "day" when shown a moon and "night" when shown a sun) and a new "happy-sad task" (say "happy" for a sad face and "sad" for a happy face). Experiment 1 featured colored cartoon drawings. In Experiment…
Kapa, Leah L; Plante, Elena
This paper provides a review of recent research on executive function abilities in children with specific language impairment (SLI). Across several studies, children with SLI are reported to perform worse than typically developing peers on measures of sustained attention, working memory, inhibition, and attention shifting. However, few studies have considered multiple executive function components simultaneously and even fewer have examined the underlying relationship between executive function deficits and impaired language acquisition. We argue that in order to fully understand the nature of executive function deficits in SLI, the field must move past simply identifying weaknesses to instead test models of executive function development and explore the nature of the relationship between executive function and language. Future research directions are recommended in order to achieve these goals.
This study investigates the utility of an occupational therapy assessment of executive and performance functioning and indicators of community adjustment among adults with histories of homelessness and substance abuse. A sample of 60 individuals living in a supported housing programme was interviewed about community living experiences and was assessed using the Executive Function Performance Test (EFPT). A descriptive and correlational study design was used. Measurable levels of cognitive and task impairment were documented, in older adults, non-US citizens and those diagnosed with cognitive impairments. Those who had completed a supported education/employment programme (Total EFPT t = -2.83, 0.008) performed better as did those who were employed (Total EFPT t = -2.33, 0.03), met regularly with their case managers (cooking t = -2.07, 0.04), had hobbies (paying bills r = -0.31, 0.02) and had longer periods of abstinence (organization/planning t = -3.59, 0.001). Limitations of the study include the unanticipated need by the clients for additional translation services. Future directions include a randomized controlled intervention study using the EFPT. An implication of this study for occupational therapists working with homeless clients who abuse substances is the importance of assessing and treating their cognitive impairments as well as providing these services within housing first agencies.
Doherty, T A; Barker, L A; Denniss, R; Jalil, A; Beer, M D
Current standardized neuropsychological tests may fail to accurately capture real-world executive deficits. We developed a computer-based Cooking Task (CT) assessment of executive functions and trialed the measure with a normative group before use with a head-injured population. Forty-six participants completed the computerized CT and subtests from standardized neuropsychological tasks, including the Tower and Sorting Tests of executive function from the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) and the Cambridge prospective memory test (CAMPROMPT), in order to examine whether standardized executive function tasks, predicted performance on measurement indices from the CT. Findings showed that verbal comprehension, rule detection and prospective memory contributed to measures of prospective planning accuracy and strategy implementation of the CT. Results also showed that functions necessary for cooking efficacy differ as an effect of task demands (difficulty levels). Performance on rule detection, strategy implementation and flexible thinking executive function measures contributed to accuracy on the CT. These findings raise questions about the functions captured by present standardized tasks particularly at varying levels of difficulty and during dual-task performance. Our preliminary findings also indicate that CT measures can effectively distinguish between executive function and Full Scale IQ abilities. Results of the present study indicate that the CT shows promise as an ecologically valid measure of executive function for future use with a head-injured population and indexes selective executive function's captured by standardized tests.
Mandell, Dorothy J; Ward, Sarah E
The neural processes that underlie executive function begin to develop in infancy. However, it is unclear how the behavior manifested by these processes are related or if they can be differentiated early in development. This study seeks to examine early emerging executive functioning skills in monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) by using an error analysis approach where traditional measures of the tasks, as well as identification of major error patterns are related. Results show that during the infancy and early juvenile period, two processes that help support set-maintenance could be differentiated: modulation of responses to novelty and persistence despite negative feedback. The results suggest that these two aspects of set-maintenance were largely independent. Modulation of responses to novelty was most prominent in the infancy and early juvenile period. The ability to persist with a response set despite negative feedback emerged in the early juvenile period and was related to task performance until the end of the study.
Aupperle, Robin L.; Melrose, Andrew J.; Stein, Murray B.; Paulus, Martin P.
Neuropsychological approaches represent an important avenue for identifying susceptibility and resiliency factors relating to the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms post-trauma. This review will summarize results from prospective longitudinal and retrospective cross-sectional studies investigating executive function associated with PTSD. This research points specifically towards subtle impairments in response inhibition and attention regulation that may predate trauma exposure, serve as risk factors for the development of PTSD, and relate to the severity of symptoms. These impairments may be exacerbated within emotional or trauma-related contexts, and may relate to dysfunction within dorsal prefrontal networks. A model is presented concerning how such impairments may contribute to the clinical profile of PTSD and lead to the use of alternative coping styles such as avoidance. Further neuropsychological research is needed to identify the effects of treatment on cognitive function and to potentially characterize mechanisms of current PTSD treatments. Knowledge gained from cognitive and neuroscientific research may prove valuable for informing the future development of novel, more effective, treatments for PTSD. PMID:21349277
A study of the skill priorities of Connecticut's adult education stakeholders asked 838 business and industry providers, 4,846 learners, 774 instructional service providers, and 753 state agencies and public service providers to rate how critical 55 competencies are to an adult's ability to function in society and the workplace. The competency…
Crone, Eveline A.
Despite the advances in understanding cognitive improvements in executive function in adolescence, much less is known about the influence of affective and social modulators on executive function and the biological underpinnings of these functions and sensitivities. Here, recent behavioral and neuroscientific studies are summarized that have used…
Schretlen, David J; van der Hulst, Egberdina-Józefa; Pearlson, Godfrey D; Gordon, Barry
Openness is a personality trait that has been linked to intelligence and divergent thinking. DeYoung, Peterson, and Higgins (2005) theorized that trait Openness depends on dopamine function, especially in the prefrontal cortex. We tested their theory in 335 healthy adults by hypothesizing that individual differences in Openness would correlate more strongly with performance on tests of executive function than on tests of intelligence and fluency. However, Openness correlated more strongly with verbal/crystallized intelligence (Gc; r = .44) than with executive functioning (r = .16) and fluency (r = .24). Further, the partial correlation between Openness and Gc increased from r = .26 among young adults to r = .53 among elderly adults. These findings suggest that Openness is more closely associated with the acquisition of broad verbal intellectual skills and knowledge than with executive abilities localized to a specific brain region or neurotransmitter system.
Walshe, Elizabeth A.; Patterson, Matthew R.; Commins, Seán; Roche, Richard A. P.
The role of cognition is becoming increasingly central to our understanding of the complexity of walking gait. In particular, higher-level executive functions are suggested to play a key role in gait and fall-risk, but the specific underlying neurocognitive processes remain unclear. Here, we report two experiments which investigated the cognitive and neural processes underlying older adult gait and falls. Experiment 1 employed a dual-task (DT) paradigm in young and older adults, to assess the relative effects of higher-level executive function tasks (n-Back, Serial Subtraction and visuo-spatial Clock task) in comparison to non-executive distracter tasks (motor response task and alphabet recitation) on gait. All DTs elicited changes in gait for both young and older adults, relative to baseline walking. Significantly greater DT costs were observed for the executive tasks in the older adult group. Experiment 2 compared normal walking gait, seated cognitive performances and concurrent event-related brain potentials (ERPs) in healthy young and older adults, to older adult fallers. No significant differences in cognitive performances were found between fallers and non-fallers. However, an initial late-positivity, considered a potential early P3a, was evident on the Stroop task for older non-fallers, which was notably absent in older fallers. We argue that executive control functions play a prominent role in walking and gait, but the use of neurocognitive processes as a predictor of fall-risk needs further investigation. PMID:25941481
Hurtado, M M; Triviño, M; Arnedo, M; Roldán, G; Tudela, P
This research explored the relationship between executive functions (working memory and reasoning subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Trail Making and Stroop tests, fluency and planning tasks, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test) and emotional intelligence measured by the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test in patients with schizophrenia or borderline personality disorder compared to a control group. As expected, both clinical groups performed worse than the control group in executive functions and emotional intelligence, although the impairment was greater in the borderline personality disorder group. Executive functions significantly correlated with social functioning. Results are discussed in relation to the brain circuits that mediate executive functions and emotional intelligence and the findings obtained with other models of social cognition.
Decreased executive function has been linked to unhealthy eating behaviors and obesity in older children and adults, however little is known about this relationship in young children. A pilot project in a research-based preschool was conducted to examine the relationships between executive function...
Toll, Sylke W. M.; Van der Ven, Sanne H. G.; Kroesbergen, Evelyn H.; Van Luit, Johannes E. H.
In the past years, an increasing number of studies have investigated executive functions as predictors of individual differences in mathematical abilities. The present longitudinal study was designed to investigate whether the executive functions shifting, inhibition, and working memory differ between low achieving and typically achieving children…
Wiebe, Sandra A.; McFall, G. Peggy
Since Miyake and his colleagues (2000) published their seminal paper on the use of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to parse executive function (EF), CFA methods have become ubiquitous in EF research. In their interesting and thoughtful Focus article, "Executive Function: Formative Versus Reflective Measurement," Willoughby and…
Deater-Deckard, Kirby; Wang, Zhe; Chen, Nan; Bell, Martha Ann
Background: Maternal executive function and household regulation both are critical aspects of optimal childrearing, but their interplay is not understood. We tested the hypotheses that (a) the link between challenging child conduct problems and harsh parenting would be strongest for mothers with poorer executive function and weakest among those…
Meltzer, Lynn, Ed.
This uniquely integrative book brings together leading researchers and practitioners from education, neuroscience, and psychology. It presents a theoretical framework for understanding executive function difficulties together with a range of effective approaches to assessment and instruction. Coverage includes executive function processes in…
Lewis, Charlie; Carpendale, Jeremy I. M.
The term executive function is used increasingly within developmental psychology and is often taken to refer to unfolding brain processes. We trace the origins of research on executive function to show that the link with social interaction has a long history. We suggest that a recent frenzy of research exploring methods for studying individual…
Rhodes, Sinéad M.; Booth, Josephine N.; Campbell, Lorna Elise; Blythe, Richard A.; Wheate, Nial J.; Delibegovic, Mirela
Research examining cognition and science learning has focused on working memory, but evidence implicates a broader set of executive functions. The current study examined executive functions and learning of biology in young adolescents. Fifty-six participants, aged 12-13?years, completed tasks of working memory (Spatial Working Memory), inhibition…
Reynolds, Cecil R.; Horton, Arthur MacNeill, Jr.
Despite many disagreements on the utility of neuropsychological applications in schools, executive function measures have been found to be useful across a variety of areas and ages. In addition, many disagreements are extant in discussions of the maturational course of the development of executive functioning abilities that are dependent on…
Thorell, Lisa B.; Lindqvist, Sofia; Nutley, Sissela Bergman; Bohlin, Gunilla; Klingberg, Torkel
Executive functions, including working memory and inhibition, are of central importance to much of human behavior. Interventions intended to improve executive functions might therefore serve an important purpose. Previous studies show that working memory can be improved by training, but it is unknown if this also holds for inhibition, and whether…
Seichepine, Daniel R; Stamm, Julie M; Daneshvar, Daniel H; Riley, David O; Baugh, Christine M; Gavett, Brandon E; Tripodis, Yorghos; Martin, Brett; Chaisson, Christine; McKee, Ann C; Cantu, Robert C; Nowinski, Christopher J; Stern, Robert A
Repetitive mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), such as that experienced by contact-sport athletes, has been associated with the development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Executive dysfunction is believed to be among the earliest symptoms of CTE, with these symptoms presenting in the fourth or fifth decade of life. The present study used a well-validated self-report measure to study executive functioning in football players, compared to healthy adults. Sixty-four college and professional football players were administered the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, adult version (BRIEF-A) to evaluate nine areas of executive functioning. Scores on the BRIEF-A were compared to published age-corrected normative scores for healthy adults Relative to healthy adults, the football players indicated significantly more problems overall and on seven of the nine clinical scales, including Inhibit, Shift, Emotional Control, Initiate, Working Memory, Plan/Organize, and Task Monitor. These symptoms were greater in athletes 40 and older, relative to younger players. In sum, football players reported more-frequent problems with executive functioning and these symptoms may develop or worsen in the fifth decade of life. The findings are in accord with a growing body of evidence that participation in football is associated with the development of cognitive changes and dementia as observed in CTE.
Peiffer, Roseann; Darby, Lynn A; Fullenkamp, Adam; Morgan, Amy L
Acute aerobic exercise may increase cognitive processing speed among tasks demanding a substantial degree of executive function. Few studies have investigated executive function after acute exercise in older adults across various exercise intensities. Healthy females 60-75 years of age (n = 11) who were not on medications completed 20-min exercise sessions at a moderate (50%VO2max) exercise intensity and a vigorous (75%VO2max) exercise intensity. Modified flanker tasks (reaction times) and d2 tests of sustained and selective attention (components of executive function) were completed before, immediately after, and 30-min post-exercise. Results indicated that older adult females had improved scores on the modified flanker task reaction times (RTT, RTI, RTC) and d2 tests immediately after both moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. Some of these effects were maintained 30 min post-exercise. These findings suggest that an acute bout of exercise, regardless of intensity, can improve performance on tests of executive function in older women. Key pointsFew studies have investigated the effects of the intensity of exercise on executive function in older womenExecutive function improved after 20-min of aerobic exercise regardless of exercise intensity in older womenFindings from the study were not confounded by prescribed medications; all participants who were older women were not taking any medications.
Mazaheri, Masood; Roerdink, Melvyn; Bood, Robert Jan; Duysens, Jacques; Beek, Peter J; Peper, C Lieke E
During walking, attention needs to be flexibly allocated to deal with varying environmental constraints. This ability may be affected by aging and lower overall executive function. The present study examined the influence of aging and executive function on the attentional costs of visually guided walking under different task demands. Three groups, young adults (n=15) and elderly adults with higher (n=16) and lower (n=10) executive function, walked on a treadmill in three conditions: uncued walking and walking with regular and irregular patterns of visual stepping targets projected onto the belt. Attentional costs were assessed using a secondary probe reaction time task and corrected by subtracting baseline single-task reaction time, yielding an estimate of the additional attentional costs of each walking condition. We found that uncued walking was more attentionally demanding for elderly than for young participants. In young participants, the attentional costs increased significantly from uncued to regularly cued to irregularly cued walking, whereas for the higher executive function group, attentional costs only increased significantly from regularly cued to irregularly cued walking. For the group with lower executive function, no significant differences were observed. The observed decreased flexibility of elderly, especially those with lower executive function, to allocate additional attentional resources to more challenging walking conditions may be attributed to the already increased attentional costs of uncued walking, presumably required for visuomotor and/or balance control of walking.
Colom, Roberto; Solomon, Jeffrey; Krueger, Frank; Forbes, Chad; Grafman, Jordan
Although cognitive neuroscience has made remarkable progress in understanding the involvement of the prefrontal cortex in executive control, the broader functional networks that support high-level cognition and give rise to general intelligence remain to be well characterized. Here, we investigated the neural substrates of the general factor of intelligence (g) and executive function in 182 patients with focal brain damage using voxel-based lesion–symptom mapping. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System were used to derive measures of g and executive function, respectively. Impaired performance on these measures was associated with damage to a distributed network of left lateralized brain areas, including regions of frontal and parietal cortex and white matter association tracts, which bind these areas into a coordinated system. The observed findings support an integrative framework for understanding the architecture of general intelligence and executive function, supporting their reliance upon a shared fronto-parietal network for the integration and control of cognitive representations and making specific recommendations for the application of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System to the study of high-level cognition in health and disease. PMID:22396393
Kruger, Gert H J
Positive psychological characteristics and executive function are correlated with gratitude, satisfaction with life, and forgiveness. The goal of this study was to replicate these findings while examining two additional constructs, namely, hope and optimism. 113 students (25 men, 88 women) between the ages of 17 to 24 years (M = 19.4, SD = 1.5) volunteered to participate. Positive correlations between executive function and gratitude were found but mixed results were obtained for forgiveness and satisfaction with life. Hope and optimism correlated positively with executive function and hierarchical multiple regression analysis indicated that they contributed significantly to the explanation of executive functioning. Further investigation into relationships between executive functioning, its neurobiological substrates, and positive psychological attributes is recommended.
Zahodne, Laura B.; Nowinski, Cindy J.; Gershon, Richard C.; Manly, Jennifer J.
We examined whether the reserve capacity model can be extended to cognitive outcomes among older African Americans. Two hundred and ninety-two non-Hispanic Whites and 37 African Americans over age 54 participated in the normative study for the NIH Toolbox for the Assessment of Neurological and Behavioral Function. Multiple-group path analysis showed that associations between depressive symptoms and cognition differed by race, independent of age, education, reading level, income, health, and recruitment site. Depressive symptoms were associated with slowed processing speed among Whites and worse task-switching, inhibition, and episodic memory among African Americans. African Americans may be more vulnerable to negative effects of depression on cognition than non-Hispanic Whites. Further research is needed to explicate the psychological and neurobiological underpinnings of this greater vulnerability. PMID:25280795
Long, Brian; Spencer-Smith, Megan M; Jacobs, Rani; Mackay, Mark; Leventer, Richard; Barnes, Chris; Anderson, Vicki
Child stroke is a major cause of death in children, although limited information exists on neurobehavioral functioning of stroke survivors. Executive function (important for goal-directed behavior) is thought to be vulnerable to early insults such as stroke because of its widespread representation in the immature brain. This study investigated the impact of lesion location on executive skills. Twenty-eight children diagnosed with stroke at least 18 months before assessment were recruited. Lesion characteristics were coded from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Neurobehavioral assessment focused on cognitive and everyday executive skills. Deficits were found in the context of overall normal intellectual functioning (M = 91.60; SD = 19.40). Generally, insults involving frontal and extra-frontal regions impacted equally on cognitive performance. Everyday deficits were marginally more prominent following frontal insult. Subcortical frontal lesions were associated with impairments in everyday executive skills. Results provide further support for the diffuse representation of executive function in the immature brain.
Chaytor, Naomi; Schmitter-Edgecombe, Maureen; Burr, Robert
The current study investigated ways to improve the ecological validity of the neuropsychological assessment of executive functioning through the formal assessment of compensatory strategies and environmental cognitive demands. Results indicated that the group of executive functioning tests (i.e., Trail Making Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Stroop, and Controlled Oral Word Association Test) accounted for 18-20% of the variance in everyday executive ability as measured by the Dysexecutive Questionnaire and Brock Adaptive Functioning Questionnaire. The addition of extra-test variables significantly increased the variance in everyday executive ability accounted for. The current study adds to the literature on the ecological validity of executive functioning assessment by highlighting the importance of extra-test variables when trying to understand the complex relationship between cognitive testing and real world performance.
Montoro, Pedro R.; Herrero, Laura; Ballestrino, Patricia; Sebastián, Iraia
Our main objective was to analyse the different contributions of relational verbal reasoning (analogical and class inclusion) and executive functioning to metaphor comprehension across development. We postulated that both relational reasoning and executive functioning should predict individual and developmental differences. However, executive functioning would become increasingly involved when metaphor comprehension is highly demanding, either because of the metaphors’ high difficulty (relatively novel metaphors in the absence of a context) or because of the individual’s special processing difficulties, such as low levels of reading experience or low semantic knowledge. Three groups of participants, 11-year-olds, 15-year-olds and young adults, were assessed in different relational verbal reasoning tasks—analogical and class-inclusion—and in executive functioning tasks—updating information in working memory, inhibition, and shifting. The results revealed clear progress in metaphor comprehension between ages 11 and 15 and between ages 15 and 21. However, the importance of executive function in metaphor comprehension was evident by age 15 and was restricted to updating information in working memory and cognitive inhibition. Participants seemed to use two different strategies to interpret metaphors: relational verbal reasoning and executive functioning. This was clearly shown when comparing the performance of the "more efficient" participants in metaphor interpretation with that of the "less efficient” ones. Whereas in the first case none of the executive variables or those associated with relational verbal reasoning were significantly related to metaphor comprehension, in the latter case, both groups of variables had a clear predictor effect. PMID:26954501
Carriedo, Nuria; Corral, Antonio; Montoro, Pedro R; Herrero, Laura; Ballestrino, Patricia; Sebastián, Iraia
Our main objective was to analyse the different contributions of relational verbal reasoning (analogical and class inclusion) and executive functioning to metaphor comprehension across development. We postulated that both relational reasoning and executive functioning should predict individual and developmental differences. However, executive functioning would become increasingly involved when metaphor comprehension is highly demanding, either because of the metaphors' high difficulty (relatively novel metaphors in the absence of a context) or because of the individual's special processing difficulties, such as low levels of reading experience or low semantic knowledge. Three groups of participants, 11-year-olds, 15-year-olds and young adults, were assessed in different relational verbal reasoning tasks-analogical and class-inclusion-and in executive functioning tasks-updating information in working memory, inhibition, and shifting. The results revealed clear progress in metaphor comprehension between ages 11 and 15 and between ages 15 and 21. However, the importance of executive function in metaphor comprehension was evident by age 15 and was restricted to updating information in working memory and cognitive inhibition. Participants seemed to use two different strategies to interpret metaphors: relational verbal reasoning and executive functioning. This was clearly shown when comparing the performance of the "more efficient" participants in metaphor interpretation with that of the "less efficient" ones. Whereas in the first case none of the executive variables or those associated with relational verbal reasoning were significantly related to metaphor comprehension, in the latter case, both groups of variables had a clear predictor effect.
Buczylowska, Dorota; Petermann, Franz
Normative data from the German adaptation of the Neuropsychological Assessment Battery were used to examine age-related differences in 6 executive function tasks. A multivariate analysis of variance was employed to investigate the differences in performance in 484 participants aged 18-99 years. The coefficient of variation was calculated to compare the heterogeneity of scores between 10 age groups. Analyses showed an increase in the dispersion of scores with age, varying from 7% to 289%, in all subtests. Furthermore, age-dependent heterogeneity appeared to be associated with age-dependent decline because the subtests with the greatest increase in dispersion (i.e., Mazes, Planning, and Categories) also exhibited the greatest decrease in mean scores. In contrast, scores for the subtests Letter Fluency, Word Generation, and Judgment had the lowest increase in dispersion with the lowest decrease in mean scores. Consequently, the results presented here show a pattern of age-related differences in executive functioning that is consistent with the concept of crystallized and fluid intelligence.
Castellanos, Irina; Kronenberger, William G; Pisoni, David B
The psychometric properties of the Learning, Executive, and Attention Functioning (LEAF) scale were investigated in an outpatient clinical pediatric sample. As a part of clinical testing, the LEAF scale, which broadly measures neuropsychological abilities related to executive functioning and learning, was administered to parents of 118 children and adolescents referred for psychological testing at a pediatric psychology clinic; 85 teachers also completed LEAF scales to assess reliability across different raters and settings. Scores on neuropsychological tests of executive functioning and academic achievement were abstracted from charts. Psychometric analyses of the LEAF scale demonstrated satisfactory internal consistency, parent-teacher inter-rater reliability in the small to large effect size range, and test-retest reliability in the large effect size range, similar to values for other executive functioning checklists. Correlations between corresponding subscales on the LEAF and other behavior checklists were large, while most correlations with neuropsychological tests of executive functioning and achievement were significant but in the small to medium range. Results support the utility of the LEAF as a reliable and valid questionnaire-based assessment of delays and disturbances in executive functioning and learning. Applications and advantages of the LEAF and other questionnaire measures of executive functioning in clinical neuropsychology settings are discussed.
Robinson, Sally; Goddard, Lorna; Dritschel, Barbara; Wisley, Mary; Howlin, Pat
Executive dysfunction is a characteristic impairment of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). However whether such deficits are related to autism per se, or to associated intellectual disability is unclear. This paper examines executive functions in a group of children with ASD (N = 54, all IQ greater than or equal to 70) in relation…
Gottwald, Janna M.; Achermann, Sheila; Marciszko, Carin; Lindskog, Marcus; Gredebäck, Gustaf
The importance of executive functioning for later life outcomes, along with its potential to be positively affected by intervention programs, motivates the need to find early markers of executive functioning. In this study, 18-month-olds performed three executive-function tasks—involving simple inhibition, working memory, and more complex inhibition—and a motion-capture task assessing prospective motor control during reaching. We demonstrated that prospective motor control, as measured by the peak velocity of the first movement unit, is related to infants’ performance on simple-inhibition and working memory tasks. The current study provides evidence that motor control and executive functioning are intertwined early in life, which suggests an embodied perspective on executive-functioning development. We argue that executive functions and prospective motor control develop from a common source and a single motive: to control action. This is the first demonstration that low-level movement planning is related to higher-order executive control early in life. PMID:27765900
Buczylowska, Dorota; Petermann, Franz
Data from five subtests of the Executive Functions Module of the German Neuropsychological Assessment Battery (NAB) and all ten core subtests of the German Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) were used to examine the relationship between executive functions and intelligence in a comparison of two age groups: individuals aged 18-59 years and individuals aged 60-88 years. The NAB subtests Categories and Word Generation demonstrated a consistent correlation pattern for both age groups. However, the NAB Judgment subtest correlated more strongly with three WAIS-IV indices, the Full Scale IQ (FSIQ), and the General Ability Index (GAI) in the older adult group than in the younger group. Additionally, in the 60-88 age group, the Executive Functions Index (EFI) was more strongly correlated with the Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI) than with the Perceptual Reasoning Index (PRI). Both age groups demonstrated a strong association of the EFI with the FSIQ and the Working Memory Index (WMI). The results imply the potential diagnostic utility of the Judgment subtest and a significant relationship between executive functioning and crystallized intelligence at older ages. Furthermore, it may be concluded that there is a considerable age-independent overlap between the EFI and general intelligence, as well as between the EFI and working memory.
Roca, María; Manes, Facundo; Gleichgerrcht, Ezequiel; Watson, Peter; Ibáñez, Agustín; Thompson, Russell; Torralva, Teresa; Duncan, John
Recently (Roca et al. (2010), we used the relationship with general intelligence (Spearman’s g) to define two sets of frontal lobe or “executive” tests. For one group, including Wisconsin card sorting and verbal fluency, reduction in g entirely explained the deficits found in frontal patients. For another group, including tests of social cognition and multitasking, frontal deficits remained even after correction for g. Preliminary evidence suggested a link of the latter tasks to more anterior frontal regions. Here we develop this distinction in the context of behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), a disorder which progressively affects frontal lobe cortices. In bvFTD, some executive tests, including tests of social cognition and multitasking, decline from the early stage of the disease, while others, including classical executive tests such as Wisconsin card sorting, verbal fluency or Trail Making Test part B, show deficits only later on. Here we show that, while deficits in the classical executive tests are entirely explained by g, deficits in the social cognition and multitasking tests are not. The results suggest a relatively selective cognitive deficit at mild stages of the disease, followed by more widespread cognitive decline well predicted by g. PMID:23347963
Bialystok, Ellen; Poarch, Gregory; Luo, Lin; Craik, Fergus I M
Two studies are reported in which younger and older monolingual and bilingual adults performed executive function tasks. In Study 1, 130 participants performed a Stroop task and bilinguals in both age groups showed less interference than monolinguals with a greater benefit for older adults. In Study 2, 108 participants performed a complex working memory task based on verbal or nonverbal stimuli. Bilinguals showed less interference than monolinguals, with a larger bilingual advantage in the older adult group and in the nonverbal task. Together, these results show that bilingual advantages in executive function depend on characteristics of the participants and features of the tasks, with larger effects found for older than younger adults and for complex tasks using nonverbal material.
Kavanaugh, Brian C; Gaudet, Charles E; Dupont-Frechette, Jennifer A; Tellock, Perrin P; Maher, Isolde D; Haisley, Lauren D; Holler, Karen A
Despite prior adult research regarding the influence of executive functions on memory performance, there has been inconsistent prior research on the role of executive functions on memory performance in children, particularly those children with severe psychiatric disorders. A medical chart review was conducted for 76 children (ages 6-12 years) who received a neuropsychological evaluation during children's psychiatric inpatient program hospitalization. A series of hierarchical regression analyses investigated the role of attention/executive and non-executive functions in verbal memory performance (immediate recall, delayed recall, and delayed recognition). Demographic and verbal measures were entered into blocks 1 and 2 for all analyses, followed by attention and executive functions (i.e., attention span, sustained attention, verbal fluency, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, and planning/organization). Nearly 15% of the participants displayed memory impairment. Results of regression analyses indicated attention/executive dysfunction severity predicted overall memory performance. Attention span predicted performance on all three memory conditions. Planning/organization accounted for unique variance in immediate recall condition while inhibitory control accounted for unique variance in delayed recall condition. These results indicate that verbal memory problems frequently occur in severe childhood psychiatric disorders. Further, planning/organization deficits may influence immediate recall, while inhibitory control deficits may influence delayed recall. Alternatively, delayed recognition memory may be the most resistant to the negative influence of executive deficits on verbal memory performance in childhood psychiatric disorders.
Gallant, Sara N
This paper focuses on evidence for mindfulness meditation-related benefits to executive functioning, processes important for much of human volitional behaviour. Miyake et al. (2000) have shown that executive functions can be fractionated into three distinct domains including inhibition, working memory updating, and mental set shifting. Considering these separable domains, it is important to determine whether the effects of mindfulness can generalize to all three sub-functions or are specific to certain domains. To address this, the current review applied Miyake et al.'s (2000) fractionated model of executive functioning to the mindfulness literature. Empirical studies assessing the benefits of mindfulness to measures tapping the inhibition, updating, and shifting components of executive functioning were examined. Results suggest a relatively specific as opposed to general benefit resulting from mindfulness, with consistent inhibitory improvement, but more variable advantages to the updating and shifting domains. Recommendations surrounding application of mindfulness practice and future research are discussed.
It has been proposed that two major components of executive functions can be distinguished: (1) one related to complex cognition (metacognition, such as planning, problem solving, etc.); (2) the other related to coordinating and controlling emotional behavior. Contemporary neuroimaging techniques have demonstrated that there are two distinct functional-anatomical networks within the prefrontal cortex: one associated with cognitive control and the other associated with value based decision making-each related to specific frontal-lobe areas. Metacognitive (but not emotional) executive functions have been demonstrated to be correlated with general intellectual level (intelligence). Research has shown that emotional executive functions (such as attention control) develop earlier in life (during the 1st year), before the development of metacognitive executive functions (such as planning and verbal fluency), which develop around the age of 3 and are correlated with the development of a grammatical language.
Baudouin, Alexia; Clarys, David; Vanneste, Sandrine; Isingrini, Michel
The aim of the present study was to examine executive dysfunctioning and decreased processing speed as potential mediators of age-related differences in episodic memory. We compared the performances of young and elderly adults in a free-recall task. Participants were also given tests to measure executive functions and perceptual processing speed…
Hauser, Peter C.; Lukomski, Jennifer; Samar, Vince
This study investigated the reliability and validity of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions-Adult Form (BRIEF-A) when used with deaf college students. The BRIEF-A was administered to 176 deaf and 184 hearing students of whom 25 deaf students and 56 hearing students self-identified as having an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity…
Brock, Laura L; Brock, Clive D; Thiedke, C Carolyn
Medical non-adherence is multifactorial: cost, convenience, side effect profile, and cognitive impairment are all implicated in medical nonadherence. We explore impaired executive function (EF) as a cause for medical non-adherence when other causes can be ruled out. EF describes the coordination and manipulation of higher-order cognitive processes involved in problem-solving, planning, and decision-making. EF has three components: working memory, mental flexibility, and inhibitory control. The latter, inhibitory control, when impaired will affect an individual's ability to make choices to produce long-term benefits, in favor of short-term gratification. When applied to adults with chronic diseases, like diabetes, that require lifestyle modification and, at times, complicated medical regimens to forestall long term complications, an intact EF has a role in adherence. EF development is protracted with behavioral corollaries observable from early childhood. Thus, teachers, family physicians, and pediatricians will be the professionals to first encounter and manage such individuals. We suggest screening tests for children in the doctor's office to detect impaired EF, and postulate a cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach for adults with uncontrolled DM and impaired EF.
Wu, Xuefang; Nussbaum, Maury A; Madigan, Michael L
This study investigated the relationship between obesity and executive function, and between executive function and fall risk (as estimated from select gait parameters). Of the 39 young adults (age = 21.3 ± 2.6 years) recruited from the local university population via email announcement, 19 were in the obese group (based upon BMI and body fat percentage) and 20 were in the nonobese comparison group. Executive function was assessed using standardized tests including the Stroop test for selective attention; Trail Making test for divided attention, visuomotor tracking, and cognitive flexibility; the Verbal Fluency test for semantic memory; and the Digit-span test for working memory. Participants performed single- and dual-task walking (walking while talking) to evaluate fall risk during gait as measured by minimum toe clearance, required coefficient of friction, stance time, and stance-time variability. The obese group had lower scores for selective attention, semantic memory, and working memory. All participants had gait changes suggestive of a higher fall risk, for example, lower minimum toe clearance, longer stance time, and increased stance variability, during dual-task walking compared with single-task walking, and executive function scores (selective attention) were associated with gait (stance-time variability) during dual-task walking. Results indicate obesity was negatively associated with executive function among young adults and could increase fall risk.
Rose, Susan A; Feldman, Judith F; Jankowski, Jeffery J
Recent work suggests that executive functions, the cornerstone of higher-level cognitive operations, are driven by basic information processing abilities. Using structural equation modeling, with latent variables, the present study provides the first evidence that this driving force begins in infancy, such that abilities in infancy predict executive functions at age 11. Information processing abilities in three domains (attention, processing speed, and memory) were assessed when participants were infants (7 and 12 months) and toddlers (24 and 36 months) and were used to predict three executive functions (working memory, inhibition, and shifting) when participants were 11 years old. A model relating infant abilities to age-11 executive functions fit well, and accounted for 9% to 19% of the variance in the executive functions. Paths from both speed and memory in infancy to age-11 working memory were significant, as was the path from Speed in infancy to age-11 Shifting. A model using abilities in toddlerhood as predictors fit similarly. These findings implicate early basic cognitive abilities in the development of executive functions.
Cragg, Lucy; Keeble, Sarah; Richardson, Sophie; Roome, Hannah E; Gilmore, Camilla
Achievement in mathematics is predicted by an individual's domain-specific factual knowledge, procedural skill and conceptual understanding as well as domain-general executive function skills. In this study we investigated the extent to which executive function skills contribute to these three components of mathematical knowledge, whether this mediates the relationship between executive functions and overall mathematics achievement, and if these relationships change with age. Two hundred and ninety-three participants aged between 8 and 25years completed a large battery of mathematics and executive function tests. Domain-specific skills partially mediated the relationship between executive functions and mathematics achievement: Inhibitory control within the numerical domain was associated with factual knowledge and procedural skill, which in turn was associated with mathematical achievement. Working memory contributed to mathematics achievement indirectly through factual knowledge, procedural skill and, to a lesser extent, conceptual understanding. There remained a substantial direct pathway between working memory and mathematics achievement however, which may reflect the role of working memory in identifying and constructing problem representations. These relationships were remarkably stable from 8years through to young adulthood. Our findings help to refine existing multi-component frameworks of mathematics and understand the mechanisms by which executive functions support mathematics achievement.
Wagner, Clara A; Alloy, Lauren B; Abramson, Lyn Y
Although deficits in executive functions have been linked with both depression and rumination in adulthood, the nature of the relationship between these constructs is not well understood and remains understudied in adolescence. The present study examined the relationship of rumination and depression to deficits in executive functions in early adolescence, a critical developmental period for the emergence of depression and rumination and the development of executive functions. Participants were 486 early adolescents (52.7% female; 47.1% African American, 48.8% Caucasian; 4.2% Biracial/Multiracial/Other; M age = 12.88 years; SD = .62) and their mothers, recruited through local schools. Measures included (a) a semi-structured diagnostic interview of the mother and adolescent, (b) youth self-report forms assessing depressive symptoms and trait rumination, (c) mother-report forms assessing demographic information, and (d) behavioral tests of executive function (sustained, selective and divided attention, attentional set shifting, and working memory). Gender moderated rumination-set shifting associations, such that rumination predicted better set shifting in boys only. The current level of depressive symptoms moderated rumination-sustained attention associations, such that rumination predicted better sustained attention in those with low levels of depressive symptoms and worse sustained attention in those with high levels of depressive symptoms. Rumination did not predict performance on other measures of executive functions. Likewise, depressive symptoms and diagnosis were not associated with executive functions. Implications for future research are discussed.
Barker, Jane E; Semenov, Andrei D; Michaelson, Laura; Provan, Lindsay S; Snyder, Hannah R; Munakata, Yuko
Executive functions (EFs) in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve EFs early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children's externally-driven executive functioning, where they are instructed on what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. However, it is less clear how children's experiences relate to their development of self-directed executive functioning, where they must determine on their own what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. We hypothesized that time spent in less-structured activities would give children opportunities to practice self-directed executive functioning, and lead to benefits. To investigate this possibility, we collected information from parents about their 6-7 year-old children's daily, annual, and typical schedules. We categorized children's activities as "structured" or "less-structured" based on categorization schemes from prior studies on child leisure time use. We assessed children's self-directed executive functioning using a well-established verbal fluency task, in which children generate members of a category and can decide on their own when to switch from one subcategory to another. The more time that children spent in less-structured activities, the better their self-directed executive functioning. The opposite was true of structured activities, which predicted poorer self-directed executive functioning. These relationships were robust (holding across increasingly strict classifications of structured and less-structured time) and specific (time use did not predict externally-driven executive functioning). We discuss implications, caveats, and ways in which potential interpretations can be distinguished in future work, to advance an understanding of this fundamental aspect of growing up.
Barker, Jane E.; Semenov, Andrei D.; Michaelson, Laura; Provan, Lindsay S.; Snyder, Hannah R.; Munakata, Yuko
Executive functions (EFs) in childhood predict important life outcomes. Thus, there is great interest in attempts to improve EFs early in life. Many interventions are led by trained adults, including structured training activities in the lab, and less-structured activities implemented in schools. Such programs have yielded gains in children's externally-driven executive functioning, where they are instructed on what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. However, it is less clear how children's experiences relate to their development of self-directed executive functioning, where they must determine on their own what goal-directed actions to carry out and when. We hypothesized that time spent in less-structured activities would give children opportunities to practice self-directed executive functioning, and lead to benefits. To investigate this possibility, we collected information from parents about their 6–7 year-old children's daily, annual, and typical schedules. We categorized children's activities as “structured” or “less-structured” based on categorization schemes from prior studies on child leisure time use. We assessed children's self-directed executive functioning using a well-established verbal fluency task, in which children generate members of a category and can decide on their own when to switch from one subcategory to another. The more time that children spent in less-structured activities, the better their self-directed executive functioning. The opposite was true of structured activities, which predicted poorer self-directed executive functioning. These relationships were robust (holding across increasingly strict classifications of structured and less-structured time) and specific (time use did not predict externally-driven executive functioning). We discuss implications, caveats, and ways in which potential interpretations can be distinguished in future work, to advance an understanding of this fundamental aspect of growing up
Klimkeit, Ester I; Mattingley, Jason B; Sheppard, Dianne M; Lee, Paul; Bradshaw, John L
Attention and executive functions were investigated in medicated and unmedicated children with ADHD combined type using a novel selective reaching task. This task involved responding as rapidly as possible to a target while at times having to ignore a distractor. Results indicated that unmedicated children with ADHD showed slow and inaccurate responding. Slow responding reflected problems at the stage of movement preparation but not movement execution. An attentional impairment, rather than a motor planning problem per se, appeared to underlie the slow movement preparation. Inaccurate responding reflected problems with response inhibition and selective attention, impulsivity, set-shifting, and difficulties in maintaining vigilance. Although medicated children with ADHD did not show slow movement preparation, they did show some response inaccuracy, resulting especially from impulsive responding. These findings suggest that ADHD is characterized by slow motor preparation (but not motor execution), and deficits in selective attention, vigilance, and executive functions. Preliminary results suggest that stimulant medication may resolve some of these motor, attentional and executive function deficits.
Starcke, Katrin; Wiesen, Carina; Trotzke, Patrick; Brand, Matthias
Recent research indicates that stress can affect executive functioning. However, previous results are mixed with respect to the direction and size of effects, especially when considering different subcomponents of executive functions. The current study systematically investigates the effects of stress on the five components of executive functions proposed by Smith and Jonides (1999): attention and inhibition; task management; planning; monitoring; and coding. Healthy participants (N = 40) were either exposed to the computerized version of the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test as a stressor (N = 20), or to a rest condition (N = 20). Stress reactions were assessed with heart rate and subjective measures. After the experimental manipulation, all participants performed tasks that measure the different executive functions. The manipulation check indicates that stress induction was successful (i.e., the stress group showed a higher heart rate and higher subjective responses than the control group). The main results demonstrate that stressed participants show a poorer performance compared with unstressed participants in all executive subcomponents, with the exception of monitoring. Effect sizes for the tasks that reveal differences between stressed and unstressed participants are high. We conclude that the laboratory stressor used here overall reduced executive functioning. PMID:27065926
Starcke, Katrin; Wiesen, Carina; Trotzke, Patrick; Brand, Matthias
Recent research indicates that stress can affect executive functioning. However, previous results are mixed with respect to the direction and size of effects, especially when considering different subcomponents of executive functions. The current study systematically investigates the effects of stress on the five components of executive functions proposed by Smith and Jonides (1999): attention and inhibition; task management; planning; monitoring; and coding. Healthy participants (N = 40) were either exposed to the computerized version of the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test as a stressor (N = 20), or to a rest condition (N = 20). Stress reactions were assessed with heart rate and subjective measures. After the experimental manipulation, all participants performed tasks that measure the different executive functions. The manipulation check indicates that stress induction was successful (i.e., the stress group showed a higher heart rate and higher subjective responses than the control group). The main results demonstrate that stressed participants show a poorer performance compared with unstressed participants in all executive subcomponents, with the exception of monitoring. Effect sizes for the tasks that reveal differences between stressed and unstressed participants are high. We conclude that the laboratory stressor used here overall reduced executive functioning.
Leather, Carol; Hogh, Henriette; Seiss, Ellen; Everatt, John
Dyslexic adults completed questionnaires designed to investigate relationships between cognitive functioning, especially executive aspects, and work success. The study was designed to determine whether quantitative support could be provided for the model of adult dyslexic success derived from the work of Gerber and his colleagues (Gerber,…
Studies of the cognitive benefits of physical activity need to move beyond simple aerobic activities that require little thought (treadmill running, riding a stationary bicycle, or rapid walking) and resistance training. Many studies have looked at this in older adults, and the evidence points strongly to those activities having little or no cognitive benefit, certainly little or no improvement to the executive functions that depend on prefrontal cortex. There is encouraging evidence for other types of physical activity improving executive functions; however they have received far less study. PMID:26000340
Ridgel, Angela L; Kim, Chul-Ho; Fickes, Emily J; Muller, Matthew D; Alberts, Jay L
Individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) often experience cognitive declines. Although pharmacologic therapies are helpful in treating motor deficits in PD, they do not appear to be effective for cognitive complications. Acute bouts of moderate aerobic exercise have been shown to improve cognitive function in healthy adults. However, individuals with PD often have difficulty with exercise. This study examined the effects of passive leg cycling on executive function in PD. Executive function was assessed with Trail-Making Test (TMT) A and B before and after passive leg cycling. Significant improvements on the TMT-B test occurred after passive leg cycling. Furthermore, the difference between times to complete the TMT-B and TMT-A significantly decreased from precycling to postcycling. Improved executive function after passive cycling may be a result of increases in cerebral blood flow. These findings suggest that passive exercise could be a concurrent therapy for cognitive decline in PD.
Kramer, Joel H.; Mungas, Dan; Possin, Katherine L.; Rankin, Katherine P.; Boxer, Adam L.; Rosen, Howard J.; Bostrom, Alan; Sinha, Lena; Berhel, Ashley; Widmeyer, Mary
Executive functioning is widely targeted when human cognition is assessed, but there is little consensus on how it should be operationalized and measured. Recognizing the difficulties associated with establishing standard operational definitions of executive functioning, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke entered into a contract with the University of California-San Francisco to develop psychometrically robust executive measurement tools that would be accepted by the neurology clinical trials and clinical research communities. This effort, entitled Executive Abilities: Measures and Instruments for Neurobehavioral Evaluation and Research (EXAMINER), resulted in a series of tasks targeting working memory, inhibition, set shifting, fluency, insight, planning, social cognition and behavior. We describe battery conceptualization and development, data collection, scale construction based on item response theory, and lay the foundation for studying the battery’s utility and validity for specific assessment and research goals. PMID:24103232
Kramer, Joel H; Mungas, Dan; Possin, Katherine L; Rankin, Katherine P; Boxer, Adam L; Rosen, Howard J; Bostrom, Alan; Sinha, Lena; Berhel, Ashley; Widmeyer, Mary
Executive functioning is widely targeted when human cognition is assessed, but there is little consensus on how it should be operationalized and measured. Recognizing the difficulties associated with establishing standard operational definitions of executive functioning, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke entered into a contract with the University of California-San Francisco to develop psychometrically robust executive measurement tools that would be accepted by the neurology clinical trials and clinical research communities. This effort, entitled Executive Abilities: Measures and Instruments for Neurobehavioral Evaluation and Research (EXAMINER), resulted in a series of tasks targeting working memory, inhibition, set shifting, fluency, insight, planning, social cognition and behavior. We describe battery conceptualization and development, data collection, scale construction based on item response theory, and lay the foundation for studying the battery's utility and validity for specific assessment and research goals.
Wain, Omar; Spinella, Marcello
Moral, religious, and paranormal beliefs share some degree of overlap and play important roles in guiding peoples' behavior. Although partly cultural phenomena, they also have neurobiological components based on functional neuroimaging studies and research in clinical populations. Because all three show relationships to prefrontal system functioning, the current study examined whether they related to executive functions as measured by the Executive Function Inventory in a community sample. As in previous research, religious beliefs related positively to both moral attitudes and paranormal beliefs. Moral attitudes, however, did not relate to paranormal beliefs. Paranormal beliefs related inversely to impulse control and organization, whereas small positive correlations occurred between traditional religious beliefs, impulse control, and empathy. Moral attitudes, on the other hand, showed consistent positive correlations with all executive functions measured, independent of demographic influences. These findings concordantly support that prefrontal systems play a role in morality, religion, and paranormal beliefs.
Shanmugan, Sheila; Loughead, James; Nanga, Ravi Prakash Reddy; Elliott, Mark; Hariharan, Hari; Appleby, Dina; Kim, Deborah; Ruparel, Kosha; Reddy, Ravinder; Brown, Thomas E; Epperson, C Neill
Many women with no history of executive dysfunction report difficulties in this domain during the menopause transition. Lisdexamfetamine (LDX) has been suggested to be a safe and effective treatment option for these women. However, the mechanism by which LDX improves executive functioning in these women is not known. Here we investigated the effects of LDX on brain activation and neurochemistry, hypothesizing that LDX would be associated with increased activation and decreased glutamate in executive regions. Fourteen women underwent multimodal neuroimaging at 7T at three time points in this baseline-corrected, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. Effects of LDX on symptom severity, blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) glutamate+glutamine (Glx) were measured using a clinician-administered questionnaire, fMRI during performance of a fractal n-back task, and (1)H-MRS, respectively. The effect of treatment (LDX minus baseline vs placebo minus baseline) on these behavioral and neural markers of executive function was examined using repeated measures mixed effects models. LDX treatment was associated with decreased symptom severity, increased activation in the insula and DLPFC, and decreased DLPFC Glx. In addition, the magnitude of LDX-induced improvement in symptom severity predicted both direction and magnitude of LDX-induced change in insular and DLPFC activation. Moreover, symptom severity was positively correlated with Glx concentration in the left DLPFC at baseline. These findings provide novel evidence that the neural mechanisms by which LDX acts to improve self-reported executive functioning in healthy menopausal women with midlife onset of executive difficulties include modulation of insular and DLPFC recruitment as well as decrease in DLPFC Glx concentration.
Higher-order mentalising is the ability to represent the beliefs and desires of other people at multiple, iterated levels – a capacity that sets humans apart from other species. However, there has not yet been a systematic attempt to determine what cognitive processes underlie this ability. Here we present three correlational studies assessing the extent to which performance on higher-order mentalising tasks relates to emotion recognition, self-reported empathy and self-inhibition. In Study 1a and 1b, examining emotion recognition and empathy, a relationship was identified between individual differences in the ability to mentalise and an emotion recognition task (the Reading the Mind in the Eyes task), but no correlation was found with the Empathy Quotient, a self-report scale of empathy. Study 2 investigated whether a relationship exists between individual mentalising abilities and four different forms of self-inhibition: motor inhibition, executive inhibition, automatic imitation and temporal discounting. Results demonstrate that only temporal discounting performance relates to mentalising ability; suggesting that cognitive skills relevant to representation of the minds of others’ are not influenced by the ability to perform more basic inhibition. Higher-order mentalising appears to rely on the cognitive architecture that serves both low-level social cognition (emotion recognition), and complex forms of inhibition. PMID:26543298
Higher-order mentalising is the ability to represent the beliefs and desires of other people at multiple, iterated levels - a capacity that sets humans apart from other species. However, there has not yet been a systematic attempt to determine what cognitive processes underlie this ability. Here we present three correlational studies assessing the extent to which performance on higher-order mentalising tasks relates to emotion recognition, self-reported empathy and self-inhibition. In Study 1a and 1b, examining emotion recognition and empathy, a relationship was identified between individual differences in the ability to mentalise and an emotion recognition task (the Reading the Mind in the Eyes task), but no correlation was found with the Empathy Quotient, a self-report scale of empathy. Study 2 investigated whether a relationship exists between individual mentalising abilities and four different forms of self-inhibition: motor inhibition, executive inhibition, automatic imitation and temporal discounting. Results demonstrate that only temporal discounting performance relates to mentalising ability; suggesting that cognitive skills relevant to representation of the minds of others' are not influenced by the ability to perform more basic inhibition. Higher-order mentalising appears to rely on the cognitive architecture that serves both low-level social cognition (emotion recognition), and complex forms of inhibition.
Rosenfeld, Richard M; Piccirillo, Jay F; Chandrasekhar, Sujana S; Brook, Itzhak; Kumar, Kaparaboyna Ashok; Kramper, Maggie; Orlandi, Richard R; Palmer, James N; Patel, Zara M; Peters, Anju; Walsh, Sandra A; Corrigan, Maureen D
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation has published a supplement to this issue featuring the updated "Clinical Practice Guideline: Adult Sinusitis" as a supplement to Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. To assist in implementing the guideline recommendations, this article summarizes the rationale, purpose, and key action statements. The 14 developed recommendations address diagnostic accuracy for adult rhinosinusitis, the appropriate use of ancillary tests to confirm diagnosis and guide management (including radiography, nasal endoscopy, computed tomography, and testing for allergy and immune function), and the judicious use of systemic and topical therapy. Emphasis was also placed on identifying multiple chronic conditions that would modify management of rhinosinusitis, including asthma, cystic fibrosis, immunocompromised state, and ciliary dyskinesia. An updated guideline is needed as a result of new clinical trials, new systematic reviews, and the lack of consumer participation in the initial guideline development group.
Collette, Fabienne; Angel, Lucie
The existence of processes common to memory systems and executive functioning was evidenced by studies in the domain of cerebral neuroimaging, individual differences (mainly in normal aging) and, to a lesser extent, neuropsychology. Executive functioning depends on a large antero-posterior brain network, some regions of which (the middle dorsolateral and ventrolateral cortex, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex) are involved in a series of executive processes, but also in encoding and retrieval of information in episodic memory and short-term memory. A consequence of lesions in frontal areas is to impair strategical organization of the information to-be-processed (an executive process) and thus leads to a lower memory capacity in frontal patients. Moreover, executive abilities will influence both memory efficiency and the associated brain networks even in people without brain pathology. These data attest to the importance of the relationships between executive and memory processes for an optimal cognitive functioning. Recent advances in neuroimaging and electrophysiology data acquisition and analysis techniques should allow us to better determine and understand the fashion in which these relationships work.
Dong, Guangheng; Lin, Xiao; Potenza, Marc N.
Background Resting brain spontaneous neural activities across cortical regions have been correlated with specific functional properties in psychiatric groups. Individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD) demonstrate impaired executive control. Thus, it is important to examine executive control networks (ECNs) during resting states and their relationships to executive control during task performance. Methods Thirty-five IGD and 36 healthy control participants underwent a resting-state fMRI scan and performed a Stroop task inside and outside of the MRI scanner. Correlations between Stroop effect and functional connectivity among ECN regions of interest (ROIs) were calculated within and between groups. Results IGD subjects show lower functional connectivity in ECNs than do HC participants during resting state; functional-connectivity measures in ECNs were negatively correlated with Stroop effect and positively correlated with brain activations in executive-control regions across groups. Within groups, negative trends were found between Stroop effect and functional connectivity in ECNs in IGD and HC groups, separately; positive trends were found between functional connectivity in ECNs and brain activations in Stroop task in IGD and HC groups, separately. Conclusions Higher functional connectivity in ECNs may underlie better executive control and may provide resilience with respect to IGD. Lower functional connectivity in ECNs may represent an important feature in understanding and treating IGD. PMID:25445475
Toll, Sylke W M; Van der Ven, Sanne H G; Kroesbergen, Evelyn H; Van Luit, Johannes E H
In the past years, an increasing number of studies have investigated executive functions as predictors of individual differences in mathematical abilities. The present longitudinal study was designed to investigate whether the executive functions shifting, inhibition, and working memory differ between low achieving and typically achieving children and whether these executive functions can be seen as precursors to math learning disabilities in children. Furthermore, the predictive value of working memory ability compared to preparatory mathematical abilities was examined. Two classifications were made based on (persistent) mathematical ability in first and second grade. Repeated measures analyses and discriminant analyses were used to investigate which functions predicted group membership best. Group differences in performance were found on one inhibition and three working memory tasks. The working memory tasks predicted math learning disabilities, even over and above the predictive value of preparatory mathematical abilities.
Medeiros, Wandersonia; Torro-Alves, Nelson; Malloy-Diniz, Leandro F.; Minervino, Carla M.
Bullying is characterized by intentional, repetitive, and persistent aggressive behavior that causes damage to the victim. Many studies investigate the social and emotional aspects related to bullying, but few assess the cognitive aspects it involves. Studies with aggressive individuals indicate impairment in executive functioning and decision-making. The objective of this study was to assess hot and cold executive functions in children who experience bullying. A total of 60 children between 10 and 11 years of age were included in the study. They were divided into four groups: aggressors (bullies), victims, bully-victims, and control. Tests for decision-making, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility were used. The bully group made more unfavorable choices on the Iowa Gambling Task, which may indicate difficulties in the decision-making process. The victim group took longer to complete the Trail Making Test (Part B) than aggressors, suggesting lower cognitive flexibility in victims. The hypothesis that aggressors would have lower performance in other executive functions such as inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility has not been confirmed. This study indicates that bullies have an impairment of hot executive functions whereas victims have a comparatively lower performance in cold executive functions. In addition to social and cultural variables, neurocognitive and emotional factors seem to influence the behavior of children in bullying situations. PMID:27616998
Sperduti, Marco; Makowski, Dominique; Arcangeli, Margherita; Wantzen, Prany; Zalla, Tiziana; Lemaire, Stéphane; Dokic, Jérôme; Pelletier, Jérôme; Piolino, Pascale
Several theoretical models stress the role of executive functions in emotion regulation (ER). However, most of the previous studies on ER employed explicit regulatory strategies that could have engaged executive functions, beyond regulatory processes per se. Recently, there has been renewed interest in implicit forms of ER, believed to be closer to daily-life requirements. While various studies have shown that implicit and explicit ER engage partially overlapping neurocognitive processes, the contribution of different executive functions in implicit ER has not been investigated. In the present study, we presented participants with negatively valenced pictures of varying emotional intensity preceded by short texts describing them as either fictional or real. This manipulation was meant to induce a spontaneous emotional down-regulation. We recorded electrodermal activity (EDA) and subjective reports of emotion arousal. Executive functions (updating, switching, and inhibition) were also assessed. No difference was found between the fictional and real condition on EDA. A diminished self-reported arousal was observed, however, when pictures were described as fictional for high- and mild-intensity material, but not for neutral material. The amount of down-regulation in the fictional condition was found to be predicted by interindividual variability in updating performances, but not by the other measures of executive functions, suggesting its implication even in implicit forms of ER. The relationship between down-regulation and updating was significant only for high-intensity material. We discuss the role of updating in relation to the consciousness of one's emotional state.
Medeiros, Wandersonia; Torro-Alves, Nelson; Malloy-Diniz, Leandro F; Minervino, Carla M
Bullying is characterized by intentional, repetitive, and persistent aggressive behavior that causes damage to the victim. Many studies investigate the social and emotional aspects related to bullying, but few assess the cognitive aspects it involves. Studies with aggressive individuals indicate impairment in executive functioning and decision-making. The objective of this study was to assess hot and cold executive functions in children who experience bullying. A total of 60 children between 10 and 11 years of age were included in the study. They were divided into four groups: aggressors (bullies), victims, bully-victims, and control. Tests for decision-making, inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility were used. The bully group made more unfavorable choices on the Iowa Gambling Task, which may indicate difficulties in the decision-making process. The victim group took longer to complete the Trail Making Test (Part B) than aggressors, suggesting lower cognitive flexibility in victims. The hypothesis that aggressors would have lower performance in other executive functions such as inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility has not been confirmed. This study indicates that bullies have an impairment of hot executive functions whereas victims have a comparatively lower performance in cold executive functions. In addition to social and cultural variables, neurocognitive and emotional factors seem to influence the behavior of children in bullying situations.
Monette, Sébastien; Bigras, Marc; Lafrenière, Marc-André
Whereas studies of the past 10 years have shown the executive functions (EFs) in adults to be differentiated into at least three principal components (working memory, inhibition, and flexibility), EF structure in children is far less well understood despite a large body of research on the subject. A study was undertaken to test different structural models of EFs through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) on a large sample of typically developing kindergarteners (N = 272). The method employed sought to remedy the shortcomings of past research in this field such as absence of CFA, insufficient number of EF components tested, insufficient number of indicators per latent variable, and absence of control on processing speed. Children were assessed using a battery of EF tasks developed by the researchers to measure working memory (WM), flexibility, and inhibition (backward word span, backward block span, fruit Stroop, day-night test, hand Stroop, Trails-P, card sort, face sort, and verbal fluency shift). CFA results show the best-fitting model to comprise two factors, namely, an inhibition factor and a WM-flexibility factor. Invariance analyses suggest that this structure is the same for girls and boys and that latent variable means do not differ by sex. These results support the hypothesis of EF differentiation during development. The researchers formulate other hypotheses regarding neurophysiological development.
Taconnat, Laurence; Clarys, David; Vanneste, Sandrine; Bouazzaoui, Badiaa; Isingrini, Michel
Cued-recall in episodic memory was investigated in relation to low and high cognitive support at retrieval, executive function level and fluid intelligence level in 81 healthy adults divided first into two age groups (young and elderly adults). The first analyses showed that age-related differences were greater when a low cognitive support was…
Glass, J.M.; Buu, A.; Adams, K.M.; Nigg, J.T.; Puttler, L.I.; Jester, J.M.; Zucker, R.A.
Aims Neurocognitive deficits in chronic alcoholic men are well documented and include impairments in memory, visual-spatial processing, problem solving and executive function. The cause of these deficits is unclear, but could include direct effects of alcohol toxicity, pre-existing cognitive deficits that may predispose towards substance abuse, comorbid psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression) and comorbid abuse of substances other than alcohol. For example, cigarette smoking occurs at a much higher rate among persons with alcoholism and has been linked to poor cognitive performance. Until recently, the negative effects of smoking on cognitive function in alcoholism have been ignored. Methods The effects of alcoholism and smoking are examined in a community recruited sample of alcoholic and non-alcoholic men (N=240) using standard neuropsychological measures and reaction-time measures of executive function. Alcoholism severity was measured as an average of alcoholism diagnoses across the study duration (12 yrs). Smoking was measured in pack-years. Results Both alcoholism and smoking were negatively correlated with a composite executive function score. For component measures, alcoholism was negatively correlated with a broad range of measures, whereas smoking was negatively correlated with measures that emphasize response speed. In regression analyses, both smoking and alcoholism are significant predictors of executive function composite. However; when IQ is included in the regression analyses, alcoholism severity is no longer a significant predictor. Conclusions Both smoking and alcoholism were related to executive function. However, the effect of alcoholism on EF was not independent of IQ, suggesting that the alcoholism effect was generalized, perhaps affecting a wide range of cognitive abilities of which executive function is a component. On the other hand, the effect of smoking on measures relying on response speed were independent of IQ, suggesting a more
Executive functions refer to an array of organizing and self-regulating behaviors often associated with maturation of the prefrontal cortex. In fact, young children with rudimentary neurodevelopment of the prefrontal cortex develop ways to inhibit impulses and regulate behavior from a very early age. Can executive functioning be impacted by intervention, practice, or training? What interventions impact development of executive function in childhood, and how can these be studied? Several programs are reviewed that propose to positively impact executive/self-regulation skills. Evidence-based programs are contrasted with popular programs that have little empirical basis but have apparent wide acceptance by educators and families. As self-regulation has critical implications for later school and life success, interventions may well attenuate the negative consequences of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, brain injury, and social stressors. Programs with active play components may be more successful in eliciting improved executive function (defined here as self-regulation) because of the importance of motor learning early on and because of the social motivation aspects of learning. Caution is advised in the recommendation of programs where there is little empirical basis to support program claims. Carefully planned outcome studies can help bring the most effective components of programs to the mainstream.
Pisoni, David B.; Henning, Shirley C.; Colson, Bethany G.
Objective To investigate differences in executive functioning between deaf children with cochlear implants (CIs) and normal-hearing (NH) peers. The cognitive effects of auditory deprivation in childhood may extend beyond speech–language skills to more domain-general areas including executive functioning. Methods Executive functioning skills in a sample of 53 prelingually deaf children, adolescents, and young adults who received CIs prior to age 7 years and who had used their CIs for ≥7 years were compared with age- and nonverbal IQ-matched NH peers and with scale norms. Results Despite having above average nonverbal IQ, the CI sample scored lower than the NH sample and test norms on several measures of short-term/working memory, fluency–speed, and inhibition–concentration. Executive functioning was unrelated to most demographic and hearing history characteristics. Conclusions Prelingual deafness and long-term use of CIs was associated with increased risk of weaknesses in executive functioning. PMID:23699747
Stubberud, Jan; Langenbahn, Donna; Levine, Brian; Stanghelle, Johan; Schanke, Anne-Kristine
Executive dysfunction causes significant real-life disability for patients with spina bifida (SB). However, no previous research has been directed toward the amelioration of executive functioning deficits amongst persons with SB. Goal Management Training (GMT) is a compensatory cognitive rehabilitation approach, addressing underlying deficits in sustained attention to improve executive function. GMT has received empirical support in studies of other patient groups. The purpose of the present study was to determine the efficacy of GMT in treating subjects with SB, using inpatient intervention periods. We hypothesized post-intervention changes in scores on neuropsychological measures to reflect improved attentional control, including sustained attention and inhibitory control. Thirty-eight adult subjects with SB were included in this randomized controlled trial. Inclusion was based upon the presence of executive functioning complaints. Experimental subjects (n = 24) received 21 hr of GMT, with efficacy of GMT being compared to results of subjects in a wait-list condition (n = 14). All subjects were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and at 6-month follow-up. Findings indicated superior effects of GMT on domain-specific neuropsychological measures and on a functional "real-life" measure, all lasting at least 6 months post-treatment. These results show that deficits in executive functioning can be ameliorated in patients with congenital brain dysfunction.
Ding, Xinfang; Yang, Yin; Qian, Mingyi; Gordon-Hollingsworth, Arlene
The effects of two types of rumination on different kinds of executive functions were investigated. Fifty-nine participants (M age = 22.8 yr., SD = 2.5) were assigned to one of three conditions and instructed either to: (1) ruminate in a self-distanced way, (2) ruminate in a self-immersed way, or (3) think about the layout of their campus following anger induction. Afterward, the participants were directed to finish tasks designed to assess three kinds of executive functions: shifting, inhibition, and updating. Results showed that self-immersed rumination impaired shifting ability the most, while participants engaged in self-distanced rumination showed the worst performance on the inhibition task. No significant difference was found in the updating task. These results suggest that rumination influenced particular executive functions in different ways.
Granvald, Viktor; Marciszko, Carin
The present study examined relationships between three key executive functions (working memory, inhibition, and mental set-shifting) and multiple types of aggression in a general population sample of 9-year-old children. One hundred and forty-eight children completed a battery of executive function tasks and were rated on aggression by their primary teachers. All executive function (EF) composites were related to a composite measure of aggression. Working memory (WM) was most consistently related to the different types of aggression (overt, relational, reactive, and proactive), whereas inhibition and mental set-shifting only were related to relational and reactive aggression, respectively. Specificity in relations (studied as independent contributions) was generally low with the exception of the relation between WM and relational aggression. Taken together, our results highlight the roles of WM and relational aggression in EF-aggression relations in middle childhood.
Bato, Angelica A.; Blair, Melanie A.; DeRosse, Pamela; Szeszko, Philip R.; Malhotra, Anil K.
Predicting which individuals may engage in aggressive behavior is of interest in today’s society; however, there is little data on the neural basis of aggression in healthy individuals. Here, we tested whether regional differences in white matter (WM) microstructure were associated with later reports of aggressive tendencies. We recontacted healthy young adults an average of 3 years after they underwent research MRI scans. Via electronic survey, we administered the Buss Perry Aggression Questionnaire. We divided aggression into Aggressive Thoughts (Anger and Hostility subscales) and Aggressive Acts (Verbal and Physical subscales) and used Tract-Based Spatial Statistics to test the relationship of those measures to WM microstructure. In 45 individuals age 15–30 at baseline, we observed significant relationships between Aggressive Acts and fractional anisotropy (FA) in a parietal region consistent with the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF). As the SLF has an established relationship to executive function, we performed an exploratory analysis in a subset of individuals with working memory data. Decreased FA in executive network regions, as well as working memory performance, were associated with later self-reported aggressive tendencies. This has implications for our healthy behavior understanding of as well as that of patient populations known to have executive dysfunction. PMID:25691778
Morton, J Bruce
Okanda, et al. (2010) reported new evidence concerning associations between language ability, bilingualism, and executive functioning early in development. The paper adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that bilingualism is associated with advantages in executive functioning generally, and the Dimensional Change Card Sort task in particular. However, as with all findings that hinge on between-group comparisons, there is a need to exercise caution before drawing firm conclusions about the effects of bilingualism on the development of executive control. Several lines of recent evidence are outlined that challenge key assumptions underlying the standard account of the bilingual advantage. Okanda, et al.'s findings are discussed in light of this evidence.
Poulin-Dubois, Diane; Blaye, Agnes; Coutya, Julie; Bialystok, Ellen
Bilingual children have been shown to outperform monolingual children on tasks measuring executive functioning skills. This advantage is usually attributed to bilinguals' extensive practice in exercising selective attention and cognitive flexibility during language use because both languages are active when one of them is being used. We examined whether this advantage is observed in 24-month-olds who have had much less experience in language production. A battery of executive functioning tasks and the cognitive scale of the Bayley test were administered to 63 monolingual and bilingual children. Native bilingual children performed significantly better than monolingual children on the Stroop task, with no difference between groups on the other tasks, confirming the specificity of bilingual effects to conflict tasks reported in older children. These results demonstrate that bilingual advantages in executive control emerge at an age not previously shown.
Poulin-Dubois, Diane; Blaye, Agnes; Coutya, Julie; Bialystok, Ellen
Bilingual children have been shown to outperform monolingual children on tasks measuring executive functioning skills. This advantage is usually attributed to bilinguals’ extensive practice in exercising selective attention and cognitive flexibility during language use because both languages are active when one of them is being used. We examined whether this advantage is observed in 24-month-olds who have had much less experience in language production. A battery of executive functioning tasks and the cognitive scale of the Bayley test were administered to 63 monolingual and bilingual children. Native bilingual children performed significantly better than monolingual children on the Stroop task, with no difference between groups on the other tasks, confirming the specificity of bilingual effects to conflict tasks reported in older children. These results demonstrate that bilingual advantages in executive control emerge at an age not previously shown. PMID:21122877
Texas Univ., Austin. Div. of Extension.
The Adult Performance Level (APL) project summary specifies the competencies which are functional to economic and educational success in society and describes devices developed for assessing those competencies. The APL theory of functional competency identifies adult needs in general knowledge areas (consumer economics, occupational knowledge,…
Huang, Guoyan; Wang, Yuqian; He, Haitao; Ren, Jiadong
As the quality of crucial entities can directly affect that of software, their identification and protection become an important premise for effective software development, management, maintenance and testing, which thus contribute to improving the software quality and its attack-defending ability. Most analysis and evaluation on important entities like codes-based static structure analysis are on the destruction of the actual software running. In this paper, from the perspective of software execution process, we proposed an approach to mine dynamic noteworthy functions (DNFM)in software execution sequences. First, according to software decompiling and tracking stack changes, the execution traces composed of a series of function addresses were acquired. Then these traces were modeled as execution sequences and then simplified so as to get simplified sequences (SFS), followed by the extraction of patterns through pattern extraction (PE) algorithm from SFS. After that, evaluating indicators inner-importance and inter-importance were designed to measure the noteworthiness of functions in DNFM algorithm. Finally, these functions were sorted by their noteworthiness. Comparison and contrast were conducted on the experiment results from two traditional complex network-based node mining methods, namely PageRank and DegreeRank. The results show that the DNFM method can mine noteworthy functions in software effectively and precisely. PMID:28278276
Caixeta, Leonardo; Soares, Vânia L. D.; Vieira, Renata T.; Soares, Cândida D.; Caixeta, Victor; Ferreira, Sandra B.; Aversi-Ferreira, Tales A.
Background: Little is known about the cognitive signature of bipolar disorder (BD) in elderly brains. The neuropsychological features of depressive elderly with early-onset BD are largely unknown. This issue is relevant because cognitive impairment can produce an additional impact on the already compromised functionality of elderly with BD. The aim of this study is to assess executive functions (EFs) in the depressive phase of elderly outpatients with early-onset BD. Methods: Forty-nine elderly outpatients with early-onset BD were assessed with several neuropsychological tests for EF in the depressive phase of the disorder. Results: Executive dysfunction is very common in old age bipolar depression. Thirteen patients (26.5%) had a pseudodementia presentation. The worst performances were observed in the following tests: Trail Making B, Stroop Test 3, Backward Digit Span and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Conclusion: Executive dysfunction profile in elderly BD is complex and heterogeneous, but most cases display difficulties in working memory, inhibitory control, mental flexibility, and information processing speed. The performance of elderly with bipolar depression in executive assessment can be divided into two main categories: (1) Single EF domain impairment; and (2) Multiple EF domain impairment with or without a pseudodementia syndrome. Executive dysfunction in old age bipolar depression may be explained by lack of sufficient mental energy to run those cognitive processes that require larger amounts of effort to be performed. PMID:28243220
Caixeta, Leonardo; Soares, Vânia L D; Vieira, Renata T; Soares, Cândida D; Caixeta, Victor; Ferreira, Sandra B; Aversi-Ferreira, Tales A
Background: Little is known about the cognitive signature of bipolar disorder (BD) in elderly brains. The neuropsychological features of depressive elderly with early-onset BD are largely unknown. This issue is relevant because cognitive impairment can produce an additional impact on the already compromised functionality of elderly with BD. The aim of this study is to assess executive functions (EFs) in the depressive phase of elderly outpatients with early-onset BD. Methods: Forty-nine elderly outpatients with early-onset BD were assessed with several neuropsychological tests for EF in the depressive phase of the disorder. Results: Executive dysfunction is very common in old age bipolar depression. Thirteen patients (26.5%) had a pseudodementia presentation. The worst performances were observed in the following tests: Trail Making B, Stroop Test 3, Backward Digit Span and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Conclusion: Executive dysfunction profile in elderly BD is complex and heterogeneous, but most cases display difficulties in working memory, inhibitory control, mental flexibility, and information processing speed. The performance of elderly with bipolar depression in executive assessment can be divided into two main categories: (1) Single EF domain impairment; and (2) Multiple EF domain impairment with or without a pseudodementia syndrome. Executive dysfunction in old age bipolar depression may be explained by lack of sufficient mental energy to run those cognitive processes that require larger amounts of effort to be performed.
Pope, Caitlin Northcutt; Bell, Tyler Reed; Stavrinos, Despina
Performing secondary tasks, such as texting while driving, is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle collisions (MVCs). While cognitive processes, such as executive function, are involved in driving, little is known about the relationship between executive control and willingness to engage in distracted driving. This study investigated the relationship between age, behavioral manifestations of executive function, and self-reported distracted driving behaviors. Executive difficulty (assessed with the BRIEF-A) as well as demographics (age and gender) was considered as possible predictors of engagement in distracted driving behaviors. Fifty-nine young, middle, and older adults self-reported executive difficulty and weekly engagement in distracted driving behaviors. Results revealed that while partially accounted for by age, global executive difficulty was uniquely related to engagement in distracted driving behaviors. Older age was associated with fewer weekly self-reported distracted driving behaviors while higher self-reported executive difficulty was associated with more frequent weekly engagement in distracted behavior. No significant differences were found between young and middle-aged adults on distracted driving behaviors. Findings conclude that distracted driving is a ubiquitous phenomenon evident in drivers of all ages. Possible mechanisms underlying distracted driving behavior could potentially be related to deficits in executive function.
Landa, Rebecca J.; Goldberg, Melissa C.
This study examined language and executive functions (EF) in high-functioning school-aged individuals with autism and individually matched controls. Relationships between executive, language, and social functioning were also examined. Participants with autism exhibited difficulty on measures of expressive grammar, figurative language, planning,…
Garon, Nancy; Bryson, Susan E.; Smith, Isabel M.
During the last 2 decades, major advances have been made in understanding the development of executive functions (EFs) in early childhood. This article reviews the EF literature during the preschool period using an integrative framework. The framework adopted considers EF to be a unitary construct with partially dissociable components (A. Miyake…
Best, John R.; Miller, Patricia H.; Jones, Lara L.
Research and theorizing on executive function (EF) in childhood has been disproportionately focused on preschool age children. This review paper outlines the importance of examining EF throughout childhood, and even across the lifespan. First, examining EF in older children can address the question of whether EF is a unitary construct. The…
Hayes, Gillian; Hosaflook, Stephen
This six-page (tri-fold) laminated reference guide by Gillian Hayes and Stephen Hosaflook focuses on readily available tools for augmenting and supporting the development of executive function skills, such as time and task management, organization, and self-regulation. These skills are crucial for accomplishing a variety of transition-related…
Welsh, Marilyn C.; And Others
Early-treated phenylketonuria (PKU) children and unaffected peers were evaluated on four executive function (EF) tasks and one nonexecutive task. The PKU children scored lower than unaffected children on EF tasks, but not on the nonexecutive task. The PKU children's composite EF score was correlated with concurrent and mean lifetime phenylalanine…
Towe-Goodman, Nissa R.; Willoughby, Michael; Blair, Clancy; Gustafsson, Hanna C.; Mills-Koonce, W. Roger; Cox, Martha J.
Using data from a diverse sample of 620 families residing in rural, predominately low-income communities, this study examined longitudinal links between fathers’ sensitive parenting in infancy and toddlerhood and children’s early executive functioning, as well as the contribution of maternal sensitive parenting. After accounting for the quality of concurrent and prior parental care, children’s early cognitive ability, and other child and family factors, fathers’ and mothers’ sensitive and supportive parenting during play at 24-months predicted children’s executive functioning at 3-years of age. In contrast, paternal parenting quality during play at 7-months did not make an independent contribution above that of maternal care, but the links between maternal sensitive and supportive parenting and executive functioning seemed to operate in similar ways during infancy and toddlerhood. These findings add to prior work on early experience and children’s executive functioning, suggesting that both fathers and mothers play a distinct and complementary role in the development of these self-regulatory skills. PMID:25347539
Hackman, Daniel A.; Gallop, Robert; Evans, Gary W.; Farah, Martha J.
Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) predicts executive function (EF), but fundamental aspects of this relation remain unknown: the developmental course of the SES disparity, its continued sensitivity to SES changes during that course, and the features of childhood experience responsible for the SES-EF relation. Regarding course, early disparities…
Willner, P.; Bailey, R.; Parry, R.; Dymond, S.
Background: Executive functioning (EF) is an important concept in cognitive psychology that has rarely been studied in people with intellectual disabilities (IDs). The aim of this study was to examine the validity of two test batteries and the structure of EF in this client group. Methods: We administered the children's version of the Behavioural…
Maharasingam, Malini; Macniven, Jamie A B; Mason, Oliver J
Korsakoff syndrome (KS) is characterized by dense anterograde and retrograde amnesia. There is often a temporal gradient to the retrograde amnesia, with earlier memories more readily recalled than recent memories. Executive functioning has also been found to be impaired in KS. However, research comparing executive functioning between chronic alcoholics (AL) and patients with KS has been relatively sparse to date. In a group comparison design, executive functioning in 15 KS patients and 16 chronic alcoholic patients was assessed using the Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome test (BADS) and other secondary measures. The KS group was found to be significantly more impaired than the AL group on overall performance on the BADS (p < .05). Korsakoff patients are significantly more impaired in executive functioning than non-Korsakoff chronic alcoholics. We thank the participants of the study and also acknowledge the support of the University of Nottingham, particularly Nadina Lincoln, and the North East London NHS Foundation Trust. We are also very grateful to the anonymous reviewers of earlier drafts of this manuscript for their invaluable comments.
Reed, Stacey L. E.
Executive function (EF) is becoming a more widely used term to explain student behaviors, yet research on EF in education is limited. This qualitative study addressed a gap in literature by examining teacher perceptions of students with EF deficits, as well as teacher preparedness and desire to learn more about EF. Perceptions of third grade,…
Guajardo, Nicole R.; Parker, Jessica; Turley-Ames, Kandi
The primary purposes of the present study were to clarify previous work on the association between counterfactual thinking and false belief performance to determine (1) whether these two variables are related and (2) if so, whether executive function skills mediate the relationship. A total of 92 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds completed false belief,…
Kazemeini, Toktam; Fadardi, Javad Salehi
The study aimed to examine whether Kurdish-Persian early Bilingual university students (EBL) and Persian Monolingual university students (ML) differ on tasks of executive function (EF). Thirty male EBL and 30 male ML students from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad completed a Persian Stroop Color-Word task (SCWT), Backward Digit Span Test (BDST),…
Johnson, Joseph; Reid, Robert
Academic problems are common among students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). One reason for academic problems is the difficulties in executive functions (EF) that are necessary for complex goal-oriented behaviors. Students with ADHD often exhibit EF deficits and as a result have difficulties with tasks that require planning,…
Kalashnikova, Marina; Mattock, Karen
Previous research has demonstrated that being bilingual from birth is advantageous for the development of skills of social cognition, executive functioning, and metalinguistic awareness due to bilingual children's extensive experience of processing and manipulating two linguistic systems. The present study investigated whether these cognitive…
Isquith, Peter K.; Crawford, Jennifer S.; Espy, Kimberly Andrews; Gioia, Gerard A.
Assessment of the overarching self-regulatory mechanisms, or executive functions, in any age group is challenging, in part due to the complexity of this domain, in part due to their dynamic essence, and in part due to the inextricable links between these central processes and the associated domain-specific processes, such as language, motor…
Zelazo, Philip David; Blair, Clancy B.; Willoughby, Michael T.
Executive function (EF) skills are the attention-regulation skills that make it possible to sustain attention, keep goals and information in mind, refrain from responding immediately, resist distraction, tolerate frustration, consider the consequences of different behaviors, reflect on past experiences, and plan for the future. As EF research…
Beck, Danielle M.; Schaefer, Catherine; Pang, Karen; Carlson, Stephanie M.
Research suggests that executive function (EF) may distinguish between children who are well- or ill-prepared for kindergarten; however, little is known about the test-retest reliability of measures of EF for children. We aimed to establish a battery of EF measures that are sensitive to both development and individual differences across the…
Williams, Tricia S.; Westmacott, Robyn; Dlamini, Nomazulu; Granite, Leeor; Dirks, Peter; Askalan, Rand; MacGregor, Daune; Moharir, Mahendranath; Deveber, Gabrielle
Aim: Moyamoya vasculopathy is characterized by progressive stenosis of the major arteries of the Circle of Willis, resulting in compromised cerebral blood flow and increased risk of stroke. The objectives of the current study were to examine intellectual and executive functioning of children with moyamoya and to evaluate the impact of moyamoya…
Martins, Eva Costa; Osório, Ana; Veríssimo, Manuela; Martins, Carla
This investigation was aimed at studying the relations between executive functions (EFs) and categorical emotion understanding while controlling for preschoolers' IQ, language ability and theory of mind (ToM). Specifically, we wanted to analyse the association between emotion understanding and set shifting, due to the lack of studies with this EF.…
In two studies children's performance on tasks requiring the ascription of beliefs and desires was investigated in relation to their executive function. Study 1 (n = 80) showed that 3- and 4-year-olds were more proficient at ascribing subjective, mutually incompatible desires and desire-dependent emotions to two persons than they were at ascribing…
Nathanson, Amy I.; Aladé, Fashina; Sharp, Molly L.; Rasmussen, Eric E.; Christy, Katheryn
This study investigated the relations between television exposure during the preschool years and the development of executive function (EF). Data were gathered from 107 parents of preschoolers who provided information on children's television viewing, background television exposure, exposure to specific televised content, and the age at which…
Van de Sande, E.; Segers, E.; Verhoeven, L.
The present study examined how embedded activities to support executive functions helped children to benefit from a computer intervention that targeted preliteracy skills. Three intervention groups were compared on their preliteracy gains in a randomized controlled trial design: an experimental group that worked with software to stimulate early…
Duh, Shinchieh; Paik, Jae H.; Miller, Patricia H.; Gluck, Stephanie C.; Li, Hui; Himelfarb, Igor
Cross-cultural research on children's theory of mind (ToM) understanding has raised questions about its developmental sequence and relationship with executive function (EF). The current study examined how ToM develops (using the tasks from Wellman & Liu, 2004) in relation to 2 EF skills (conflict inhibition, working memory) in 997 Chinese…
Lizarraga, Maria Luisa Sanz de Acedo; Baquedano, Maria Teresa Sanz de Acedo; Villanueva, Oscar Ardaiz
The central issue of this paper is to review the possible relationships between the constructs of critical thinking and executive functions. To do this, we first analyse the essential components of critical thinking from a psychological and neurological point of view. Second, we examine the scope of the cognitive and neurological nature of…
Executive functions enable children to pay attention, follow instructions, apply what they have learned, have those "aha!" moments in which they grasp how multiple facts interrelate, think of creative solutions, obey social norms such as waiting their turn and not butting in line or jumping out of their seat, mentally construct a plan,…
Vugs, Brigitte; Knoors, Harry; Cuperus, Juliane; Hendriks, Marc; Verhoeven, Ludo
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a computer-based executive function (EF) training in children with specific language impairment (SLI). Ten children with SLI, ages 8 to 12 years, completed a 25-session training of visuospatial working memory, inhibition and cognitive flexibility over a 6-week period. Treatment outcome was…
Kok, Rianne; Lucassen, Nicole; Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marian J; van IJzendoorn, Marinus H; Ghassabian, Akhgar; Roza, Sabine J; Govaert, Paul; Jaddoe, Vincent W; Hofman, Albert; Verhulst, Frank C; Tiemeier, Henning
In this longitudinal population-based study (N = 544), we investigated whether early parenting and corpus callosum length predict child executive function abilities at 4 years of age. The length of the corpus callosum in infancy was measured using postnatal cranial ultrasounds at 6 weeks of age. At 3 years, two aspects of parenting were observed: maternal sensitivity during a teaching task and maternal discipline style during a discipline task. Parents rated executive function problems at 4 years of age in five domains of inhibition, shifting, emotional control, working memory, and planning/organizing, using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Preschool Version. Maternal sensitivity predicted less executive function problems at preschool age. A significant interaction was found between corpus callosum length in infancy and maternal use of positive discipline to determine child inhibition problems: The association between a relatively shorter corpus callosum in infancy and child inhibition problems was reduced in children who experienced more positive discipline. Our results point to the buffering potential of positive parenting for children with biological vulnerability.
Poulin-Dubois, Diane; Blaye, Agnes; Coutya, Julie; Bialystok, Ellen
Bilingual children have been shown to outperform monolingual children on tasks measuring executive functioning skills. This advantage is usually attributed to bilinguals' extensive practice in exercising selective attention and cognitive flexibility during language use because both languages are active when one of them is being used. We examined…
Aarnoudse-Moens, Cornelieke S. H.; Smidts, Diana P.; Oosterlaan, Jaap; Duivenvoorden, Hugo J.; Weisglas-Kuperus, Nynke
We examined whether very preterm ([less than or equal to] 30 weeks gestation) children at early school age have impairments in executive function (EF) independent of IQ and processing speed, and whether demographic and neonatal risk factors were associated with EF impairments. A consecutive sample of 50 children (27 boys and 23 girls) born very…
Hammond, Stuart I.; Muller, Ulrich; Carpendale, Jeremy I. M.; Bibok, Maximilian B.; Liebermann-Finestone, Dana P.
The present study explores the effects of parental scaffolding of children's problem solving on the development of executive function (EF). Eighty-two children were assessed at 2, 3, and 4 years of age on a variety of EF tasks and, at ages 2 and 3, on a problem-solving puzzle with which parents offered structured assistance (i.e., scaffolding).…
Osorio, Ana; Cruz, Raquel; Sampaio, Adriana; Garayzabal, Elena; Martinez-Regueiro, Rocio; Goncalves, Oscar F.; Carracedo, Angel; Fernandez-Prieto, Montse
Williams syndrome is characterized by impairments in executive functions (EFs). However, it remains unknown how distinct types of EFs relate to intelligence in this syndrome. The present study analyzed performance on working memory, inhibiting and shifting, and its links to IQ in a sample of 17 individuals with WS, and compared them with a group…
Schoemaker, Kim; Bunte, Tessa; Wiebe, Sandra A.; Espy, Kimberly Andrews; Dekovic, Maja; Matthys, Walter
Background: Impairments in executive functions (EF) are consistently associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and to a lesser extent, with disruptive behavior disorder (DBD), that is, oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder, in school-aged children. Recently, larger numbers of children with these disorders are…
Miller, Stephanie E.; Marcovitch, Stuart
Although labeling improves executive function (EF) performance in children older than 3 years, the results from studies with younger children have been equivocal. In the current study, we assessed performance in a computerized multistep multilocation search task with older 2-year-olds. The correct search location was either (a) not marked by a…
Demagistri, Maria Silvina; Richards, Maria Marta; Canet Juric, Lorena
Introduction: Reading comprehension is a complex cognitive skill that has been associated with executive functions such as working memory (WM) and inhibition. Given that the development of these abilities continues through late adolescence, this study seeks to explore the role that both processes play with respect to varying levels of reading…
Juarascio, Adrienne S; Manasse, Stephanie M; Espel, Hallie M; Kerrigan, Stephanie G; Forman, Evan M
Current gold standard treatments for eating disorders (EDs) lack satisfactory efficacy, and traditional psychological treatments do not directly address executive functioning deficits underpinning ED pathology. The goal of this paper is to explore the potential for enhancing ED treatment outcomes by improving executive functioning deficits that have been demonstrated to underlie eating pathology. To achieve our objective, we (1) review existing evidence for executive functioning deficits that underpin EDs and consider the extent to which these deficits could be targeted in neurocognitive training programs, (2) present the evidence for the one ED neurocognitive training program well-studied to date (Cognitive Remediation Therapy), (3) discuss the utility of neurocognitive training programs that have been developed for other psychiatric disorders with similar deficits, and (4) provide suggestions for the future development and research of neurocognitive training programs for EDs. Despite the fact that the body of empirical work on neurocognitive training programs for eating disorders is very small, we conclude that their potential is high given the combined evidence for the role of deficits in executive functioning in EDs, the initial promise of Cognitive Remediation Training, and the success in treating related conditions with neurocognitive training. Based on the evidence to date, it appears that the development and empirical evaluation of neurocognitive training programs for EDs is warranted.
Thabit, Hood; Kyaw Tun, Tommy; McDermott, John; Sreenan, Seamus
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic medical condition that is dependent upon patients self-caring and managing their condition to achieve optimal control. Adherence to medical therapy, making decisions related to lifestyle changes, and self-treating hypoglycaemia for example, require planning and organisational skills that are under the control of a specific domain of cognitive function known as executive function. Executive function has been shown by functional imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging to be under the influence of the frontal and prefrontal cortical system. It is now recognised that even in subjects with apparently normal cognition, DM may be associated with impaired executive function (IEF). The exact cause of IEF in DM is still not fully understood. However cerebral microvascular disease and chronic dysglycaemia have been postulated as possible factors contributing to functional neuronal dysfunction leading to IEF. IEF may adversely affect patients' abilities to self-manage their diabetes care, potentially cause worsening glycaemic control and difficulty managing risk factors. Several bedside assessment tools to screen for IEF are currently available and have been shown to correlate with functional status. However, more studies are needed to validate these tests against diabetes self-care assessment tools. Until then, clinicians and healthcare workers managing patients with DM should be aware of the potential for IEF in their patients as specific behaviour and education intervention may be needed to help manage patients with diabetes and IEF.
Ko, Ji Hyun; Antonelli, Francesca; Monchi, Oury; Ray, Nicola; Rusjan, Pablo; Houle, Sylvain; Lang, Anthony E; Christopher, Leigh; Strafella, Antonio P
The main pattern of cognitive impairments seen in early to moderate stages of Parkinson's disease (PD) includes deficits of executive functions. These nonmotor complications have a significant impact on the quality of life and day-to-day activities of PD patients and are not effectively managed by current therapies, a problem which is almost certainly due to the fact that the disease extends beyond the nigrostriatal system. To investigate the role of extrastriatal dopamine in executive function in PD, PD patients and a control group were studied with positron-emission-tomography using a high-affinity dopamine D2/D3 receptor tracer, [(11) C]FLB-457. All participants were scanned twice while performing an executive task and a control task. Patients were off medication for at least 12 h. The imaging analysis revealed that parkinsonian patients had lower [(11) C]FLB-457 binding than control group independently of task conditions across different brain regions. Cognitive assessment measures were positively correlated with [(11) C]FLB-457 binding in the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex only in control group, but not in PD patients. Within the control group, during the executive task (as compared to control task), there was evidence of reduced [(11) C]FLB-457 binding (indicative of increased dopamine release) in the right orbitofrontal cortex. In contrast, PD patients did not show any reduction in binding during the executive task (as compared with control task). These findings suggest that PD patients present significant abnormalities in extrastriatal dopamine associated with executive processing. These observations provide important insights on the pathophysiology of cognitive dysfunction in PD.
Kennedy, J. R.; Fitzpatrick, W. S.
The computer executive functional system design concepts derived from study of the Space Station/Base are presented. Information Management System hardware configuration as directly influencing the executive design is reviewed. The hardware configuration and generic executive design requirements are considered in detail in a previous report (System Configuration and Executive Requirements Specifications for Reusable Shuttle and Space Station/Base, 9/25/70). This report defines basic system primitives and delineates processes and process control. Supervisor states are considered for describing basic multiprogramming and multiprocessing systems. A high-level computer executive including control of scheduling, allocation of resources, system interactions, and real-time supervisory functions is defined. The description is oriented to provide a baseline for a functional simulation of the computer executive system.
Kalbfleisch, M. Layne; Loughan, Ashlee R.
We examined the impact of IQ discrepancy (IQD) within (1) and above (1+) one standard deviation on executive function in HFA using the BRIEF. We hypothesized that IQD would benefit executive function. IQD 1 is hallmarked by deficits in BRIEF indices and subscales inhibit, shift, initiate, working memory, planning and organization, and monitor…
van de Ven, Renate M.; Murre, Jaap M. J.; Veltman, Dick J.; Schmand, Ben A.
Background: Stroke commonly results in cognitive impairments in working memory, attention, and executive function, which may be restored with appropriate training programs. Our aim was to systematically review the evidence for computer-based cognitive training of executive dysfunctions. Methods: Studies were included if they concerned adults who had suffered stroke or other types of acquired brain injury, if the intervention was computer training of executive functions, and if the outcome was related to executive functioning. We searched in MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and The Cochrane Library. Study quality was evaluated based on the CONSORT Statement. Treatment effect was evaluated based on differences compared to pre-treatment and/or to a control group. Results: Twenty studies were included. Two were randomized controlled trials that used an active control group. The other studies included multiple baselines, a passive control group, or were uncontrolled. Improvements were observed in tasks similar to the training (near transfer) and in tasks dissimilar to the training (far transfer). However, these effects were not larger in trained than in active control groups. Two studies evaluated neural effects and found changes in both functional and structural connectivity. Most studies suffered from methodological limitations (e.g., lack of an active control group and no adjustment for multiple testing) hampering differentiation of training effects from spontaneous recovery, retest effects, and placebo effects. Conclusions: The positive findings of most studies, including neural changes, warrant continuation of research in this field, but only if its methodological limitations are addressed. PMID:27148007
Gansler, David A.; Jerram, Matthew W.; Vannorsdall, Tracy D.; Schretlen, David J.
The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) is assumed to measure executive functioning, but this has not been empirically tested by means of both convergent and discriminant validity. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to test whether the IGT is an executive function (EF) task (convergent validity) and whether it is not related to other neuropsychological domains (discriminant validity). Healthy community-dwelling participants (N = 214) completed a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. We analyzed the conventional IGT metric and three alternative metrics based on the overall difference of advantageous minus disadvantageous choices made during the last 60 IGT responses and advantageous minus disadvantageous choices based on two specific decks of cards (D minus A). An a priori six-factor hierarchical model of neuropsychological functioning was confirmed with SEM. Attention and processing speed were grouped as “non-associative” factors. Fluency, executive functioning, visual learning/memory, and verbal learning/memory were grouped as higher-level “associative” factors. Of the non-associative factors, attention, but not speed, predicted IGT performance. When each associative factor was entered along with attention, only EF improved the model fit and that was only for metrics based on trials 41–100. SEM indicates metrics based on trails 1–100 are influenced by attention, and metrics based on trails 41–100 are influenced by attention and EF. Its associative strength with attention is twice that of EF. Conceptually, the IGT is a multi-trait task involving novel problem-solving and attentional domains to a greater extent, and executive functioning to a lesser extent. PMID:22015855
Hayashi, Yusuke; Rivera, Esteban A; Modico, James G; Foreman, Anne M; Wirth, Oliver
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the cognitive processes underlying texting while driving. A sample of 120 college students completed a survey to assess how frequently they send and read a text message while driving. Based on this information, students were assigned to one of two groups: 20 students who frequently text while driving and 20 matched-control students who infrequently text while driving but were similar in gender, age, years of education, and years driving. The groups were compared on the extent to which they differed in self-reported measures of executive function and impulsivity. The groups were also compared on a behavioral measure of impulsivity: the extent to which they discounted hypothetical monetary rewards as a function of the delay. For this measure, the students made repeated choices between smaller monetary rewards available immediately and larger rewards available after delays ranging from 1 week to 6 months. The results show that the group of students who frequently text while driving showed (a) significantly lower levels of executive function and (b) higher levels of self-reported impulsivity, although the groups did not differ significantly on the behavioral measure of impulsivity. These results support a general conclusion that drivers with lower levels of executive function and higher levels of impulsivity are more likely to text while driving.
Fuermaier, Anselm B M; Tucha, Lara; Koerts, Janneke; Weisbrod, Matthias; Lange, Klaus W; Aschenbrenner, Steffen; Tucha, Oliver
Neuropsychological research on adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) revealed considerable impairments in memory functions related to executive control. However, only limited evidence exists supporting the effects of pharmacological treatment using methylphenidate (MPH) on memory functions. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to explore the impact of MPH on various memory functions of adults with ADHD. Thirty-one adults with ADHD treated with MPH, 36 adults with ADHD not-treated with MPH, and 36 healthy individuals were assessed on several aspects of memory, including short-term memory, working memory, retrospective memory, prospective memory, and source memory. Multivariate statistical analyses were applied to compare memory functions between groups. Nonmedicated adults with ADHD showed considerable impairments in memory functions related to executive control. Adults with ADHD treated with MPH showed improved memory functions when compared to nonmedicated patients, but were still impaired when compared to healthy controls. The present study emphasized the severity of memory impairments of adults with ADHD. A pharmacological treatment with MPH appeared to improve memory, but does not normalize functioning. Additional treatment intervention (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy) is therefore necessary.
Schiebener, Johannes; Wegmann, Elisa; Gathmann, Bettina; Laier, Christian; Pawlikowski, Mirko; Brand, Matthias
Executive functioning is supposed to have an important role in decision making under risk. Several studies reported that more advantageous decision-making behavior was accompanied by better performance in tests of executive functioning and that the decision-making process was accompanied by activations in prefrontal and subcortical brain regions associated with executive functioning. However, to what extent different components of executive functions contribute to decision making is still unclear. We tested direct and indirect effects of three executive functions on decision-making performance in a laboratory gambling task, the Game of Dice Task (GDT). Using Brand's model of decisions under risk (2006) we tested seven structural equation models with three latent variables that represent executive functions supposed to be involved in decision making. The latent variables were general control (represented by the general ability to exert attentional and behavioral self-control that is in accordance with task goals despite interfering information), concept formation (represented by categorization, rule detection, and set maintenance), and monitoring (represented by supervision of cognition and behavior). The seven models indicated that only the latent dimension general control had a direct effect on decision making under risk. Concept formation and monitoring only contributed in terms of indirect effects, when mediated by general control. Thus, several components of executive functioning seem to be involved in decision making under risk. However, general control functions seem to have a key role. They may be important for implementing the calculative and cognitively controlled processes involved in advantageous decision making under risk.
McAlister, Anna; Peterson, Candida C.
This study assessed the theory of mind (ToM) and executive functioning (EF) abilities of 124 typically developing preschool children aged 3 to 5 years in relation to whether or not they had a child-aged sibling (i.e. a child aged 1 to 12 years) at home with whom to play and converse. On a ToM battery that included tests of false belief,…
Dahlgren, Mary Kathryn; Sagar, Kelly A.; Racine, Megan T.; Dreman, Meredith W.; Gruber, Staci A.
Objective: Despite growing evidence that chronic marijuana use is associated with cognitive impairment, particularly when use is initiated at an early age, national trends demonstrate significant decreases in the perceived risk of marijuana corresponding with increased use, especially among youth. The current study assessed the impact of marijuana use on executive function and whether patterns of marijuana use, including earlier age at onset, higher frequency, and increased magnitude of use, predict impairment. Method: Forty-four chronic, heavy marijuana smokers (37 male, 7 female) and 32 healthy, nonsmoking control participants (20 male, 12 female) recruited from the Greater Boston area completed two assessments of executive function: the Stroop Color Word Test and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Results: Marijuana smokers had poorer executive function relative to control participants, a between-group difference that was primarily driven by individuals with early onset of marijuana use (before age 16; n = 21); significance remained even when controlling for frequency and magnitude of use. Further, earlier age at marijuana onset and increased marijuana use predicted poorer neurocognitive performance, and perseverative errors on the WCST significantly predicted marijuana group membership. Conclusions: These findings underscore the impact of early onset of marijuana use on executive function impairment independent of increased frequency and magnitude of use. In addition, poorer performance on the WCST may serve as a neuropsychological marker for heavy marijuana users. These results highlight the need for additional research to identify predictors associated with early marijuana use, as exposure to marijuana during a period of developmental vulnerability may result in negative cognitive consequences. PMID:26997188
Rose-Jacobs, Ruth; Soenksen, Shayna; Appugliese, Danielle P; Cabral, Howard J; Richardson, Mark A; Beeghly, Marjorie; Heeren, Timothy C; Frank, Deborah A
Individual differences in adolescents' executive functioning are often attributed either to intrauterine substance exposure or to adolescents' own substance use, but both predictors typically have not been evaluated simultaneously in the same study. This prospective study evaluated whether intrauterine drug exposures, the adolescents' own substance use, and/or their potential interactions are related to poorer executive functioning after controlling for important contextual variables. Analyses were based on data collected on a sample of 137 predominantly African-American/African Caribbean adolescents from low-income urban backgrounds who were followed since their term birth. Intrauterine substance exposures (cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes) and adolescents' substance use were documented using a combination of biological assays and maternal and adolescent self-report. At 12-14 years of age, examiners masked to intrauterine exposures and current substance use assessed the adolescents using the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS), an age-referenced instrument evaluating multiple dimensions of executive functioning (EF). Results of covariate-controlled analyses in this study suggest that when intrauterine substance exposures and young adolescents' substance use variables were in the same analysis models, subtle differences in specific EF outcomes were identifiable in this non-referred sample. While further study with larger samples is indicated, these findings suggest that 1) research on adolescent substance use and intrauterine exposure research should evaluate both predictors simultaneously, 2) subtle neurocognitive effects associated with specific intrauterine drug exposures can be identified during early adolescence, and 3) intrauterine substance exposure effects may differ from those associated with adolescents' own drug use.
Crivello, Cristina; Kuzyk, Olivia; Rodrigues, Monyka; Friend, Margaret; Zesiger, Pascal; Poulin-Dubois, Diane
The mastery of two languages provides bilingual speakers with cognitive benefits over monolinguals, particularly on cognitive flexibility and selective attention. However, extant research is limited to comparisons between monolinguals and bilinguals at a single point in time. This study investigated whether growth in bilingual proficiency, as shown by an increased number of translation equivalents (TEs) over a 7-month period, improves executive function. We hypothesized that bilingual toddlers with a larger increase of TEs would have more practice in switching across lexical systems, boosting executive function abilities. Expressive vocabulary and TEs were assessed at 24 and 31 months of age. A battery of tasks, including conflict, delay, and working memory tasks, was administered at 31 months. As expected, we observed a task-specific advantage in inhibitory control in bilinguals. More important, within the bilingual group, larger increases in the number of TEs predicted better performance on conflict tasks but not on delay tasks. This unique longitudinal design confirms the relation between executive function and early bilingualism.
Crivello, Cristina; Kuzyk, Olivia; Rodrigues, Monyka; Friend, Margaret; Zesiger, Pascal; Poulin-Dubois, Diane
The mastery of two languages provides bilingual speakers with cognitive benefits over monolinguals, particularly on cognitive flexibility and selective attention. However, extant research is limited to comparisons between monolinguals and bilinguals at a single point in time. This study investigated whether growth in bilingual proficiency, as shown by an increased number of translation equivalents (TEs) over a 7-month period, improves executive function. We hypothesized that bilingual toddlers with a larger increase of TEs would have more practice in switching across lexical systems, boosting executive function abilities. Expressive vocabulary and TEs were assessed at 24 and 31 months of age. A battery of tasks, including conflict, delay, and working memory tasks, was administered at 31 months. As expected, we observed a task-specific advantage in inhibitory control in bilinguals. More important, within the bilingual group, larger increases in the number of TEs predicted better performance on conflict tasks but not on delay tasks. This unique longitudinal design confirms the relation between executive function and early bilingualism. PMID:26402219
Chen, Tingting; Yue, Guang H.; Tian, Yingxue; Jiang, Changhao
This study aims at comparing the effects of the Baduanjin mind-body (BMB) intervention with a conventional relaxation training program on enhancing the executive function. The study also attempts to explore the neural substrates underlying the cognitive effect of BMB intervention using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technique. Forty-two healthy college students were randomly allocated into either the Baduanjin intervention group or relaxation training (control) group. Training lasted for 8 weeks (90 min/day, 5 days/week). Each participant was administered the shortened Profile of Mood States to evaluate their mood status and the flanker task to evaluate executive function before and after training. While performing the flanker task, the NIRS data were collected from each participant. After training, individuals who have participated in BMB exercise showed a significant reduction in depressive mood compared with the same measure before the intervention. However, participants in the control group showed no such reduction. The before vs. after measurement difference in the flanker task incongruent trails was significant only for the Baduanjin intervention group. Interestingly, an increase in oxygenated hemoglobin in the left prefrontal cortex was observed during the Incongruent Trails test only after the BMB exercise intervention. These findings implicate that Baduanjin is an effective and easy-to-administering mind-body exercise for improving executive function and perhaps brain self-regulation in a young and healthy population. PMID:28133453
Hahn, Bridget; Baum, Carolyn; Moore, Jennifer; Ehrlich-Jones, Linda; Spoeri, Susan; Doherty, Meghan; Wolf, Timothy J
OBJECTIVE. The Executive Function Performance Test (EFPT) is a reliable and valid performance-based assessment of executive function for people with stroke. The objective of this study was to enhance the clinical utility of the EFPT by developing and testing additional tasks for the EFPT in the Alternate EFPT (aEFPT). METHOD. We performed a cross-sectional study with poststroke participants (n = 25) and healthy control participants (n = 25). All participants completed a neuropsychological assessment battery and both the EFPT and the aEFPT. RESULTS. No statistically significant differences were found between the EFPT and the aEFPT when examining total scores, construct scores, and two overall task scores. Correlations between the aEFPT and the neuropsychological measures were adequate to strong (r2s = .59-.83). CONCLUSION. The aEFPT tasks are comparable to the original EFPT tasks, providing occupational therapy practitioners with additional tasks that can be used clinically to identify performance-based executive function deficits in people with stroke.
Schmerold, Katrina; Bock, Allison; Peterson, Matthew; Leaf, Britney; Vennergrund, Katherine; Pasnak, Robert
Patterning, or the ability to understand patterns, is a skill commonly taught to young children as part of school mathematics curricula. It seems likely that some aspects of executive function, such as cognitive flexibility, inhibition, and working memory, may be expressed in the patterning abilities of children. The primary objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between patterning and executive functioning for first grade children. In addition, the relations between patterning, executive functioning, mathematics, and reading were examined. The results showed that patterning was significantly related to cognitive flexibility and working memory, but not to inhibition. Patterning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory were significantly related to mathematical skills. Only patterning and working memory were significantly related to reading. Regression analyses and structural equation modeling both showed that patterning had effects on both reading and mathematics measures, and that the effects of cognitive flexibility were entirely mediated by patterning. Working memory had independent effects on reading and mathematics, and also effects moderated by patterning. In sum, these findings suggest that cognitive flexibility and working memory are related to patterning and express their effects on reading and mathematics in whole or in part through patterning.
Piper, Brian J; Li, Victoria; Eiwaz, Massarra A; Kobel, Yuliyana V; Benice, Ted S; Chu, Alex M; Olsen, Reid H J; Rice, Douglas Z; Gray, Hilary M; Mueller, Shane T; Raber, Jacob
The measurement of executive function has a long history in clinical and experimental neuropsychology. The goal of the present report was to determine the profile of behavior across the lifespan on four computerized measures of executive function contained in the recently developed Psychology Experiment Building Language (PEBL) test battery http://pebl.sourceforge.net/ and evaluate whether this pattern is comparable to data previously obtained with the non-PEBL versions of these tests. Participants (N = 1,223; ages, 5-89 years) completed the PEBL Trail Making Test (pTMT), the Wisconsin Card Sort Test (pWCST; Berg, Journal of General Psychology, 39, 15-22, 1948; Grant & Berg, Journal of Experimental Psychology, 38, 404-411, 1948), the Tower of London (pToL), or a time estimation task (Time-Wall). Age-related effects were found over all four tests, especially as age increased from young childhood through adulthood. For several tests and measures (including pToL and pTMT), age-related slowing was found as age increased in adulthood. Together, these findings indicate that the PEBL tests provide valid and versatile new research tools for measuring executive functions.
Owens, Sheena F; Rijsdijk, Fruhling; Picchioni, Marco M; Stahl, Daniel; Nenadic, Igor; Murray, Robin M; Toulopoulou, Timothea
Impairments in selective components of executive function are seen in unaffected family members of patients with schizophrenia and may represent the biological expression of increased genetic risk. However no study has quantified the extent to which liability to schizophrenia overlaps genetically with that of executive dysfunction. We studied a total of 418 monozygotic and dizygotic twins, including pairs concordant and discordant for schizophrenia. Participants completed the trail making test part A and verbal fluency tasks to assess initiation, TMT part B to test mental flexibility, and the WAIS-III to assess general intellectual function. Bivariate genetic modeling was used to investigate whether selective measures of executive processing are genetically linked to schizophrenia and to quantify the genetic (i.e. heritability) and environmental contributions to their variability. Genetic influences contributed substantially to test variance for initiation and mental flexibility. Genetic factors were the main source of the phenotypic correlations between schizophrenia and these processes. Verbal fluency tasks shared a large genetic correlation with IQ whilst TMT scales did not, suggesting that they measure discreet processes, and therefore indexing discreet endophenotypes. Both verbal fluency and mental flexibility meet some of the criteria for endophenotypes, but our data suggest that mental flexibility is a purer cognitive process sharing very little common variance with general intellectual functioning. The inclusion of this mental flexibility phenotype in linkage or association analysis should improve the power to detect susceptibility genes for schizophrenia.
Corsi-Cabrera, M; Rosales-Lagarde, A; del Río-Portilla, Y; Sifuentes-Ortega, R; Alcántara-Quintero, B
Given that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is involved in executive functions and is deactivated and decoupled from posterior associative regions during REM sleep, that Gamma temporal coupling involved in information processing is enhanced during REM sleep, and that adult humans spend about 90 min of every 24h in REM sleep, it might be expected that REM sleep deprivation would modify Gamma temporal coupling and have a deteriorating effect on executive functions. We analyzed EEG Gamma activity and temporal coupling during implementation of a rule-guided task before and after REM sleep deprivation and its effect on verbal fluency, flexible thinking and selective attention. After two nights in the laboratory for adaptation, on the third night subjects (n=18) were randomly assigned to either selective REM sleep deprivation effectuated by awakening them at each REM sleep onset or, the same number of NREM sleep awakenings as a control for unspecific effects of sleep interruptions. Implementation of abstract rules to guide behavior required greater activation and synchronization of Gamma activity in the frontopolar regions after REM sleep reduction from 20.6% at baseline to just 3.93% of total sleep time. However, contrary to our hypothesis, both groups showed an overall improvement in executive task performance and no effect on their capacity to sustain selective attention. These results suggest that after one night of selective REM sleep deprivation executive functions can be compensated by increasing frontal activation and they still require the participation of supervisory control by frontopolar regions.
Fizke, Ella; Barthel, Dana; Peters, Thomas; Rakoczy, Hannes
While developmental experiments with children and elderly subjects, work with neuropsychological patients and adult experimental studies have consistently found close relations between executive function and theory of mind, the foundation of this relation still remains somewhat unclear. One prominent account holds that executive function is specifically involved in ascribing such mental states, paradigmatically beliefs, that aim at representing the world truly because ascribing such states requires inhibition of normative defaults (beliefs being true) (e.g. Sabbagh, Moses, & Shiverick, 2006). The present studies systematically tested for the role of executive function in different forms of mental state ascription as a function of the type of state ascribed (beliefs or desires) and the first person involvement of the ascriber (whether she herself has an attitude conflicting with one to be ascribed to someone else) in young children. The results reveal that (i) executive function is related not only to belief ascription but equally to desire ascription when both are matched in terms of logical complexity (such that two subjective attitudes have to be ascribed to two agents that are incompatible with each other). (ii) Both for desires and for beliefs, these relations are strongest in such tasks where the ascriber herself is one of the two agents, i.e. has a belief or desire herself that stands in contrast to that to be ascribed to someone else. All in all, these findings suggest that executive function figures in coordinating perspectives more generally, not only epistemic ones, and in particular in coordinating others' and one's own conflicting perspectives.
Costanzo, Floriana; Varuzza, Cristiana; Menghini, Deny; Addona, Francesca; Gianesini, Tiziana; Vicari, Stefano
Executive functions are a set of high cognitive abilities that control and regulate other functions and behaviors and are crucial for successful adaptation. Deficits in executive functions are frequently described in developmental disorders, which are characterized by disadaptive behavior. However, executive functions are not widely examined in…
Taconnat, Laurence; Clarys, David; Vanneste, Sandrine; Bouazzaoui, Badiâa; Isingrini, Michel
Cued-recall in episodic memory was investigated in relation to low and high cognitive support at retrieval, executive function level and fluid intelligence level in 81 healthy adults divided first into two age groups (young and elderly adults). The first analyses showed that age-related differences were greater when a low cognitive support was provided to recall the words. An individual index of loss of performance when the number of cues was decreased was then calculated. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that the executive functions measure (perseverative errors on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test) was a better candidate than the fluid intelligence measure (Cattell's culture fair test) to account for the age-related variance of the size of performance loss. These findings suggest that age differences in implementing strategic retrieval may be mainly due to a decline in executive functions.
Joyce, E; Blumenthal, S; Wessely, S
OBJECTIVES--To examine cognitive function in chronic fatigue syndrome. METHODS--Twenty patients with chronic fatigue syndrome recruited from primary care and 20 matched normal controls were given CANTAB computerised tests of visuospatial memory, attention, and executive function, and verbal tests of letter and category fluency and word association learning. RESULTS: Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were impaired, predominantly in the domain of memory but their pattern of performance was unlike that of patients with amnesic syndrome or dementia. They were normal on tests of spatial pattern recognition memory, simultaneous and delayed matching to sample, and pattern-location association learning. They were impaired on tests of spatial span, spatial working memory, and a selective reminding condition of the pattern-location association learning test. An executive test of planning was normal. In an attentional test, eight subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome were unable to learn a response set; the remainder exhibited no impairment in the executive set shifting phase of the test. Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were also impaired on verbal tests of unrelated word association learning and letter fluency. CONCLUSION--Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have reduced attentional capacity resulting in impaired performance on effortful tasks requiring planned or self ordered generation of responses from memory. PMID:8778252
Hogan, Alexandra M; Telfer, Paul T; Kirkham, Fenella J; de Haan, Michelle
Executive dysfunction occurs in sickle cell anemia, but there are few early data. Infants with sickle cell anemia (n = 14) and controls (n = 14) performed the "A-not-B" and Object Retrieval search tasks, measuring precursors of executive function at 9 and 12 months. Significant group differences were not found. However, for the A-not-B task, 7 of 11 sickle cell anemia infants scored in the lower 2 performance categories at 9 months, but only 1 at 12 months (P = .024); controls obtained scores at 12 months that were statistically comparable to the scores they had already obtained at 9 months. On the Object Retrieval task, 9- and 12-month controls showed comparable scores, whereas infants with sickle cell anemia continued to improve (P = .027); at 9 months, those with lower hemoglobin oxygen saturation passed fewer trials (R s = 0.670, P = .024) and took longer to obtain the toy (R s = -0.664, P = .013). Subtle delays in acquiring developmental skills may underlie abnormal executive function in childhood.
Hodges, J R
To assess semantic memory and frontal executive function, two patients underwent neuropsychological testing during transient global amnesia (TGA) and after an interval of 6-8 weeks. In spite of a profound deficit in anterograde verbal and non-verbal memory, semantic memory was normal, as judged by category fluency measures, picture naming, and picture-word and picture-picture matching, and reading ability was normal. Similarly, there were no deficits on a number of tests known to be sensitive to frontal executive dysfunction. A hexamethylpropyleneamine-oxime (HMPAO) single photon emission CT (SPECT) scan, obtained on one patient 24 hours post-TGA, showed focal left temporal lobe hypoperfusion which had resolved three months later. The observed dissociation between episodic and semantic memory is discussed in the light of contemporary cognitive theories of memory organisation. PMID:8201333
Wiebe, Sandra A; Sheffield, Tiffany; Nelson, Jennifer Mize; Clark, Caron A C; Chevalier, Nicolas; Espy, Kimberly Andrews
Although the structure of executive function (EF) during adulthood is characterized by both unity and diversity, recent evidence suggests that preschool EF may be best described by a single factor. The latent structure of EF was examined in 228 3-year-olds using confirmatory factor analysis. Children completed a battery of executive tasks that differed in format and response requirements and in putative working memory and inhibitory control demands. Tasks appeared to be age appropriate, with adequate sensitivity across the range of performance and without floor or ceiling effects. Tests of the relative fit of several alternative models supported a single latent EF construct. Measurement invariance testing revealed less proficient EF in children at higher sociodemographic risk relative to those at lower risk and no differences between boys and girls. At 3years of age, when EF skills are emerging, EF appears to be a unitary, more domain-general process.
Almasi, Gheorghe; Archer, Charles J.; Giampapa, Mark E.; Gooding, Thomas M.; Heidelberger, Philip; Parker, Jeffrey J.
Executing application function calls in response to an interrupt including creating a thread; receiving an interrupt having an interrupt type; determining whether a value of a semaphore represents that interrupts are disabled; if the value of the semaphore represents that interrupts are not disabled: calling, by the thread, one or more preconfigured functions in dependence upon the interrupt type of the interrupt; yielding the thread; and if the value of the semaphore represents that interrupts are disabled: setting the value of the semaphore to represent to a kernel that interrupts are hard-disabled; and hard-disabling interrupts at the kernel.
Buss, Aaron T; Spencer, John P
Executive function (EF) is a central aspect of cognition that undergoes significant changes in early childhood. Changes in EF in early childhood are robustly predictive of academic achievement and general quality of life measures later in adulthood. We present a dynamic neural field (DNF) model that provides a process-based account of behavior and developmental change in a key task used to probe the early development of executive function—the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) task. In the DCCS, children must flexibly switch from sorting cards either by shape or color to sorting by the other dimension. Typically, 3-year-olds, but not 5-year-olds, lack the flexibility to do so and perseverate on the first set of rules when instructed to switch. Using the DNF model, we demonstrate how rule-use and behavioral flexibility come about through a form of dimensional attention. Further, developmental change is captured by increasing the robustness and precision of dimensional attention. Note that although this enables the model to effectively switch tasks, the dimensional attention system does not “know” the details of task-specific performance. Rather, correct performance emerges as a property of system–wide interactions. We show how this captures children’s behavior in quantitative detail across 14 versions of the DCCS task. Moreover, we successfully test a set of novel predictions with 3-year-old children from a version of the task not explained by other theories.
Barenberg, Jonathan; Berse, Timo; Dutke, Stephan
As executive functions play an essential role in learning processes, approaches capable of enhancing executive functioning are of particular interest to educational psychology. Recently, the hypothesis has been advanced that executive functioning may benefit from changes in neurobiological processes induced by physical activity. The present…
O'Neill, Gina; Miller, Patricia H.
This study brought together 2 literatures--gesturing and executive function--in order to examine the possible role of gesture in children's executive function. Children (N = 41) aged 2½-6 years performed a sorting-shift executive function task (Dimensional Change Card Sort). Responses of interest included correct sorting, response latency,…
Bagby, Janet; Barnard-Brak, Lucy; Sulak, Tracey; Jones, Natalie; Walter, Mary
The purpose of this study was to examine the executive function of 4th- to 6th-grade students in three distinctively different private school environments: a Montessori school, a classical school, and a Catholic school. Using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, parent-teacher dyads rated the executive function of 112 students.…
Researchers and clinicians often measure executive function in patients and normal samples. In addition to cognitive tests that objectively measure executive function, several instruments have been developed that address individuals' everyday experience of executive problems. Such self-report measures of executive problems may have value, but there are questions about the extent to which they tap objectively measurable executive problems or are influenced by variables such as personality. Relationships between self-reported executive problems, personality, and cognitive test performance were assessed in 3 separate, well-powered, methodologically distinct correlational studies using nonclinical samples. These studies used multiple measures of personality and self-reported executive function problems. Across all 3 studies, self-reported executive function problems were found to correlate with neuroticism and with low conscientiousness, with medium to large effect sizes. However self-reported problems did not correlate with performance on Trail Making, Phonemic Fluency, Semantic Fluency, or Digit Span tests tapping executive function. A key implication of these findings is that in nonclinical samples, self-report questionnaires may not be proxies for executive functioning as measured by neuropsychological tests.
Rohr, C S; Dreyer, F R; Aderka, I M; Margulies, D S; Frisch, S; Villringer, A; Okon-Singer, H
Evidence suggests that individual differences in emotion control are associated with frontoparietal-limbic networks and linked to emotional traits and executive functions. In a first attempt to directly target the link between emotional traits and executive functions using resting-state fMRI analysis, 43 healthy adults completed a test battery including executive tasks and emotional trait self-assessments that were subjected to a principal component analysis. Of the three factors detected, two explained 40.4% of the variance and were further investigated. Both factors suggest a relation between emotional traits and executive functions. Specifically, the first factor consisted of measures related to inhibitory control and negative affect, and the second factor was related to reward and positive affect. To investigate whether this interplay between emotional traits and executive functions is reflected in neural connectivity, we used resting-state fMRI to explore the functional connectivity of the amygdala as a starting point, and progressed to other seed-based analyses based on the initial findings. We found that the first factor predicted the strength of connectivity between brain regions known to be involved in the cognitive control of emotion, including the amygdala and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, whereas the second factor predicted the strength of connectivity between brain regions known to be involved in reward and attention, including the amygdala, the caudate and the thalamus. These findings suggest that individual differences in the ability to inhibit negative affect are mediated by prefrontal-limbic pathways, while the ability to be positive and use rewarding information is mediated by a network that includes the amygdala and thalamostriatal regions.
Funahashi, Shintaro; Andreau, Jorge Mario
Executive function is a product of the coordinated operation of multiple neural systems and an essential prerequisite for a variety of cognitive functions. The prefrontal cortex is known to be a key structure for the performance of executive functions. To accomplish the coordinated operations of multiple neural systems, the prefrontal cortex must monitor the activities in other cortical and subcortical structures and control and supervise their operations by sending command signals, which is called top-down signaling. Although neurophysiological and neuroimaging studies have provided evidence that the prefrontal cortex sends top-down signals to the posterior cortices to control information processing, the neural correlate of these top-down signals is not yet known. Through use of the paired association task, it has been demonstrated that top-down signals are used to retrieve specific information stored in long-term memory. Therefore, we used a paired association task to examine the neural correlates of top-down signals in the prefrontal cortex. The preliminary results indicate that 32% of visual neurons exhibit pair-selectivity, which is similar to the characteristics of pair-coding activities in temporal neurons. The latency of visual responses in prefrontal neurons was longer than bottom-up signals but faster than top-down signals in inferior temporal neurons. These results suggest that pair-selective visual responses may be top-down signals that the prefrontal cortex provides to the temporal cortex, although further studies are needed to elucidate the neural correlates of top-down signals and their characteristics to understand the neural mechanism of executive control by the prefrontal cortex.
Wunsch, Kathrin; Pfister, Roland; Henning, Anne; Aschersleben, Gisa; Weigelt, Matthias
The present study examined the developmental trajectories of motor planning and executive functioning in children. To this end, we tested 217 participants with three motor tasks, measuring anticipatory planning abilities (i.e., the bar-transport-task, the sword-rotation-task and the grasp-height-task), and three cognitive tasks, measuring executive functions (i.e., the Tower-of-Hanoi-task, the Mosaic-task, and the D2-attention-endurance-task). Children were aged between 3 and 10 years and were separated into age groups by 1-year bins, resulting in a total of eight groups of children and an additional group of adults. Results suggested (1) a positive developmental trajectory for each of the sub-tests, with better task performance as children get older; (2) that the performance in the separate tasks was not correlated across participants in the different age groups; and (3) that there was no relationship between performance in the motor tasks and in the cognitive tasks used in the present study when controlling for age. These results suggest that both, motor planning and executive functions are rather heterogeneous domains of cognitive functioning with fewer interdependencies than often suggested. PMID:27462285
Nathanson, Amy I; Aladé, Fashina; Sharp, Molly L; Rasmussen, Eric E; Christy, Katheryn
This study investigated the relations between television exposure during the preschool years and the development of executive function (EF). Data were gathered from 107 parents of preschoolers who provided information on children's television viewing, background television exposure, exposure to specific televised content, and the age at which children began watching television. Preschoolers' EF was assessed via one-on-one interviews. We found that several indicators of television exposure were significantly related to EF. These findings suggest that EF may be an important construct for continued research on the effects of media on young children.
Falkowski, Jed; Atchison, Timothy; DeButte-Smith, Maxine; Weiner, Myron F.; O'Bryant, Sid
Decrements in cognitive functioning have been linked to the metabolic syndrome (MetS), a risk factor for cardiovascular disease defined by the presence of three of the following: elevated blood pressure, increased waist circumference, elevated blood glucose, elevated triglycerides, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. We examined the relationship between four measures of executive functioning (EF) and MetS as diagnosed by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-American Heart Association criteria. MetS was examined in a rural population of 395 persons with a mean age of 61.3 years, 71.4% women, 37.0% Hispanic, 53.7% White non-Hispanic. There was a 61.0% prevalence of MetS. We derived a factor score from the four executive function measures which was used to compare those with and without the syndrome, as well as any additive effects of components of the syndrome. Those with MetS exhibited significantly poorer performance than those without the syndrome. However, there was no additive effect, having more components of the syndrome was not related to lower performance. The presence of MetS was associated with poorer EF in this rural cohort of community dwelling volunteers. PMID:24152591
Agoston, A Monica; Gonzalez-Bolanos, Maria Teresa; Semrud-Clikeman, Margaret; Vanderburg, Nancy; Sarafoglou, Kyriakie
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency is a disorder characterized by impaired cortisol synthesis leading to excessive production of adrenal androgens. Prenatal and postnatal exposure to excess androgens may increase neural vulnerability to insult and affect cognitive functions, particularly dopamine-dependent neural circuits responsible for executive functioning (EF). Our study aimed to investigate relationship between more pronounced androgen exposure and EF-related behaviors in children with CAH, as well as sex differences in these associations. Parents of patients with CAH (n=41, boys=17, girls=24; age: M=8.41, SD=4.43) completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), a measure assessing behavioral manifestations of EF. Assessments of bone age advancement, a proxy of cumulative androgen exposure, were analyzed. Advanced bone age predicted more inhibition difficulties in boys but not in girls, and more difficulties in all other BRIEF domains in the total sample. Excessive androgen production affected EF such that more advanced bone age led to more EF-related difficulties. Sex differences in inhibition may result from estrogen exposure moderating the impact of androgens in girls but not in boys. Future interventions may include targeting EF in patients with CAH to enhance quality of life and reduce cognitive consequences associated with this disease.
Marschark, Marc; Kronenberger, William G; Rosica, Mark; Borgna, Georgianna; Convertino, Carol; Durkin, Andreana; Machmer, Elizabeth; Schmitz, Kathryn L
Two experiments examined relations among social maturity, executive function, language, and cochlear implant (CI) use among deaf high school and college students. Experiment 1 revealed no differences between deaf CI users, deaf nonusers, and hearing college students in measures of social maturity. However, deaf students (both CI users and nonusers) reported significantly greater executive function (EF) difficulties in several domains, and EF was related to social maturity. Experiment 2 found that deaf CI users and nonusers in high school did not differ from each other in social maturity or EF, but individuals who relied on sign language reported significantly more immature behaviors than deaf peers who used spoken language. EF difficulties again were associated with social maturity. The present results indicate that EF and social maturity are interrelated, but those relations vary in different deaf subpopulations. As with academic achievement, CI use appears to have little long-term impact on EF or social maturity. Results are discussed in terms of their convergence with findings related to incidental learning and functioning in several domains.
Fowell, Deborah J
Appropriate control of infection depends on the generation of lymphocytes armed with a particular array of cytokine and chemokine effector molecules. The differentiation of naïve T cells into functionally distinct effector subsets is regulated by signals from the T cell receptor (TCR) and cytokine receptors. Using gene knock-out approaches, the initiation of discrete effector programs appears differentially sensitive to the loss of individual TCR signaling components; likely due to differences in the transcription factors needed to activate individual cytokine genes. Less well understood however, are the signal requirements for the execution of effector function. With a focus on Th2 cells and the kinase ITK, we review recent observations that point to differences between the signals needed for the initiation and implementation of cytokine programs in CD4+ T cells. Indeed, Th2 effector cells signal differently from both their naïve counterparts and from Th1 effectors suggesting they may transduce activation signals differently or may be selectively receptive to different activation signals. Potential regulation points for effector function lie at the level of transcription and translation of cytokine genes. We also discuss how provision of these execution signals may be spatially segregated in vivo occurring at tissue sites of inflammation and subject to modulation by the pathogen itself.
Chu, Chien-Heng; Chen, Ai-Guo; Hung, Tsung-Min; Wang, Chun-Chih; Chang, Yu-Kai
This study investigated the effects of acute exercise on cognitive function and the modulatory role of fitness in the relationship between exercise and cognition. Forty-six healthy older adults, categorized into higher or lower fitness groups, completed the Stroop test after both 30 min of aerobic exercise and a reading control with a counterbalanced order. Our findings demonstrated that acute exercise leads to general improvements in 2 types of cognitive functions and to specific improvements in executive function. Additionally, older adults with initially higher fitness levels experienced greater beneficial effects from acute exercise.
Robbins, T.W.; Arnsten, A.F.T.
We review the modulatory effects of the catecholamine neurotransmitters noradrenaline and dopamine on prefrontal cortical function. The effects of pharmacologic manipulations of these systems, sometimes in comparison with the indoleamine serotonin (5-HT), on performance on a variety of tasks that tap working memory, attentional-set formation and shifting, reversal learning, and response inhibition are compared in rodents, nonhuman primates, and humans using, in a behavioral context, several techniques ranging from microiontophoresis and single-cell electrophysiological recording to pharmacologic functional magnetic resonance imaging. Dissociable effects of drugs and neurotoxins affecting these monoamine systems suggest new ways of conceptualizing state-dependent fronto-executive functions, with implications for understanding the molecular genetic basis of mental illness and its treatment. PMID:19555290
Robbins, T W; Arnsten, A F T
We review the modulatory effects of the catecholamine neurotransmitters noradrenaline and dopamine on prefrontal cortical function. The effects of pharmacologic manipulations of these systems, sometimes in comparison with the indoleamine serotonin (5-HT), on performance on a variety of tasks that tap working memory, attentional-set formation and shifting, reversal learning, and response inhibition are compared in rodents, nonhuman primates, and humans using, in a behavioral context, several techniques ranging from microiontophoresis and single-cell electrophysiological recording to pharmacologic functional magnetic resonance imaging. Dissociable effects of drugs and neurotoxins affecting these monoamine systems suggest new ways of conceptualizing state-dependent fronto-executive functions, with implications for understanding the molecular genetic basis of mental illness and its treatment.
Quinette, Peggy; Guillery, Bérengère; Desgranges, Béatrice; de la Sayette, Vincent; Viader, Fausto; Eustache, Francis
Transient global amnesia (TGA) is usually considered to produce a profound impairment of long-term episodic memory, while at the same time sparing working memory. However, this neuropsychological dissociation has rarely been examined in detail. While a few studies have assessed some components of working memory in TGA, the results that have been obtained are far from conclusive. To clarify this issue, we carried out a comprehensive investigation of working memory in 10 patients during a TGA attack. In the first study, we report the results from three patients examined with a battery of neuropsychological tests designed to assess each of the three subcomponents of Baddeley's model of working memory. In a second study, seven different patients underwent neuropsychological investigations that focused specifically on the central executive system, using a protocol derived from a study by Miyake and colleagues. Our findings showed that subcomponents of working memory, such as the phonological loop and visuo-spatial sketch pad, were spared in TGA patients. Specific executive functions that entailed inhibitory control, dual task performance, updating and shifting mechanisms were also found to be normal. However, we found significantly impaired performance for the Brown-Peterson test, and that TGA patients were significantly impaired in the recollection of their episodic memories. They also made reduced numbers of 'remember' compared with 'know' judgments in the episodic memory test several days after TGA. On the basis of our findings, it would appear that the episodic memory deficit during TGA is not related to elementary aspects of executive functioning. Our data also highlight the nature of the cognitive mechanisms involved in the Brown-Peterson task, which may well depend on long-term memory (such as the process of semantic encoding). Lastly, the selective deficit in recollective episodic memories observed in TGA may be principally related to medial temporal lobe
Allen, Corinne M.; Martin, Randi C.; Martin, Nadine
Background Previous research has suggested separable short-term memory (STM) buffers for the maintenance of phonological and lexical-semantic information, as some patients with aphasia show better ability to retain semantic than phonological information and others show the reverse. Recently, researchers have proposed that deficits to the maintenance of semantic information in STM are related to executive control abilities. Aims The present study investigated the relationship of executive function abilities with semantic and phonological short-term memory (STM) and semantic processing in such patients, as some previous research has suggested that semantic STM deficits and semantic processing abilities are critically related to specific or general executive function deficits. Method and Procedures 20 patients with aphasia and STM deficits were tested on measures of short-term retention, semantic processing, and both complex and simple executive function tasks. Outcome and Results In correlational analyses, we found no relation between semantic STM and performance on simple or complex executive function tasks. In contrast, phonological STM was related to executive function performance in tasks that had a verbal component, suggesting that performance in some executive function tasks depends on maintaining or rehearsing phonological codes. Although semantic STM was not related to executive function ability, performance on semantic processing tasks was related to executive function, perhaps due to similar executive task requirements in both semantic processing and executive function tasks. Conclusions Implications for treatment and interpretations of executive deficits are discussed. PMID:22736889
Reetzke, Rachel; Maddox, W Todd; Chandrasekaran, Bharath
Auditory categorization is a natural and adaptive process that allows for the organization of high-dimensional, continuous acoustic information into discrete representations. Studies in the visual domain have identified a rule-based learning system that learns and reasons via a hypothesis-testing process that requires working memory and executive attention. The rule-based learning system in vision shows a protracted development, reflecting the influence of maturing prefrontal function on visual categorization. The aim of the current study was twofold: (a) to examine the developmental trajectory of rule-based auditory category learning from childhood through adolescence and into early adulthood and (b) to examine the extent to which individual differences in rule-based category learning relate to individual differences in executive function. A sample of 60 participants with normal hearing-20 children (age range=7-12years), 21 adolescents (age range=13-19years), and 19 young adults (age range=20-23years)-learned to categorize novel dynamic "ripple" sounds using trial-by-trial feedback. The spectrotemporally modulated ripple sounds are considered the auditory equivalent of the well-studied "Gabor" patches in the visual domain. Results reveal that auditory categorization accuracy improved with age, with young adults outperforming children and adolescents. Computational modeling analyses indicated that the use of the task-optimal strategy (i.e., a conjunctive rule-based learning strategy) improved with age. Notably, individual differences in executive flexibility significantly predicted auditory category learning success. The current findings demonstrate a protracted development of rule-based auditory categorization. The results further suggest that executive flexibility coupled with perceptual processes play important roles in successful rule-based auditory category learning.
Reetzke, Rachel; Maddox, W. Todd; Chandrasekaran, Bharath
Auditory categorization is a natural and adaptive process that allows for the organization of high-dimensional, continuous acoustic information into discrete representations. Studies in the visual domain have identified a rule-based learning system that learns and reasons via a hypothesis-testing process that requires working memory and executive attention. The rule-based learning system in vision shows a protracted development, reflecting the influence of maturing prefrontal function on visual categorization. The aim of the current study is two-fold: (a) to examine the developmental trajectory of rule-based auditory category learning from childhood through adolescence, into early adulthood; and (b) to examine the extent to which individual differences in rule-based category learning relate to individual differences in executive function. Sixty participants with normal hearing, 20 children (age range, 7–12), 21 adolescents (age range, 13–19), and 19 young adults (age range, 20–23), learned to categorize novel dynamic ripple sounds using trial-by-trial feedback. The spectrotemporally modulated ripple sounds are considered the auditory equivalent of the well-studied Gabor patches in the visual domain. Results revealed that auditory categorization accuracy improved with age, with young adults outperforming children and adolescents. Computational modeling analyses indicated that the use of the task-optimal strategy (i.e. a conjunctive rule-based learning strategy) improved with age. Notably, individual differences in executive flexibility significantly predicted auditory category learning success. The current findings demonstrate a protracted development of rule-based auditory categorization. The results further suggest that executive flexibility coupled with perceptual processes play important roles in successful rule-based auditory category learning. PMID:26491987
Nieto, Marta; Ros, Laura; Medina, Gloria; Ricarte, Jorge J.; Latorre, José M.
Over the last two decades, there has been a growing interest in the study of the development of executive functions (EF) in preschool children due to their relationship with different cognitive, psychological, social and academic domains. Early detection of individual differences in executive functioning can have major implications for basic and applied research. Consequently, there is a key need for assessment tools adapted to preschool skills: Shape School has been shown to be a suitable task for this purpose. Our study uses Shape School as the main task to analyze development of inhibition, task-switching and working memory in a sample of 304 preschoolers (age range 3.25–6.50 years). Additionally, we include cognitive tasks for the evaluation of verbal variables (vocabulary, word reasoning and short-term memory) and performance variables (picture completion and symbol search), so as to analyze their relationship with EFs. Our results show age-associated improvements in EFs and the cognitive variables assessed. Furthermore, correlation analyses reveal positive relationships between EFs and the other cognitive variables. More specifically, using structural equation modeling and including age direct and indirect effects, our results suggest that EFs explain to a greater extent performance on verbal and performance tasks. These findings provide further information to support research that considers preschool age to be a crucial period for the development of EFs and their relationship with other cognitive processes. PMID:27729896
Flaudias, Valentin; Picot, Marie Christine; Lopez-Castroman, Jorge; Llorca, Pierre-Michel; Schmitt, Audrey; Perriot, Jean; Georgescu, Vera; Courtet, Philippe; Quantin, Xavier; Guillaume, Sébastien
Background Executive functions are linked to tobacco dependence and craving. In this cross-sectional study, we assessed the impact of three executive functions: updating, inhibition and shifting processes on tobacco craving and dependence. Method 134 tobacco consumers were included in this study: 81 moderately (Fagerström score <7) and 53 heavily dependent (Fagerström score >7). Dependence was assessed with the Fagerström test and craving with the tobacco craving questionnaire (TCQ 12). We used the Stroop test and the Hayling test to measure inhibition, the Trail Making Test to measure shifting processes and the n-back test to measure updating processes. A multivariate logistic model was used to assess which variables explained best the level of nicotine dependence. Results Inhibition (p = 0.002) and updating (p = 0.014) processes, but not shifting processes, were associated with higher tobacco dependence. Inhibition capacity had a significant effect on the nicotine dependence level independently of age, education, time since last cigarette, intellectual quotient, craving, updating and shifting process. Conclusions Nicotine dependence level seems better explained by inhibition capacities than by craving and updating effects. The capacity to inhibit our behaviours is a good predictor of the severity of tobacco dependence. Our results suggest a prefrontal cortex dysfunction affecting the inhibitory capacities of heavy tobacco dependent smokers. Further studies are needed to investigate the application of these findings in the treatment of tobacco dependence. PMID:26953688
Roca, María; Parr, Alice; Thompson, Russell; Woolgar, Alexandra; Torralva, Teresa; Antoun, Nagui; Manes, Facundo; Duncan, John
Many tests of specific 'executive functions' show deficits after frontal lobe lesions. These deficits appear on a background of reduced fluid intelligence, best measured with tests of novel problem solving. For a range of specific executive tests, we ask how far frontal deficits can be explained by a general fluid intelligence loss. For some widely used tests, e.g. Wisconsin Card Sorting, we find that fluid intelligence entirely explains frontal deficits. When patients and controls are matched on fluid intelligence, no further frontal deficit remains. For these tasks too, deficits are unrelated to lesion location within the frontal lobe. A second group of tasks, including tests of both cognitive (e.g. Hotel, Proverbs) and social (Faux Pas) function, shows a different pattern. Deficits are not fully explained by fluid intelligence and the data suggest association with lesions in the right anterior frontal cortex. Understanding of frontal lobe deficits may be clarified by separating reduced fluid intelligence, important in most or all tasks, from other more specific impairments and their associated regions of damage.
Mondéjar, Tania; Hervás, Ramón; Johnson, Esperanza; Gutierrez, Carlos; Latorre, José Miguel
This paper addresses a different point of view of videogames, specifically serious games for health. This paper contributes to that area with a multidisciplinary perspective focus on neurosciences and computation. The experiment population has been pre-adolescents between the ages of 8 and 12 without any cognitive issues. The experiment consisted in users playing videogames as well as performing traditional psychological assessments; during these tasks the frontal brain activity was evaluated. The main goal was to analyse how the frontal lobe of the brain (executive function) works in terms of prominent cognitive skills during five types of game mechanics widely used in commercial videogames. The analysis was made by collecting brain signals during the two phases of the experiment, where the signals were analysed with an electroencephalogram neuroheadset. The validated hypotheses were whether videogames can develop executive functioning and if it was possible to identify which kind of cognitive skills are developed during each kind of typical videogame mechanic. The results contribute to the design of serious games for health purposes on a conceptual level, particularly in support of the diagnosis and treatment of cognitive-related pathologies.
Carlson, Stephanie M.; Meltzoff, Andrew N.
Advanced inhibitory control skills have been found in bilingual speakers as compared to monolingual controls (Bialystok, 1999). We examined whether this effect is generalized to an unstudied language group (Spanish-English bilingual) and multiple measures of executive function by administering a battery of tasks to 50 kindergarten children drawn from three language groups: native bilinguals, monolinguals (English), and English speakers enrolled in second-language immersion kindergarten. Despite having significantly lower verbal scores and parent education/income level, Spanish-English bilingual children’s raw scores did not differ from their peers. After statistically controlling for these factors and age, native bilingual children performed significantly better on the executive function battery than both other groups. Importantly, the relative advantage was significant for tasks that appear to call for managing conflicting attentional demands (Conflict tasks); there was no advantage on impulse-control (Delay tasks). These results advance our understanding of both the generalizability and specificity of the compensatory effects of bilingual experience for children’s cognitive development. PMID:18333982
Riggs, Nathaniel R; Shin, Hee-Sung; Unger, Jennifer B; Spruijt-Metz, Donna; Pentz, Mary Ann
The study purpose was to test 1-year prospective associations between English-Spanish bilingualism and executive function in 5th to 6th grade students while controlling for biculturalism. Participants included 182 US Latino students (50 % female). Self-report surveys assessed biculturalism, bilingualism, and executive function (i.e., working memory, organizational skills, inhibitory control, and emotional control, as well as a summary executive function score). General linear model regressions demonstrated that bilingualism significantly predicted the summary executive function score as well as working memory such that bilingual proficiency was positively related to executive function. Results are the first to demonstrate (a) prospective associations between bilingualism to executive function while controlling for the potential third variable of biculturalism, and (b) a principal role for working memory in this relationship. Since executive function is associated with a host of health outcomes, one implication of study findings is that bilingualism may have an indirect protective influence on youth development.
Diamond, Adele; Lee, Kathleen
To be successful takes creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline. Central to all those are ‘executive functions,’ including mentally playing with ideas, giving a considered rather than an impulsive response, and staying focused. Diverse activities have been shown to improve children’s executive functions – computerized training, non-computerized games, aerobics, martial arts, yoga, mindfulness, and school curricula. Central to all these is repeated practice and constantly challenging executive functions. Children with worse executive functions initially, benefit most; thus early executive-function training may avert widening achievement gaps later. To improve executive functions, focusing narrowly on them may not be as effective as also addressing emotional and social development (as do curricula that improve executive functions) and physical development (shown by positive effects of aerobics, martial arts, and yoga). PMID:21852486
Diamond, Adele; Lee, Kathleen
To be successful takes creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline. Central to all those are executive functions, including mentally playing with ideas, giving a considered rather than an impulsive response, and staying focused. Diverse activities have been shown to improve children's executive functions: computerized training, noncomputerized games, aerobics, martial arts, yoga, mindfulness, and school curricula. All successful programs involve repeated practice and progressively increase the challenge to executive functions. Children with worse executive functions benefit most from these activities; thus, early executive-function training may avert widening achievement gaps later. To improve executive functions, focusing narrowly on them may not be as effective as also addressing emotional and social development (as do curricula that improve executive functions) and physical development (shown by positive effects of aerobics, martial arts, and yoga).
Farina, Nicolas; Tabet, Naji; Rusted, Jennifer
Evidence from studies on healthy older adults and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) populations suggests that physical activity interventions have a positive effect on executive function. In this study, we consider whether HPA is positively associated with executive function in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Eighty-two participants with a diagnosis of mild to moderate AD completed six measures of executive function. Objective measures of physical status were taken. In addition, informants completed questionnaires on the participants' HPA and other lifestyle factors. A composite measure of executive function was the primary outcome. A multistage multiple regression was used to determine how much variance HPA accounted for. The final model comprised disease severity, cognitive reserve, cognitive activities, neuropsychiatric status and HPA status. The final model accounted for a total of 57% of the variance of executive performance, of which HPA itself accounted for 8% of the variance. HPA status is associated executive performance in an AD population even after controlling for key covariates. The findings encourage clinicians to recommend HPA and its cognitive benefits to AD patients and their carers.
Phillips, Louise H; Bull, Rebecca; Allen, Roy; Insch, Pauline; Burr, Kirsty; Ogg, Will
Older adults often perform poorly on Theory of Mind (ToM) tests that require understanding of others' beliefs and intentions. The course and specificity of age changes in belief reasoning across the adult lifespan is unclear, as is the cause of the age effects. Cognitive and neuropsychological models predict that two types of processing might influence age differences in belief reasoning: executive functioning and social cue detection. In the current study we assessed 129 adults aged between 18 and 86 on novel measures of ToM (video clips and verbal vignettes), which manipulated whether true or false belief reasoning was required. On both video and verbal tasks, older adults (aged 65-88) had specific impairments in false belief reasoning, but showed no such problem in performing true belief tasks. Middle-aged adults (aged 40-64) generally performed as well as the younger adults (aged 18-39). Difficulties in updating information in working memory (but not inhibitory problems) partially mediated the age differences in false belief reasoning. Also, the ability to decode biological motion, indexing social cue detection, partially mediated age-related variance in the ability to interpret false beliefs. These results indicate that age differences in decoding social cues and updating information in memory may be important influences on the specific problems encountered when reasoning about false beliefs in old age.
Eslami, Ali; Jahshan, Carol; Cadenhead, Kristin S
Predictors of social functioning deficits were assessed in 22 individuals "at risk" for psychosis. Disorganized symptoms and executive functioning predicted social functioning at follow-up. Early intervention efforts that focus on social and cognitive skills are indicated in this vulnerable population.
Best, John R.; Miller, Patricia H.; Jones, Lara L.
Research and theorizing on executive function (EF) in childhood has been disproportionately focused on preschool age children. This review paper outlines the importance of examining EF throughout childhood, and even across the lifespan. First, examining EF in older children can address the question of whether EF is a unitary construct. The relations among the EF components, particularly as they are recruited for complex tasks, appear to change over the course of development. Second, much of the development of EF, especially working memory, shifting, and planning, occurs after age 5. Third, important applications of EF research concern the role of school-age children’s EF in various aspects of school performance, as well as social functioning and emotional control. Future research needs to examine a more complete developmental span, from early childhood through late adulthood, in order to address developmental issues adequately. PMID:20161467
Bond, D.; Gunstad, J.; Pera, V.; Rathier, L.; Tremont, G.
Summary Background Deficits in executive functions are related to poorer weight loss after bariatric surgery; however, less is known about the role that these deficits may play during participation in nonsurgical weight loss programmes. This study examined associations between objectively measured executive functions and weight loss during participation in a medically supervised weight loss programme. Methods Twenty‐three adult patients (age 50.4 ± 15.1, BMI 44.2 ± 8.8, 68% female, 92% White) enrolled in a medically supervised weight loss programme, involving prescription of a very low calorie diet and strategies to change eating and activity behaviours, underwent comprehensive computerized testing of executive functions at baseline. Weight was obtained at baseline and 8 weeks. Demographic and clinical information were obtained through medical chart review. Results Participants lost an average of 9.8 ± 3.4% of their initial body weight at 8 weeks. Fewer correct responses on a set‐shifting task and faster reaction time on a response inhibition task were associated with lower weight loss percentage at 8 weeks after adjusting for age, education and depressive symptoms. There were no associations between performance on tests of working memory or planning and weight loss. Conclusions This study shows that worse performance on a set‐shifting task (indicative of poorer cognitive flexibility) and faster reaction times on a response inhibition test (indicative of higher impulsivity) are associated with lower weight loss among participants in a medically supervised weight loss programme. Pre‐treatment assessment of executive functions may be useful in identifying individuals who may be at risk for suboptimal treatment outcomes. Future research is needed to replicate these findings in larger samples and identify underlying mechanisms. PMID:28090338
Connolly, Joanna; McNulty, Jonathan P; Boran, Lorraine; Roche, Richard A P; Delany, David; Bokde, Arun L W
The structural networks in the human brain are consistent across subjects, and this is reflected also in that functional networks across subjects are relatively consistent. These findings are not only present during performance of a goal oriented task but there are also consistent functional networks during resting state. It suggests that goal oriented activation patterns may be a function of component networks identified using resting state. The current study examines the relationship between resting state networks measured and patterns of neural activation elicited during a Stroop task. The association between the Stroop-activated networks and the resting state networks was quantified using spatial linear regression. In addition, we investigated if the degree of spatial association of resting state networks with the Stroop task may predict performance on the Stroop task. The results of this investigation demonstrated that the Stroop activated network can be decomposed into a number of resting state networks, which were primarily associated with attention, executive function, visual perception, and the default mode network. The close spatial correspondence between the functional organization of the resting brain and task-evoked patterns supports the relevance of resting state networks in cognitive function.
Ludyga, Sebastian; Gerber, Markus; Brand, Serge; Holsboer-Trachsler, Edith; Pühse, Uwe
Whereas a wealth of studies have investigated acute effects of moderate aerobic exercise on executive function, the roles of age, fitness, and the component of executive function in this relationship still remain unclear. Therefore, the present meta-analysis investigates exercise-induced benefits on specific aspects of executive function in different age and aerobic fitness subgroups. Based on data from 40 experimental studies, a small effect of aerobic exercise on time-dependent measures (g = .35) and accuracy (g = .22) in executive function tasks was confirmed. The results further suggest that preadolescent children (g = .54) and older adults (g = .67) compared to other age groups benefit more from aerobic exercise when reaction time is considered as dependent variable. In contrast to age, aerobic fitness and the executive function component had no influence on the obtained effect sizes. Consequently, high aerobic fitness is no prerequisite for temporary improvements of the executive control system, and low- as well as high-fit individuals seem to benefit from exercise in a similar way. However, a higher sensitivity of executive function to acute aerobic exercise was found in individuals undergoing developmental changes. Therefore, preadolescent children and older adults in particular might strategically use a single aerobic exercise session to prepare for a situation demanding high executive control.
Karbach, Julia; Verhaeghen, Paul
This meta-analysis examined the effects of process-based executive-function and working memory training (49 articles, 61 independent samples) in older adults (> 60 years). The interventions resulted in significant effects on performance on the trained task and near-transfer tasks; significant results were obtained for the net pretest-to-posttest gain relative to active and passive control groups and for the net effect at posttest relative to active and passive control groups. Far-transfer effects were smaller than near-transfer effects but were significant for the net pretest-to-posttest gain relative to passive control groups and for the net gain at posttest relative to both active and passive control groups. We detected marginally significant differences in training-induced improvements between working memory and executive-function training, but no differences between the training-induced improvements observed in older adults and younger adults, between the benefits associated with adaptive and nonadaptive training, or between the effects in active and passive control conditions. Gains did not vary with total training time.
Logue, Sheree F; Gould, Thomas J
Executive function is a collection of cognitive processes essential for higher order mental function. Processes involved in executive function include, but are not limited to, working memory, attention, cognitive flexibility, and impulse control. These complex behaviors are largely mediated by prefrontal cortical function but are modulated by dopaminergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic, and cholinergic input. The ability of these neurotransmitter systems to modulate executive function allows for adaption in cognitive behavior in response to changes in the environment. Because of the important role these neurotransmitter systems play in regulating executive function, changes in these systems can also have a grave impact on executive function. In addition, polymorphisms in genes associated with these neurotransmitters are associated with phenotypic differences in executive function. Understanding how these naturally occurring polymorphisms contribute to different executive function phenotypes will advance basic knowledge of cognition and potentially further understanding and treatment of mental illness that involve changes in executive function. In this review, we will examine the influence of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and acetylcholine on the following measures of executive function: attention, cognitive flexibility, and impulse control. We will also review the effects of polymorphisms in genes associated with these neurotransmitter systems on these measures of executive function. PMID:23978501
Logue, Sheree F; Gould, Thomas J
Executive function is a collection of cognitive processes essential for higher order mental function. Processes involved in executive function include, but are not limited to, working memory, attention, cognitive flexibility, and impulse control. These complex behaviors are largely mediated by prefrontal cortical function but are modulated by dopaminergic, noradrenergic, serotonergic, and cholinergic input. The ability of these neurotransmitter systems to modulate executive function allows for adaptation in cognitive behavior in response to changes in the environment. Because of the important role these neurotransmitter systems play in regulating executive function, changes in these systems can also have a grave impact on executive function. In addition, polymorphisms in genes associated with these neurotransmitters are associated with phenotypic differences in executive function. Understanding how these naturally occurring polymorphisms contribute to different executive function phenotypes will advance basic knowledge of cognition and potentially further understanding and treatment of mental illness that involve changes in executive function. In this review, we will examine the influence of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and acetylcholine on the following measures of executive function: attention, cognitive flexibility, and impulse control. We will also review the effects of polymorphisms in genes associated with these neurotransmitter systems on these measures of executive function.
Friend, Margaret; Bates, Raven Phoenix
Oral narrative production develops dramatically from 3 to 5 years of age, and is a key factor in a child's ability to communicate about the world. Concomitant with this are developments in executive function (EF). For example, executive attention and behavioral inhibition show marked development beginning around 4 years of age. Both EF and oral narrative abilities have important implications for academic success, but the relationship between them is not well understood. The present paper utilizes a cross-lagged design to assess convergent and predictive relations between EF and narrative ability. As a collateral measure, we collected a Language Sample during 10 min of free play. Language Sample did not share significant variance with Narrative Production, thus general language growth from Wave 1 to Wave 2 cannot account for the predictive relations between EF and Narrative. Our findings suggest that although EF and Narrative ability appear independent at each Wave, they nevertheless support each other over developmental time. Specifically, the ability to maintain focus at 4 years supports subsequent narrative ability and narrative ability at 4 years supports subsequent facility and speed in learning and implementing new rules. PMID:24872811
Gathmann, Bettina; Brand, Matthias; Schiebener, Johannes
Monitoring is involved in many daily tasks and is described in several theoretical approaches of executive functioning. This study investigated the relative relationship of cognitive processes that are theoretically relevant to monitoring, such as concept formation, reasoning, working memory, and general cognitive control functions. Data from 699 participants who performed the Balanced Switching Task, aiming at capturing monitoring, were used. Subsamples also performed standard tasks assessing the processes assumed to be related to monitoring. Structural equation modeling revealed that general cognitive control processes are particularly relevant. They mediate the relationship between working memory, reasoning, and monitoring. Updating and maintaining information, as well as concluding from information which strategies can guide behavior toward predefined goals, is required for the ability to exert general cognitive control, which again may be relevant for implementing strategies in a goal-directed way. Together, these processes seem to be necessary to adequately monitor behavior in complex tasks.
Cuevas, Kimberly; Hubble, Morgan; Bell, Martha Ann
RESEARCH FINDINGS: This study examined whether children's executive functions before kindergarten would predict variance in executive functions after kindergarten. We obtained behavioral (working memory task performance), parental-reported (temperament-based inhibitory control), and psychophysiological (working memory-related changes in heart rate and brain electrical activity) measures of executive functions from a group of preschool-aged children. After children finished kindergarten, approximately 2 years later, parents were asked to complete an assessment of children's executive function skills. A regression analysis revealed that pre-kindergarten behavioral, parental-reported, and psychophysiological measures accounted for variance in post-kindergarten executive functions. Specifically, working memory task performance, temperament-based inhibitory control, and working memory-related changes in brain electrical activity accounted for unique variance in post-kindergarten executive functions. These data provide a unique contribution to the executive function literature: No other study has examined whether behavioral, psychophysiological, and parental-reported executive function measures can account for unique variance in future executive function. PRACTICE OR POLICY: These findings are discussed in relation to children's transition to school and executive function training programs.
Beck, Danielle M.; Schaefer, Catherine; Pang, Karen; Carlson, Stephanie M.
Research suggests that executive function (EF) may distinguish between children who are well- or ill-prepared for kindergarten, however, little is known about the test-retest reliability of measures of EF for children. We aimed to establish a battery of EF measures that are sensitive to both development and individual differences across the preschool period using Conflict and Delay subtests that had a cool (abstract) or hot (extrinsic reward) focus. Results from 151 children in three age groups (2.5, 3.5, and 4.5) suggested acceptable same-day test-retest reliability on all but Delay-Cool subtasks. These findings will inform appropriate measurement selection and development for future studies. PMID:21643523
Prager, Emily O; Sera, Maria D; Carlson, Stephanie M
Executive function (EF) has been highlighted as a potentially important factor for mathematical understanding. The relation has been well established in school-aged children but has been less explored at younger ages. The current study investigated the relation between EF and mathematics in preschool-aged children. Participants were 142 typically developing 3- and 4-year-olds. Controlling for verbal ability, a significant positive correlation was found between EF and general math abilities in this age group. Importantly, we further examined this relation causally by varying the EF load on a magnitude comparison task. Results suggested a developmental pattern where 3-year-olds' performance on the magnitude comparison task was worst when EF was taxed the most. Conversely, 4-year-olds performed well on the magnitude task despite varying EF demands, suggesting that EF might play a critical role in the development of math concepts.
Cuevas, Kimberly; Deater-Deckard, Kirby; Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen; Wang, Zhe; Morasch, Katherine C.; Bell, Martha Ann
Despite the importance of executive function (EF) in both clinical and educational contexts, the etiology of individual differences in early childhood EF remains poorly understood. This study provides the first longitudinal intergenerational analysis of mother-child EF associations during early childhood. A group of children and their mothers (n = 62) completed age-appropriate EF tasks. Mother and child EF were modestly correlated by 24 months of age and this association was stable through 48 months. Importantly, maternal-child EF associations were still robust after controlling for verbal ability (potential indicator of verbal/crystallized intelligence) and maternal education (correlate of socioeconomic status and verbal intelligence). Potential implications of these findings as well as underlying mechanisms of the maternal-child EF association (gene-environment interplay) are discussed. PMID:25284715
Executive function often refers to control behaviors such as "initiating," "sustaining," "inhibiting," and "switching." These mechanisms contribute to regulation of thinking and emotion but can be observed most clearly in the motor system. Neuropsychology has been influenced by "top-down" models of cognitive control that emerged from information-processing theories of cognition. In fact, neural models provide evidence that control processes are highly interactive within the cortico-striatal-cerebellar circuits. Cognition unfolds in response to motor-driven adaptation, and evidence exists for similar firing of brain cells and circuits during "imagined action" as in actual motor behavior. The motor system develops early and yet is not routinely assessed in neuropsychological evaluation of children with neurodevelopmental disorders. This article reviews some of the approaches to motor assessment that have sensitivity to neurodevelopmental disorders, and advocates for inclusion of motor assessment, particularly in evaluating control processes independent of culture, language, and other confounders.
Blakey, Emma; Carroll, Daniel J
Cognitive training has been shown to improve executive functions (EFs) in middle childhood and adulthood. However, fewer studies have targeted the preschool years-a time when EFs undergo rapid development. The present study tested the effects of a short four session EF training program in 54 four-year-olds. The training group significantly improved their working memory from pre-training relative to an active control group. Notably, this effect extended to a task sharing few surface features with the trained tasks, and continued to be apparent 3 months later. In addition, the benefits of training extended to a measure of mathematical reasoning 3 months later, indicating that training EFs during the preschool years has the potential to convey benefits that are both long-lasting and wide-ranging.
Duh, Shinchieh; Paik, Jae H; Miller, Patricia H; Gluck, Stephanie C; Li, Hui; Himelfarb, Igor
Cross-cultural research on children's theory of mind (ToM) understanding has raised questions about its developmental sequence and relationship with executive function (EF). The current study examined how ToM develops (using the tasks from Wellman & Liu, 2004) in relation to 2 EF skills (conflict inhibition, working memory) in 997 Chinese preschoolers (ages 3, 4, 5) in Chengdu, China. Compared with prior research with other Chinese and non-Chinese children, some general patterns in development were replicated in this sample. However, the children showed culture-specific reversals in the developmental sequence of ToM. For example, Chengdu children performed differently on the 2 false-belief tasks that were thought to be equivalent. Furthermore, conflict inhibition as well as working memory uniquely predicted ToM performance. We discuss the issues of ToM development as they relate to test items and cross-cultural--and subcultural--differences.
Pharo, Henry; Sim, Clark; Graham, Mikala; Gross, Julien; Hayne, Harlene
Adolescence is a risky business. Despite outstanding physical health, the risk of injury or death during adolescence is 2-3 times that of childhood. The primary cause of this increase in morbidity and mortality is heightened risky behavior including drinking, driving, drug-taking, smoking, and unprotected sex. Why is it that some adolescents take big risks, while others do not? One potential source of individual differences in risk-taking behavior may lie in individual differences in executive function including judgment, impulse control, self-monitoring, and planning. Researchers have hypothesized that limited brain system integration and efficiency, particularly in the prefrontal cortex and related structures, may be involved in the range and degree of risky behavior commonly exhibited by teens. In the present study, we examined the relation between risky behavior, personality factors, and performance on neuropsychological tests of executive function. The community sample of 136 adolescents aged 13- to 17-years-old and 57 emerging adults aged 18- to 22-years-old exhibited marked individual differences in risk-taking behavior; participants' scores on a alcohol, smoking, drugs, sex, driving, and antisocial behavior questionnaire ranged from 0 to near the maximum value possible. We found that risky personality and performance on the neuropsychological tests were both significant predictors of real-world risk-taking. These data have important implications for current public policies involving adolescents and emerging adults.
Alloway, T. P.
Background: The aim of the present study was to investigate the following issues: (1) Do students with borderline intellectual functioning have a pervasive pattern of impaired working memory skills across both verbal and visuo-spatial domains? (2) Is there evidence for impairment in executive function skills, and which tasks indicate greater…
Zhao, Jia; Liu, Jiangang; Jiang, Xin; Zhou, Guifei; Chen, Guowei; Ding, Xiao P.; Fu, Genyue; Lee, Kang
Executive function (EF) plays vital roles in our everyday adaptation to the ever-changing environment. However, limited existing studies have linked EF to the resting-state brain activity. The functional connectivity in the resting state between the sub-regions of the brain can reveal the intrinsic neural mechanisms involved in cognitive processing of EF without disturbance from external stimuli. The present study investigated the relations between the behavioral executive function (EF) scores and the resting-state functional network topological properties in the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC). We constructed complex brain functional networks in the PFC from 90 healthy young adults using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). We calculated the correlations between the typical network topological properties (regional topological properties and global topological properties) and the scores of both the Total EF and components of EF measured by computer-based Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). We found that the Total EF scores were positively correlated with regional properties in the right dorsal superior frontal gyrus (SFG), whereas the opposite pattern was found in the right triangular inferior frontal gyrus (IFG). Different EF components were related to different regional properties in various PFC areas, such as planning in the right middle frontal gyrus (MFG), working memory mainly in the right MFG and triangular IFG, short-term memory in the left dorsal SFG, and task switch in the right MFG. In contrast, there were no significant findings for global topological properties. Our findings suggested that the PFC plays an important role in individuals' behavioral performance in the executive function tasks. Further, the resting-state functional network can reveal the intrinsic neural mechanisms involved in behavioral EF abilities. PMID:27774047
Kalbfleisch, M Layne; Loughan, Ashlee R
We examined the impact of IQ discrepancy (IQD) within (1) and above (1+) one standard deviation on executive function in HFA using the BRIEF. We hypothesized that IQD would benefit executive function. IQD 1 is hallmarked by deficits in BRIEF indices and subscales inhibit, shift, initiate, working memory, planning and organization, and monitor (MANCOVA, p < .003, corrected). As IQD increases to 1+, deficits are fewer, corresponding to subscales inhibit, shift, and initiate. Pearson correlations (p < .004, corrected) identify significant relationships for FSIQ and BRIEF Global Composite (r = -.66, p = .002) and Metacognition subscales plan/organize (r = -.64, p = .003) and monitor (r = -.63, p = .004). Results suggest IQD 1+ favoring verbal IQ may support these aspects of executive function in HFA.
Toplak, Maggie E; Bucciarelli, Stefania M; Jain, Umesh; Tannock, Rosemary
Performance-based measures and ratings of executive functions were examined in a sample of adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and comparison controls. Performance-based measures of executive function included inhibition, working memory, set shifting, and planning, and ratings of these same executive functions were completed by parents and teachers. Adolescents with ADHD demonstrated lower executive function performance than controls and displayed elevated ratings on the executive function ratings by parents and teachers. Significant associations were obtained between the performance-based measures and the parent and teacher ratings, but each measure was not uniquely associated with its respective scale on the rating scales. When performance-based measures and ratings were examined as predictors of ADHD status, the parent and teacher ratings entered as significant predictors of ADHD status. Further commonality analyses indicated that performance-based measures accounted for little unique variance in predicting ADHD status and also displayed little overlap with the behavioral ratings. These findings highlight the diagnostic utility of behavioral ratings of executive function in predicting ADHD status; however, behavioral ratings should not be assumed to be a proxy for performance on measures of executive function in clinical practice.
Stern, Yaakov; Blumen, Helena M.; Rich, Leigh W.; Richards, Alexis; Herzberg, Gray; Gopher, Daniel
We investigated the feasibility of using the Space Fortress (SF) game, a complex video game originally developed to study complex skill acquisition in young adults, to improve executive control processes in cognitively healthy older adults. The study protocol consisted of 36 one-hour game play sessions over 3 months with cognitive evaluations before and after, and a follow-up evaluation at 6 months. Sixty participants were randomized to one of three conditions: Emphasis Change (EC) – elders were instructed to concentrate on playing the entire game but place particular emphasis on a specific aspect of game play in each particular game; Active Control (AC) – game play with standard instructions; Passive Control (PC) – evaluation sessions without game play. Primary outcome measures were obtained from five tasks, presumably tapping executive control processes. A total of 54 older adults completed the study protocol. One measure of executive control, WAIS-III letter–number sequencing, showed improvement in performance from pre- to post-evaluations in the EC condition, but not in the other two conditions. These initial findings are modest but encouraging. Future SF interventions need to carefully consider increasing the duration and or the intensity of the intervention by providing at-home game training, reducing the motor demands of the game, and selecting appropriate outcome measures. PMID:21988726
Zahodne, Laura B; Nowinski, Cindy J; Gershon, Richard C; Manly, Jennifer J
Previous studies showed that control beliefs are more strongly related to global cognition and mortality among adults with low education, providing preliminary evidence that self-efficacy buffers against the negative impact of educational disadvantage on physical and cognitive health. The current study extends these findings to a nationally representative sample of men and women aged 30 to 85 and explores which cognitive domains are most strongly associated with self-efficacy, educational attainment, and their interaction. Data were obtained from 1032 adult (30-85) participants in the United States norming study for the NIH Toolbox. Self-efficacy, executive functioning, working memory, processing speed, episodic memory, and vocabulary were assessed with the NIH Toolbox. Multivariate analysis of covariance and follow-up regressions tested the hypothesis that self-efficacy would be more strongly related to cognitive performance among individuals with lower education, controlling for age, sex, race, ethnicity, education, reading level, testing language, and depressive symptoms. Higher education was associated with higher self-efficacy and better performance on all cognitive tests. Higher self-efficacy was associated with better set-switching and attention/inhibition. Significant self-efficacy by education interactions indicated that associations between self-efficacy and executive abilities were stronger for individuals with lower education. Specifically, individuals with low education but high self-efficacy performed similarly to individuals with high education. This study provides evidence that self-efficacy beliefs buffer against the negative effects of low educational attainment on executive functioning. These results have implications for future policy and/or intervention work aimed at reducing the deleterious effects of educational disadvantage on later cognitive health.
Green, Adam E.; Gray, Jeremy R.; DeYoung, Colin G.; Mhyre, Timothy R.; Padilla, Robert; DiBattista, Amanda M.; Rebeck, G. William
A recent history of failed clinical trials suggests that waiting until even the early stages of onset of Alzheimer’s disease may be too late for effective treatment, pointing to the importance of early intervention in young people. Early intervention will require markers of Alzheimer’s risk that track with genotype but are capable of responding to treatment. Here, we sought to identify a functional MRI signature of combined Alzheimer’s risk imparted by two genetic risk factors. We used a task of executive attention during fMRI in participants genotyped for two Alzheimer’s risk alleles: APOE-ε4 and CLU-C. Executive attention is a sensitive indicator of the progression of Alzheimer’s even in the early stages of mild cognitive impairment, but has not yet been investigated as a marker of Alzheimer’s risk in young adults. Functional MRI revealed that APOE-ε4 and CLU-C had an additive effect on brain activity such that increased combined genetic risk was associated with decreased brain activity during executive attention, including in the medial temporal lobe, a brain area affected early in Alzheimer’s pathogenesis. PMID:24388797
Norvilitis, Jill M; Reid, Howard M
Two studies assessed the relation between gender role and executive function. In Study One (N = 234) analyses indicated that among college students executive function, assessed by the Coolidge and Griego scale, is related to masculine gender-role classification, measured by the Bem Sex-role Inventory. This relationship remained significant when biological sex was controlled. Further, factor analysis of the Bem Sex-role Inventory identified six components, three related to executive function. Two of these scales were associated with masculine characteristics, and the third was associated with the denial of several feminine items. Study Two (N = 53) further assessed the relationship among undergraduates through additional measures of executive functions and mood, in addition to the Bem Sex-role Inventory. In this study, executive functioning, as measured by the Coolidge and Griego scale, was again generally related to masculinity. Psychological well-being was not related to gender identity or executive functioning.
Faja, Susan; Dawson, Geraldine; Sullivan, Katherine; Meltzoff, Andrew N; Estes, Annette; Bernier, Raphael
Executive function and play skills develop in early childhood and are linked to cognitive and language ability. The present study examined these abilities longitudinally in two groups with autism spectrum disorder-a group with higher initial language (n = 30) and a group with lower initial language ability (n = 36). Among the lower language group, concurrent nonverbal cognitive ability contributed most to individual differences in executive function and play skills. For the higher language group, executive function during preschool significantly predicted play ability at age 6 over and above intelligence, but early play did not predict later executive function. These results suggested that factors related to the development of play and executive function differ for subgroups of children with different language abilities and that early executive function skills may be critical in order for verbal children with autism to develop play. Autism Res 2016, 9: 1274-1284. © 2016 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Fuhs, Mary Wagner; Day, Jeanne D
Research suggests that executive functioning skills may enhance the school readiness of children from disadvantaged homes. Questions remain, however, concerning both the structure and the stability of executive functioning among preschoolers. In addition, there is a lack of research addressing potential predictors of longitudinal change in executive functioning during early childhood. This study examined the structure of executive functioning from fall to spring of the preschool year using a multimethod battery of measures. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed a unidimensional model fit the data well at both time points, and tests of measurement invariance across time points indicated that children's mean latent executive functioning scores significantly improved over time. Verbal ability was a significant predictor of longitudinal change in executive functioning. Theoretical implications and directions for future research are discussed.
Nayena Blankson, A.; O’Brien, Marion; Leerkes, Esther M.; Marcovitch, Stuart; Calkins, Susan D.
Although shyness has often been found to be negatively related to vocabulary, few studies have examined the processes that produce or modify this relation. The present study examined executive functioning skills and home environmental stimulation as potential mediating and moderating mechanisms. A sample of 3.5-year-old children (N=254) were administered executive functioning tasks and a vocabulary test during a laboratory visit. Mothers completed questionnaires assessing child shyness and home environmental stimulation. Our primary hypothesis was that executive functioning mediates the association between shyness and vocabulary, and home environmental stimulation moderates the relation between executive functioning and vocabulary. Alternative hypotheses were also tested. Results indicated that children with better executive functioning skills developed stronger vocabularies when reared in more, versus less, stimulating environments. Implications of these results are discussed in terms of the role of shyness, executive functioning, and home environmental stimulation in early vocabulary development. PMID:22096267
Drijbooms, Elise; Groen, Margriet A; Verhoeven, Ludo
The present study investigated the contribution of executive functions to narrative writing in fourth grade children, and evaluated to what extent executive functions contribute differentially to different levels of narrative composition. The written skills of 102 Dutch children in fourth grade were assessed using a narrative picture-elicitation task. In addition, a large test battery assessing transcription skills, language skills and executive functions, was administered. The results showed that executive functions contributed both directly and indirectly to narrative composition. More specifically, analyses revealed that inhibition and updating, but not planning, contributed directly to the text length of the narrative, and indirectly, through handwriting, to the text length, syntactic complexity, and story content. The findings underscore the need to assess a variety of executive functions and support the idea that in developing writers executive functions also play a role in more complex written composition tasks, such as narrative writing.
Blair, Clancy; Sulik, Michael; Willoughby, Michael; Mills-Koonce, Roger; Petrill, Stephen; Bartlett, Christopher; Greenberg, Mark
Numerous studies demonstrate that the Methionine variant of the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphism, which confers less efficient catabolism of catecholamines, is associated with increased focal activation of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and higher levels of executive function abilities. By and large, however, studies of COMT Val158Met have been conducted with adult samples and do not account for the context in which development is occurring. Effects of early adversity on stress response physiology and the inverted U shape relating catecholamine levels to neural activity in PFC indicate the need to take into account early experience when considering relations between genes such as COMT and executive cognitive ability. Consistent with this neurobiology, we find in a prospective longitudinal sample of children and families (N = 1292) that COMT Val158Met interacts with early experience to predict executive function abilities in early childhood. Specifically, the Valine variant of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism, which confers more rather than less efficient catabolism of catecholamines is associated with higher executive function abilities at child ages 48 and 60 months and with faster growth of executive function for children experiencing early adversity, as indexed by cumulative risk factors in the home at child ages 7, 15, 24, and 36 months. Findings indicate the importance of the early environment for the relation between catecholamine genes and developmental outcomes and demonstrate that the genetic moderation of environmental risk is detectable in early childhood.
Blair, Clancy; Sulik, Michael; Willoughby, Michael; Mills-Koonce, Roger; Petrill, Stephen; Bartlett, Christopher; Greenberg, Mark
Numerous studies demonstrate that the Methionine variant of the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphism, which confers less efficient catabolism of catecholamines, is associated with increased focal activation of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and higher levels of executive function abilities. By and large, however, studies of COMT Val158Met have been conducted with adult samples and do not account for the context in which development is occurring. Effects of early adversity on stress response physiology and the inverted U shape relating catecholamine levels to neural activity in PFC indicate the need to take into account early experience when considering relations between genes such as COMT and executive cognitive ability. Consistent with this neurobiology, we find in a prospective longitudinal sample of children and families (N=1292) that COMT Val158Met interacts with early experience to predict executive function abilities in early childhood. Specifically, the Valine variant of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism, which confers more rather than less efficient catabolism of catecholamines is associated with higher executive function abilities at child ages 48 and 60 months and with faster growth of executive function for children experiencing early adversity, as indexed by cumulative risk factors in the home at child ages 7, 15, 24, and 36 months. Findings indicate the importance of the early environment for the relation between catecholamine genes and developmental outcomes and demonstrate that the genetic moderation of environmental risk is detectable in early childhood. PMID:26251232
Vuong, Ann M; Yolton, Kimberly; Webster, Glenys M; Sjödin, Andreas; Calafat, Antonia M; Braun, Joseph M; Dietrich, Kim N; Lanphear, Bruce P; Chen, Aimin
Executive function is a critical behavioral trait rarely studied in relation to potential neurotoxicants. Prenatal exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) has been associated with adverse neurodevelopment, but there is limited research on executive function. Data from 256 mother-child pairs in the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment Study, a prospective birth cohort (2003-2006, Cincinnati, OH), was used to examine maternal serum PBDEs and PFASs and executive function in children ages 5 and 8 years. Maternal serum PBDEs and PFASs were measured at 16±3 weeks gestation. Executive function was assessed with the parent-rated Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), which yields composite measures: behavioral regulation index, metacognition index, and global executive composite. Higher BRIEF scores indicate executive function impairments. Linear mixed models and generalized estimating equations were used to estimate covariate-adjusted associations between PBDEs and PFASs and executive function. A 10-fold increase in BDE-153 was associated with poorer behavior regulation (β=3.23, 95% CI 0.60, 5.86). Higher odds of having a score ≥60 in behavior regulation (OR=3.92, 95% CI 1.76, 8.73) or global executive functioning (OR=2.34, 95% CI 1.05, 5.23) was observed with increased BDE-153. Each ln-unit increase in perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was associated with poorer behavior regulation (β=3.14, 95% CI 0.68, 5.61), metacognition (β=3.10, 95% CI 0.62, 5.58), and global executive functioning (β=3.38, 95% CI 0.86, 5.90). However, no association was observed between perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and executive function. Prenatal exposures to BDE-153 and PFOS may be associated with executive function deficits in school-age children.
Kaplan, Stephen; Berman, Marc G
Research on executive functioning and on self-regulation have each identified a critical resource that is central to that domain and is susceptible to depletion. In addition, studies have shown that self-regulation tasks and executive-functioning tasks interact with each other, suggesting that they may share resources. Other research has focused specifically on restoring what we propose is the shared resource between self-regulation and executive functioning. Utilizing a theory-based natural environment intervention, these studies have found improvements in executive-functioning performance and self-regulation effectiveness, suggesting that the natural environment intervention restores this shared resource.
Markostamou, Ioanna; Rudolf, Jobst; Tsiptsios, Iakovos; Kosmidis, Mary H
Given the insular's anatomic complexity and functional interconnectivity, acute lesions may result in varied clinical presentations, including autonomic, somatosensory, perceptual, motor, affective, and cognitive deficits. Although functional neuroimaging studies have demonstrated its role in executive functions, no clinical manifestations have been reported to date. We present the case of a woman with an acute left anterior insular infarction leading to executive (i.e., word and design fluency, mental flexibility, sustained attention, inhibitory control), but not language, visuoperceptual, or memory impairment. This case confirms the left anterior insula's involvement in executive functioning and suggests that an infarction may result in executive impairment.
Kluwe-Schiavon, Bruno; Viola, Thiago W.; Sanvicente-Vieira, Breno; Malloy-Diniz, Leandro F.; Grassi-Oliveira, Rodrigo
Recently, there has been growing interest in understanding how executive functions are conceptualized in psychopathology. Since several models have been proposed, the major issue lies within the definition of executive functioning itself. Theoretical discussions have emerged, narrowing the boundaries between “hot” and “cold” executive functions or between self-regulation and cognitive control. Nevertheless, the definition of executive functions is far from a consensual proposition and it has been suggested that these models might be outdated. Current efforts indicate that human behavior and cognition are by-products of many brain systems operating and interacting at different levels, and therefore, it is very simplistic to assume a dualistic perspective of information processing. Based upon an adaptive perspective, we discuss how executive functions could emerge from the ability to solve immediate problems and to generalize successful strategies, as well as from the ability to synthesize and to classify environmental information in order to predict context and future. We present an executive functioning perspective that emerges from the dynamic balance between automatic-controlled behaviors and an emotional-salience state. According to our perspective, the adaptive role of executive functioning is to automatize efficient solutions simultaneously with cognitive demand, enabling individuals to engage such processes with increasingly complex problems. Understanding executive functioning as a mediator of stress and cognitive engagement not only fosters discussions concerning individual differences, but also offers an important paradigm to understand executive functioning as a continuum process rather than a categorical and multicomponent structure. PMID:28154541
Madhoo, Manisha; Keefe, Richard SE; Roth, Robert M; Sambunaris, Angelo; Wu, James; Trivedi, Madhukar H; Anderson, Colleen S; Lasser, Robert
Evaluate lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX) augmentation of antidepressant monotherapy for executive dysfunction in partially or fully remitted major depressive disorder (MDD). This randomized, placebo-controlled study (NCT00985725) enrolled 143 adults (18–55 years) with mild MDD (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score ⩽18) and executive dysfunction (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version (BRIEF-A) Self-Report Global Executive Composite (GEC) T score ⩾60) on stable antidepressant monotherapy for ⩾8 weeks. After 2 weeks of screening, participants were randomized to 9 weeks of double-blind LDX (20–70 mg/day) or placebo augmentation, followed by 2 weeks of single-blind placebo. The primary end point was change from baseline to week 9/end of study (EOS) in BRIEF-A Self-Report GEC T score; secondary assessments included the BRIEF-A Informant Report, MADRS, and treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs). Of 143 randomized participants, 119 completed double-blind treatment (placebo, n=59; LDX, n=60). Mean±standard deviation (SD) BRIEF-A GEC T scores decreased from baseline (placebo, 74.2±8.88; LDX, 76.8±9.66) to week 9/EOS (placebo, 61.4±14.61; LDX, 55.2±16.15); the LS mean (95% CI) treatment difference significantly favored LDX (−8.0 (−12.7, −3.3); P=0.0009). The LS mean (95% CI) treatment difference for MADRS total score also significantly favored LDX (−1.9 (−3.7, 0.0); P=0.0465). TEAE rates were 73.6% with placebo and 78.9% with LDX; serious TEAE rates were 4.2 and 2.8%. In this trial, LDX augmentation significantly improved executive dysfunction and depressive symptoms in participants with mild MDD. The safety profile of LDX was consistent with prior studies in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. PMID:24309905
Shuai, Lan; Daley, David; Wang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Jin-Song; Kong, Yan-Ting; Tan, Xin; Ji, Ning
Background: Accumulating evidence indicates that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is associated with core deficits in executive function (EF) which predicts poorer academic and occupational functioning. This makes early intervention targeting EF impairments important to prevent long-term negative outcomes. Cognitive training is a potential ADHD treatment target. The present study aimed to explore the efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of a cognitive training program (targeting child's multiple EF components and involving parent support in daily life), as a nonpharmacological intervention for children with ADHD. Methods: Forty-four school -age children with ADHD and their parents participated in 12 sessions of EF training (last for 12 weeks) and 88 health controls (HC) were also recruited. Training effects were explored using both neuropsychological tests (Stroop color-word test, Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test, trail making test, tower of Hanoi, and false-belief task) and reports of daily life (ADHD rating scale-IV, Conners’ parent rating scale, and behavior rating inventory of executive function [BRIEF]) by analysis of paired sample t-test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The differences on EF performances between children with ADHD after training and HC were explored using multivariate analysis. Results: The results (before vs. after EF training) showed that after intervention, the children with ADHD presented better performances of EF both in neuropsychological tests (word interference of Stroop: 36.1 ± 14.6 vs. 27.1 ± 11.1, t = 4.731, P < 0.001; shift time of TMT: 194.9 ± 115.4 vs. 124.8 ± 72.4, Z = –4.639, P < 0.001; false-belief task: χ2 = 6.932, P = 0.008) and reports of daily life (global executive composite of BRIEF: 148.9 ± 17.5 vs. 127.8 ± 17.5, t = 6.433, P < 0.001). The performances on EF tasks for children with ADHD after EF training could match with the level of HC children. The ADHD symptoms (ADHD rating scale total
Woodard, Kristina; Pozzan, Lucia; Trueswell, John C
Children as old as 5 or 6 years display selective difficulties in revising initial interpretive commitments, as indicated by both online and offline measures of sentence comprehension. It is likely, however, that individual children differ in how well they can recover from misinterpretations and in the age at which they become adult-like in these abilities. To better understand the cognitive functions that support sentence processing and revision, the current work investigated how individual differences in children's ability to interpret temporarily ambiguous sentences relate to individual differences in other linguistic and domain-general cognitive abilities. Children were tested over 2 days on a battery of executive function, working memory, and language comprehension tasks. Performance on these tasks was then used to predict online and offline measures of children's ability to revise initial misinterpretations of temporarily ambiguous sentences. We found two measures of children's cognitive flexibility to be related to their ambiguity resolution abilities. These results provide converging evidence for the hypothesis that the ability to revise initial interpretive commitments is supported by domain-general executive function abilities, which are highly variable and not fully developed in children.
Woodard, Kristina; Pozzan, Lucia; Trueswell, John C.
Children as old as five to six years of age display selective difficulties revising initial interpretive commitments, as indicated by both online and offline measures of sentence comprehension (Trueswell, Sekerina, Hill & Logrip, 1999). It is likely though that individual children differ in how well they can recover from misinterpretations and at the age they become adult-like in these abilities. To better understand the cognitive functions that support sentence processing and revision, the present work investigates how individual differences in children’s ability to interpret temporarily ambiguous sentences relate to individual differences in other linguistic and domain-general cognitive abilities. Children were tested over two days on a battery of executive function, working memory, and language comprehension tasks. Performance on these tasks was then used to predict online and offline measures of children’s ability to revise initial misinterpretations of temporarily ambiguous sentences. We found two measures of children’s cognitive flexibility to be related to their ambiguity resolution abilities. These results provide converging evidence for the hypothesis that the ability to revise initial interpretative commitments is supported by domain-general executive function (EF) abilities (Novick, Trueswell & Thompson-Schill, 2005), which are highly variable and not fully developed in children (Anderson 2002; Davidson, Amso, Anderson & Diamond, 2006). PMID:26454180
Friedman, Naomi P; Miyake, Akira; Young, Susan E; Defries, John C; Corley, Robin P; Hewitt, John K
Recent psychological and neuropsychological research suggests that executive functions--the cognitive control processes that regulate thought and action--are multifaceted and that different types of executive functions are correlated but separable. The present multivariate twin study of 3 executive functions (inhibiting dominant responses, updating working memory representations, and shifting between task sets), measured as latent variables, examined why people vary in these executive control abilities and why these abilities are correlated but separable from a behavioral genetic perspective. Results indicated that executive functions are correlated because they are influenced by a highly heritable (99%) common factor that goes beyond general intelligence or perceptual speed, and they are separable because of additional genetic influences unique to particular executive functions. This combination of general and specific genetic influences places executive functions among the most heritable psychological traits. These results highlight the potential of genetic approaches for uncovering the biological underpinnings of executive functions and suggest a need for examining multiple types of executive functions to distinguish different levels of genetic influences.
Conti, Juliana; Sterr, Annette; Brucki, Sônia Maria Dozzi; Conforto, Adriana B.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Cognitive functions and, in particular, executive function, are commonly affected after stroke, leading to impairments in performance of daily activities, decrease in social participation and in quality of life. Appropriate assessment and understanding of executive dysfunction are important, firstly to develop better rehabilitation strategies for executive functions per se and secondly to consider executive function abilities on rehabilitation strategies in general. The purpose of this review was to identify the most widely used assessment tools of executive dysfunction for patients with stroke, and their psychometric properties. We systematically reviewed manuscripts published in English in databases from 1999 to 2015. We identified 35 publications. The most frequently used instruments were the Stroop, Digit Span and Trail making tests. Psychometric properties were described for the Executive Function Performance Test, Executive Clock Drawing Task, Chinese Frontal Assessment Battery and Virtual Action Planning – Supermarket, and two subtests of the Cambridge Cognitive Examination – Revised. There is a paucity of tools to reliably measure executive dysfunction after stroke, despite the fact that executive dysfunction is frequent. Identification of the best tools for executive dysfunction assessment is necessary to address important gaps in research and in clinical practice. PMID:26623442
Conti, Juliana; Sterr, Annette; Brucki, Sônia Maria Dozzi; Conforto, Adriana B
Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Cognitive functions and, in particular, executive function, are commonly affected after stroke, leading to impairments in performance of daily activities, decrease in social participation and in quality of life. Appropriate assessment and understanding of executive dysfunction are important, firstly to develop better rehabilitation strategies for executive functions per se and secondly to consider executive function abilities on rehabilitation strategies in general. The purpose of this review was to identify the most widely used assessment tools of executive dysfunction for patients with stroke, and their psychometric properties. We systematically reviewed manuscripts published in English in databases from 1999 to 2015. We identified 35 publications. The most frequently used instruments were the Stroop, Digit Span and Trail making tests. Psychometric properties were described for the Executive Function Performance Test, Executive Clock Drawing Task, Chinese Frontal Assessment Battery and Virtual Action Planning - Supermarket, and two subtests of the Cambridge Cognitive Examination - Revised. There is a paucity of tools to reliably measure executive dysfunction after stroke, despite the fact that executive dysfunction is frequent. Identification of the best tools for executive dysfunction assessment is necessary to address important gaps in research and in clinical practice.
Turkstra, Lyn S.; Flora, Tracy L.
Compensatory strategies were designed to enable a client with traumatic brain injury to obtain professional employment. In a series of speech-language therapy sessions, compensatory strategies targeting impairments in executive function were developed, refined, and trained in mock-interview situations. Significant improvements were noted in…
Boyd, Brian A.; McBee, Matthew; Holtzclaw, Tia; Baranek, Grace T.; Bodfish, James W.
This study examined the relationship between repetitive behaviors and sensory processing issues in school-aged children with high functioning autism (HFA). Children with HFA (N = 61) were compared to healthy, typical controls (N = 64) to determine the relationship between these behavioral classes and to examine whether executive dysfunction…
Curran, R. T.
A flight computer functional executive design for the reusable shuttle is presented. The design is given in the form of functional flowcharts and prose description. Techniques utilized in the regulation of process flow to accomplish activation, resource allocation, suspension, termination, and error masking based on process primitives are considered. Preliminary estimates of main storage utilization by the Executive are furnished. Conclusions and recommendations for timely, effective software-hardware integration in the reusable shuttle avionics system are proposed.
Shanmugan, Sheila; Satterthwaite, Theodore D
Executive functions are involved in the development of academic skills and are critical for functioning in school settings. The relevance of executive functions to education begins early and continues throughout development, with clear impact on achievement. Diverse efforts increasingly suggest ways in which facilitating development of executive function may be used to improve academic performance. Such interventions seek to alter the trajectory of executive development, which exhibits a protracted course of maturation that stretches into young adulthood. As such, it may be useful to understand how the executive system develops normally and abnormally in order to tailor interventions within educational settings. Here we review recent work investigating the neural basis for executive development during childhood and adolescence.
Leung, Rachel C; Vogan, Vanessa M; Powell, Tamara L; Anagnostou, Evdokia; Taylor, Margot J
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by socio-communicative impairments. Executive dysfunction may explain some key characteristics of ASD, both social and nonsocial hallmarks. Limited research exists exploring the relations between executive function and social impairment in ASD and few studies have used a comparison control group. Thus, the objective of the present study was to investigate the relations between executive functioning using the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning (BRIEF), social impairment as measured by the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), and overall autistic symptomology as measured by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) in children and adolescents with and without ASD. Seventy children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD and 71 typically developing controls were included in this study. Findings showed that behavioral regulation executive processes (i.e., inhibition, shifting, and emotional control) predicted social function in all children. However, metacognitive executive processes (i.e., initiation, working memory, planning, organization, and monitoring) predicted social function only in children with ASD and not in typically developing children. Our findings suggest a distinct metacognitive executive function-social symptom link in ASD that is not present in the typical population. Understanding components of executive functioning that contribute to the autistic symptomology, particularly in the socio-communicative domain, is crucial for developing effective interventions that target key executive processes as well as underlying behavioral symptoms.
Agostino, Alba; Johnson, Janice; Pascual-Leone, Juan
We investigated the extent to which inhibition, updating, shifting, and mental-attentional capacity (M-capacity) contribute to children's ability to solve multiplication word problems. A total of 155 children in Grades 3-6 (8- to 13-year-olds) completed a set of multiplication word problems at two levels of difficulty: one-step and multiple-step problems. They also received a reading comprehension test and a battery of inhibition, updating, shifting, and M-capacity measures. Structural equation modeling showed that updating mediated the relationship between multiplication performance (controlling for reading comprehension score) and latent attentional factors M-capacity and inhibition. Updating played a more important role in predicting performance on multiple-step problems than did age, whereas age and updating were equally important predictors on one-step problems. Shifting was not a significant predictor in either model. Implications of proposing executive function updating as a mediator between mathematical cognition and chronological age and attention resources are discussed.
Bredemeier, Keith; Miller, Ivan W.
Deficits in executive function (EF) have been proposed as a possible explanation for the “cognitive rigidity” often observed in suicidal individuals. This article provides a systematic review of the existing literature testing relations between EF and suicidality, across various diagnostic and demographic populations, using the influential multidimensional model of EF proposed by Miyake and colleagues (2000) as an organizing framework. Forty-three journal articles on this topic published before January of 2014 were reviewed. Collectively, results from these studies provide tentative support for an association between EF deficits and suicidality. However, there is some evidence that this association is moderated other factors (e.g., suicide attempt lethality). Importantly, this relationship may vary across diagnostic groups. Specifically, more studies that used depressive disorder samples reported some positive findings (75%), followed by mixed diagnostic samples (54%). In contrast, fewer positive findings have emerged from studies with bipolar or psychotic disorder samples (29% and 33% respectively), and some even found that suicidality is associated with better EF in individuals with psychotic disorders. Firm conclusions about relationships between specific dimensions of EF and/or aspects of suicidality are difficult to draw this time. Limitations of the existing literature and corresponding directions for future research are discussed. PMID:26135816
Dajani, Dina R; Llabre, Maria M; Nebel, Mary Beth; Mostofsky, Stewart H; Uddin, Lucina Q
Executive functions (EFs) are used to set goals, plan for the future, inhibit maladaptive responses, and change behavior flexibly. Although some studies point to specific EF profiles in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - prevalent and often highly comorbid neurodevelopmental disorders - others have not differentiated them. The objective of the current study was to identify distinct profiles of EF across typically developing (TD) children and children with ASD and ADHD. We employed a latent profile analysis using indicators of EF (e.g., working memory, inhibition, and flexibility) in a mixed group of 8-13 year-olds including TD children (n = 128), children with ASD without ADHD (n = 30), children with ADHD (n = 93), and children with comorbid ASD and ADHD (n = 66). Three EF classes emerged: "above average," "average," and "impaired." EF classes did not reproduce diagnostic categories, suggesting that differences in EF abilities are present within the ASD and ADHD groups. Further, greater EF dysfunction predicted more severe socioemotional problems, such as anxiety/depression. These results highlight the heterogeneity of current diagnostic groups and identify an "impaired" EF group, consisting of children with both ASD and ADHD, which could specifically be targeted for EF intervention.
Godlaski, Aaron J; Giancola, Peter R
The purpose of this investigation was to examine (a) whether irritability mediates the relation between executive functioning (EF) and alcohol-related aggression and (b) whether the alcohol-aggression relation is better explained by the interactive effects of EF and irritability above and beyond the effects of either variable alone. EF was measured using seven well-established neuropsychological tests. Irritability was assessed with the Caprara Irritability Scale. Participants were 313 male and female social drinkers between 21 and 35 years of age. Following the consumption of an alcohol or a placebo beverage, participants were tested on a laboratory aggression task in which electric shocks were given to and received from a fictitious opponent under the guise of a competitive reaction-time task. Aggression was operationalized as the shock intensities administered to the fictitious opponent. Results indicated that irritability successfully mediated the relation between EF and intoxicated aggression for men only. Despite the fact that irritability and EF both independently moderated the alcohol-aggression relation in previous studies, no significant interaction for their combined effect was detected here. The findings are discussed, in part, within a cognitive neoassociationistic framework for aggressive behavior.
Long, Brian; Anderson, Vicki; Jacobs, Rani; Mackay, Mark; Leventer, Richard; Barnes, Chris; Spencer-Smith, Megan
Childhood stroke is increasingly recognized as a major cause of childhood morbidity and mortality; however, limited information exists regarding neurobehavioral sequelae. Executive function (EF), important for problem solving, reasoning, social awareness, and adaptive behavior, may be particularly vulnerable to early brain lesions such as stroke, due to its protracted development. This study investigated: (i) the impact of childhood stroke on EF; and (ii) the impact of lesion size on EF outcome. Twenty-eight children diagnosed with stroke at least 12 months prior to assessment were recruited. Neurobehavioral assessment focused on cognitive and behavioral aspects of EF. Lesion volume was determined from standard ratings of brain pathology based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Deficits in cognitive aspects of EF were detected in attentional control, cognitive flexibility and information processing. Difficulties in behavioral aspects of EF were most striking, with problems identified across a wide range of behaviors. Lesion size impacted on EF, with large lesions (greater than 25% of brain volume) proving the most detrimental.
Dajani, Dina R.; Llabre, Maria M.; Nebel, Mary Beth; Mostofsky, Stewart H.; Uddin, Lucina Q.
Executive functions (EFs) are used to set goals, plan for the future, inhibit maladaptive responses, and change behavior flexibly. Although some studies point to specific EF profiles in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — prevalent and often highly comorbid neurodevelopmental disorders — others have not differentiated them. The objective of the current study was to identify distinct profiles of EF across typically developing (TD) children and children with ASD and ADHD. We employed a latent profile analysis using indicators of EF (e.g., working memory, inhibition, and flexibility) in a mixed group of 8–13 year-olds including TD children (n = 128), children with ASD without ADHD (n = 30), children with ADHD (n = 93), and children with comorbid ASD and ADHD (n = 66). Three EF classes emerged: “above average,” “average,” and “impaired.” EF classes did not reproduce diagnostic categories, suggesting that differences in EF abilities are present within the ASD and ADHD groups. Further, greater EF dysfunction predicted more severe socioemotional problems, such as anxiety/depression. These results highlight the heterogeneity of current diagnostic groups and identify an “impaired” EF group, consisting of children with both ASD and ADHD, which could specifically be targeted for EF intervention. PMID:27827406
Vissers, Constance; Koolen, Sophieke; Hermans, Daan; Scheper, Annette; Knoors, Harry
The pathogenesis of Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is still largely beyond our understanding. In this review, a neuropsychological perspective on language impairments in SLI is taken, focusing specifically on executive functioning (EF) in preschoolers (age range: 2.6–6.1 years) with SLI. Based on the studies described in this review, it can be concluded that similar to school-aged children with SLI, preschoolers with SLI show difficulties in working memory, inhibition and shifting, as revealed by both performance based measures and behavioral ratings. It seems plausible that a complex, reciprocal relationship exists between language and EF throughout development. Future research is needed to examine if, and if yes how, language and EF interact in SLI. Broad neuropsychological assessment in which both language and EF are taken into account may contribute to early detection of SLI. This in turn can lead to early and tailored treatment of children with (suspected) SLI aimed not only at stimulating language development but also at strengthening EF. PMID:26539136
Executive functions (EFs; e.g., reasoning, working memory, and self-control) can be improved. Good news indeed, since EFs are critical for school and job success and for mental and physical health. Various activities appear to improve children’s EFs. The best evidence exists for computer-based training, traditional martial arts, and two school curricula. Weaker evidence, though strong enough to pass peer review, exists for aerobics, yoga, mindfulness, and other school curricula. Here I address what can be learned from the research thus far, including that EFs need to be progressively challenged as children improve and that repeated practice is key. Children devote time and effort to activities they love; therefore, EF interventions might use children’s motivation to advantage. Focusing narrowly on EFs or aerobic activity alone appears not to be as efficacious in improving EFs as also addressing children’s emotional, social, and character development (as do martial arts, yoga, and curricula shown to improve EFs). Children with poorer EFs benefit more from training; hence, training might provide them an opportunity to “catch up” with their peers and not be left behind. Remaining questions include how long benefits of EF training last and who benefits most from which activities. PMID:25328287
Han, Yvonne M Y; Chan, Agnes S
The present study examined the executive function and cortical connectivity of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and investigated whether the executive function deficits exhibited by these children were differentially affected and associated with the cortical connectivity. The present study compared high-functioning (HFA) and low-functioning (LFA) children with typically developing children (TDC) on their executive functions as measured by the Hong Kong List Learning Test, D2 Test of Concentration, Five Point Test, Children's Color Trail Test, Tower of California Test, and Go/No-Go task and neural connectivity as measured by theta coherence in the distributed fronto-parietal network. Thirty-eight children with ASD (19 HFA and 19 LFA) and 28 TDC children, aged 8-17 years, participated voluntarily in the study. The results on executive function showed that the LFA group demonstrated the poorest performance as exhibited by their Executive Composite and individual executive function scores, while the TDC group exhibited the highest. These results have extended the findings of previous studies in demonstrating that HFA and LFA children have significant differences in their degree of executive function deficits. The results on neural connectivity also showed that children with ASD demonstrated a different pattern of electroencephalography (EEG) coherence from TDC children, as demonstrated by the significantly elevated theta coherence in the fronto-parietal network, and that the severity of executive dysfunction between high- and low-functioning children with ASD was found to be associated with the disordered neural connectivity in these children.
Groppe, Karoline; Elsner, Birgit
Executive function (EF) has long been considered to be a unitary, domain-general cognitive ability. However, recent research suggests differentiating “hot” affective and “cool” cognitive aspects of EF. Yet, findings regarding this two-factor construct are still inconsistent. In particular, the development of this factor structure remains unclear and data on school-aged children is lacking. Furthermore, studies linking EF and overweight or obesity suggest that EF contributes to the regulation of eating behavior. So far, however, the links between EF and eating behavior have rarely been investigated in children and non-clinical populations. First, we examined whether EF can be divided into hot and cool factors or whether they actually correspond to a unitary construct in middle childhood. Second, we examined how hot and cool EF are associated with different eating styles that put children at risk of becoming overweight during development. Hot and cool EF were assessed experimentally in a non-clinical population of 1657 elementary-school children (aged 6–11 years). The “food approach” behavior was rated mainly via parent questionnaires. Findings indicate that hot EF is distinguishable from cool EF. However, only cool EF seems to represent a coherent functional entity, whereas hot EF does not seem to be a homogenous construct. This was true for a younger and an older subgroup of children. Furthermore, different EF components were correlated with eating styles, such as responsiveness to food, desire to drink, and restrained eating in girls but not in boys. This shows that lower levels of EF are not only seen in clinical populations of obese patients but are already associated with food approach styles in a normal population of elementary school-aged girls. Although the direction of effect still has to be clarified, results point to the possibility that EF constitutes a risk factor for eating styles contributing to the development of overweight in the long
Groppe, Karoline; Elsner, Birgit
Executive function (EF) has long been considered to be a unitary, domain-general cognitive ability. However, recent research suggests differentiating "hot" affective and "cool" cognitive aspects of EF. Yet, findings regarding this two-factor construct are still inconsistent. In particular, the development of this factor structure remains unclear and data on school-aged children is lacking. Furthermore, studies linking EF and overweight or obesity suggest that EF contributes to the regulation of eating behavior. So far, however, the links between EF and eating behavior have rarely been investigated in children and non-clinical populations. First, we examined whether EF can be divided into hot and cool factors or whether they actually correspond to a unitary construct in middle childhood. Second, we examined how hot and cool EF are associated with different eating styles that put children at risk of becoming overweight during development. Hot and cool EF were assessed experimentally in a non-clinical population of 1657 elementary-school children (aged 6-11 years). The "food approach" behavior was rated mainly via parent questionnaires. Findings indicate that hot EF is distinguishable from cool EF. However, only cool EF seems to represent a coherent functional entity, whereas hot EF does not seem to be a homogenous construct. This was true for a younger and an older subgroup of children. Furthermore, different EF components were correlated with eating styles, such as responsiveness to food, desire to drink, and restrained eating in girls but not in boys. This shows that lower levels of EF are not only seen in clinical populations of obese patients but are already associated with food approach styles in a normal population of elementary school-aged girls. Although the direction of effect still has to be clarified, results point to the possibility that EF constitutes a risk factor for eating styles contributing to the development of overweight in the long-term.
Chester, David S; Eisenberger, Naomi I; Pond, Richard S; Richman, Stephanie B; Bushman, Brad J; Dewall, C Nathan
Social rejection often increases aggression, but the neural mechanisms underlying this effect remain unclear. This experiment tested whether neural activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and anterior insula in response to social rejection predicted greater subsequent aggression. Additionally, it tested whether executive functioning moderated this relationship. Participants completed a behavioral measure of executive functioning, experienced social rejection while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging and then completed a task in which they could aggress against a person who rejected them using noise blasts . We found that dACC activation and executive functioning interacted to predict aggression. Specifically, participants with low executive functioning showed a positive association between dACC activation and aggression, whereas individuals with high executive functioning showed a negative association. Similar results were found for the left anterior insula. These findings suggest that social pain can increase or decrease aggression, depending on an individual's regulatory capability.
Venza, Erin E.; Chapman, Sandra B.; Aslan, Sina; Zientz, Jennifer E.; Tyler, David L.; Spence, Jeffrey S.
Cognitive deficits in executive function and memory among individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) are well-documented; however, only recently have efforts begun to address whether such cognitive deficits can be ameliorated through cognitive training. This pilot study examined the effects of a top–down, cognitive reasoning training program in adults with BD on both brain and cognitive measures. Twenty-seven participants (11 males, 16 females), aged 21–70 years old, completed the study. Participants completed neurocognitive testing and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after training, consisting of 8 h (2 h/week) of training in small groups. The training delivered information processing strategies that were implemented and applicable to a variety of daily living contexts. Results indicated that participants showed significant gains in the primary outcome measure of complex abstraction, also referred to as gist reasoning, as well as in untrained domains of executive function and memory. We found a significant increase in resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) in left inferior frontal gyrus after cognitive training. We also found that resting CBF in the right frontal middle gyrus correlated positively with performance on the measure of complex abstraction. This feasibility study provides promising evidence that short-term reasoning training can enhance cognitive performance and brain health in adults with BD. These data motivate further efforts to explore adjuvant therapeutics to improve cognitive performance and underlying brain systems in bipolar, as well as other psychiatric disorders. Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02843282, http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02843282 PMID:27847486
Venza, Erin E; Chapman, Sandra B; Aslan, Sina; Zientz, Jennifer E; Tyler, David L; Spence, Jeffrey S
Cognitive deficits in executive function and memory among individuals with bipolar disorder (BD) are well-documented; however, only recently have efforts begun to address whether such cognitive deficits can be ameliorated through cognitive training. This pilot study examined the effects of a top-down, cognitive reasoning training program in adults with BD on both brain and cognitive measures. Twenty-seven participants (11 males, 16 females), aged 21-70 years old, completed the study. Participants completed neurocognitive testing and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after training, consisting of 8 h (2 h/week) of training in small groups. The training delivered information processing strategies that were implemented and applicable to a variety of daily living contexts. Results indicated that participants showed significant gains in the primary outcome measure of complex abstraction, also referred to as gist reasoning, as well as in untrained domains of executive function and memory. We found a significant increase in resting cerebral blood flow (CBF) in left inferior frontal gyrus after cognitive training. We also found that resting CBF in the right frontal middle gyrus correlated positively with performance on the measure of complex abstraction. This feasibility study provides promising evidence that short-term reasoning training can enhance cognitive performance and brain health in adults with BD. These data motivate further efforts to explore adjuvant therapeutics to improve cognitive performance and underlying brain systems in bipolar, as well as other psychiatric disorders. Clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02843282, http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02843282.
Kiep, Michelle; Spek, Annelies A
Executive functioning (EF) is thought to be linked to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) specific symptoms. The majority of research has focused on children and adolescents with ASD and, therefore, little is known about EF in adults. Furthermore, little is known about gender differences. Ninety-nine men and forty women with ASD were compared with and 35 neurotypical men 25 neurotypical women. Participants were matched on age, total intelligence, and verbal ability. The following instruments were used to measure executive functioning: digit span and letter and number sequencing of the WAIS-III, Tower of Hanoi, WCST, and Verbal fluency. Multiple analysis of variance was conducted to determine group differences. Women with ASD performed worse on the working memory tasks of the WAIS-III than neurotypical women. Furthermore, women with ASD had more perseverations on the WCST than neurotypical women. The gender comparison in the ASD group showed differences in performance on mental flexibility (WCST), working memory (WAIS-III), generativity and self-monitoring (Verbal fluency). However, these differences were unequivocal and no gender specific cognitive profile could be pinpointed. Individual strengths and frailties should be highlighted in clinical practice, as impairments in EF can be under influence of the overall cognitive abilities of the individual. Furthermore, gender differences were found. This could explain differences in representation of ASD symptoms in both groups. These differences show how important thorough diagnostics are. Autism Res 2016. © 2016 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Lederman, Sheri G.
Executive function (EF) is an umbrella term used to identify a set of discrete but interrelated cognitive abilities that enable individuals to engage in goal-directed, future-oriented action in response to a novel context. Developmental studies indicate that EF is predictive of reading and math achievement in middle childhood. The purpose of this study was to identify the association between EF and science achievement among normally developing 10 year olds. A sample of fifth grade students from a Northeastern suburban community participated in tests of EF, science, and intelligence. Consistent with adult models of EF, principal components analysis identified a three-factor model of EF organization in middle childhood, including cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibition. Multiple regression analyses revealed that executive function processes of cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibition were all predictive of science performance. Post hoc analyses revealed that high-performing science students differed significantly from low-performing students in both cognitive flexibility and working memory. These findings suggest that complex academic demands specific to science achievement rely on the emergence and maturation of EF components.
Sandberg, Petra; Stigsdotter Neely, Anna
Prior studies have examined the magnitude of training and transfer effects after process-based training in early and late adulthood. However, little is known about how long-lasting these effects are. Here we investigate the degree of stability of training gains and transfer effects in younger and older adults 18 months after completion of executive process training, tapping updating, inhibition, and shifting. From the original sample, 24 out of 30 older participants, and 19 out of 29 young adults, returned for follow-up assessment at which the criterion and transfer tests from pre- and post-test were re-administered. The results demonstrated stability of training gains in the updating criterion task (Letter Memory Running Span), and in a near transfer updating task (Number Memory Running Span) for both age groups. The young adults improved performance in two complex working memory tasks immediately after training. These transfer effects did not survive across time. Our results provide evidence that executive process training has its greatest effect on transfer tasks with a substantial process overlap with the trained tasks: only those effects are maintained over an 18 month period in both early and late adulthood.
Bull, Rebecca; Phillips, Louise H.; Conway, Claire A.
Conflicting evidence has arisen from correlational studies regarding the role of executive control functions in Theory of Mind. The current study used dual-task manipulations of executive functions (inhibition, updating and switching) to investigate the role of these control functions in mental state and non-mental state tasks. The "Eyes"…
Schroeder, Valarie M.; Kelley, Michelle L.
The present study examines the associations between family environment, parenting practices and executive functions in normally developing children. One hundred parents of children between the ages of 5 and 12 completed the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions from the Family Environment Scale and the Parent-Child Relationship…
St. Clair-Thompson, Helen L.
Previous research has suggested that working memory difficulties play an integral role in children's underachievement at school. However, working memory is just one of several executive functions. The extent to which problems in working memory extend to other executive functions is not well understood. In the current study 38 children with a poor…
This qualitative, grounded theory study investigated teacher perspectives on the relationship between executive function and reading aptitude. The influence of executive function may be underestimated in terms of its impact on reading aptitude, which could have significant implications on how reading aptitude is currently defined. The foundational…
Garcia-Barrera, Mauricio A.; Kamphaus, Randy W.; Bandalos, Deborah
The problem of valid measurement of psychological constructs remains an impediment to scientific progress, and the measurement of executive functions is not an exception. This study examined the statistical and theoretical derivation of a behavioral screener for the estimation of executive functions in children from the well-established Behavior…
Baumgartner, Susanne E.; Weeda, Wouter D.; van der Heijden, Lisa L.; Huizinga, Mariëtte
The increasing prevalence of media multitasking among adolescents is concerning because it may be negatively related to goal-directed behavior. This study investigated the relationship between media multitasking and executive function in 523 early adolescents (aged 11-15; 48% girls). The three central components of executive functions (i.e.,…
Gomez-Guerrero, Lorena; Martin, Cristina Dominguez; Mairena, Maria Angeles; Di Martino, Adriana; Wang, Jing; Mendelsohn, Alan L.; Dreyer, Benard P.; Isquith, Peter K.; Gioia, Gerard; Petkova, Eva; Castellanos, F. Xavier
Objective: Individuals with ADHD are often characterized as inconsistent across many contexts. ADHD is also associated with deficits in executive function. We examined the relationships between response time (RT) variability on five brief computer tasks to parents' ratings of ADHD-related features and executive function in a group of children with…
Gau, Susan Shur-Fen; Shang, Chi-Yung
Background: Little is known about executive functions among unaffected siblings of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and there is lack of such information from non-Western countries. We examined verbal and nonverbal executive functions in adolescents with ADHD, unaffected siblings and controls to test whether executive…
Walker, Justin M.; D'Amato, Rik Carl
The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Self-Report version (BRIEF-SR) is the first self-report measure of executive functioning for adolescents. With the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act authorization, there is a greater need for appropriate assessment of severely impaired children. Recent studies have…
Best, John R.
Executive function refers to the cognitive processes necessary for goal-directed cognition and behavior, which develop across childhood and adolescence. Recent experimental research indicates that both acute and chronic aerobic exercise promote children's executive function. Furthermore, there is tentative evidence that not all forms of aerobic…
Hooper, Stephen R.; Swartz, Carl W.; Wakely, Melissa B.; de Kruif, Renee E. L.; Montgomery, James W.
A study examined the executive functioning of 55 elementary school children with and without problems in written expression. A model that reflects some of the executive function domains (initiate, sustain, set shifting and inhibition/stopping) which significantly separate good writers from poor writers was used, however, none of the executive…
Kegel, Cornelia A. T.; Bus, Adriana G.
Children showing poor executive functioning may not fully benefit from learning experiences at home and school and may lag behind in literacy skills. This hypothesis was tested in a sample of 276 kindergarten children. Executive functions and literacy skills were tested at about 61?months and again a year later. In line with earlier studies,…
Fuhs, Mary Wagner; Day, Jeanne D.
Research suggests that executive functioning skills may enhance the school readiness of children from disadvantaged homes. Questions remain, however, concerning both the structure and the stability of executive functioning among preschoolers. In addition, there is a lack of research addressing potential predictors of longitudinal change in…
Van der Ven, Sanne H. G.; Kroesbergen, Evelyn H.; Boom, Jan; Leseman, Paul P. M.
Background: The relationship between executive functions and mathematical skills has been studied extensively, but results are inconclusive, and how this relationship evolves longitudinally is largely unknown. Aim: The aim was to investigate the factor structure of executive functions in inhibition, shifting, and updating; the longitudinal…
van der Sluis, Sophie; de Jong, Peter F.; van der Leij, Aryan
The aims of this study were to investigate whether the executive functions, inhibition, shifting, and updating, are distinguishable as latent variables (common factors) in children aged 9 to 12, and to examine the relations between these executive functions and reading, arithmetic, and (non)verbal reasoning. Confirmatory factor analysis was used…
Nesbitt, Kimberly Turner; Farran, Dale Clark; Fuhs, Mary Wagner
Although research suggests associations between children's executive function skills and their academic achievement, the specific mechanisms that may help explain these associations in early childhood are unclear. This study examined whether children's (N = 1,103; M age = 54.5 months) executive function skills at the beginning of prekindergarten…
Warnick, Brittany; Drake, Morgan; Vidrine, Stephanie
The Delis Rating of Executive Function (D-REF) is a set of rating scales designed to assess executive functions and their constituent sub-processes in children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 18. More specifically, the D-REF is a supplemental assessment of children and adolescents demonstrating behavioral or cognitive difficulties often…
This book presents an innovative model for strengthening and developing executive function in any student, including those with attention, memory, organization, planning, inhibition, initiative, and flexibility difficulties. It provides guidance on how to support each student's evolving executive function, and how to encourage those who are ready…
Buckner, Elizabeth; Kim, Paul
Prior research suggests that exposure to conflict can negatively impact the development of executive functioning, which in turn can affect academic performance. Recognizing the need to better understand the potentially widespread executive function deficiencies among Palestinian students and to help develop educational resources targeted to youth…
Cuevas, Kimberly; Hubble, Morgan; Bell, Martha Ann
Research Findings: This study examined whether children's executive functions before kindergarten would predict variance in executive functions after kindergarten. We obtained behavioral (working memory task performance), parent-reported (temperament-based inhibitory control), and psychophysiological (working memory-related changes in heart rate…
Toplak, Maggie E.; West, Richard F.; Stanovich, Keith E.
Background: Both performance-based and rating measures are commonly used to index executive function in clinical and neuropsychological assessments. They are intended to index the same broad underlying mental construct of executive function. The association between these two types of measures was investigated in the current article. Method and…
Heyl, Vera; Hintermair, Manfred
Introduction: In this study, executive function of school-aged children with visual impairments (that is, those who are blind or have low vision) is examined in the context of behavioral problems and communicative competence. Methods: Teachers assessed the executive function of a sample of 226 visually impaired students from mainstream schools and…
Pritchard, A. E.; Kalback, S.; McCurdy, M.; Capone, G. T.
Background: Executive function (EF) deficits are :a recognised component of the cognitive phenotype of youth with Down Syndrome (DS). Recent research in this area emphasises the use of behaviour ratings, such as the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions-Preschool Version (BRIEF-P), to capture the real-world applications of executive…
Drijbooms, Elise; Groen, Margriet A.; Verhoeven, Ludo
The present study investigated the contribution of executive functions to narrative writing in fourth grade children, and evaluated to what extent executive functions contribute differentially to different levels of narrative composition. The written skills of 102 Dutch children in fourth grade were assessed using a narrative picture-elicitation…
Cartwright, Kelly B.
Research Findings: Executive function begins to develop in infancy and involves an array of processes, such as attention, inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility, which provide the means by which individuals control their own behavior, work toward goals, and manage complex cognitive processes. Thus, executive function plays a…
Doebel, Sabine; Zelazo, Philip David
Engaging executive function often requires overriding a prepotent response in favor of a conflicting but adaptive one. Language may play a key role in this ability by supporting integrated representations of conflicting rules. We tested whether experience with contrastive language that could support such representations benefits executive function in 3-year-old children. Children who received brief experience with language highlighting contrast between objects, attributes, and actions showed greater executive function on two of three 'conflict' executive function tasks than children who received experience with contrasting stimuli only and children who read storybooks with the experimenter, controlling for baseline executive function. Experience with contrasting stimuli did not benefit executive function relative to reading books with the experimenter, indicating experience with contrastive language, rather than experience with contrast generally, was key. Experience with contrastive language also boosted spontaneous attention to contrast, consistent with improvements in representing contrast. These findings indicate a role for language in executive function that is consistent with the Cognitive Complexity and Control theory's key claim that coordinating conflicting rules is critical to overcoming perseveration, and suggest new ideas for testing theories of executive function.
Hughes, Claire H.; Ensor, Rosie A.
This chapter describes longitudinal findings from a socially diverse sample of 125 British children seen at ages two and four. Four models of social influence on executive function are tested, using multiple measures of family life as well as comprehensive assessments of children's executive functions. Our results confirm the importance of…
Wenner, C. J.; Bianchi, J.; Figueredo, A. J.; Rushton, J. Philippe; Jacobs, W. J.
The present work examined predicted relations among Life History strategies, Executive Functions, socially antagonistic attitudes, socially antagonistic behaviors, and general intelligence. Life History (LH) theory predicts that Executive Functions and socially antagonistic attitudes and behaviors underpin an interrelated and coherent set of…
Narushima, Kenji; Moser, David J; Robinson, Robert G
Executive function and denial of illness were examined among 24 patients who received double-blind antidepressant treatment following stroke. Between end-of-treatment at 3 months and follow-up at 2 years, significant correlation was found between improvement in executive function and decrease in denial of illness.
Climie, Emma A.; Cadogan, Sarah; Goukon, Rina
The "Comprehensive Executive Function Inventory" (CEFI; Naglieri & Goldstein, 2013), published by Multi-Health Systems Inc. (MHS), is a new executive function (EF) rating scale for children and youth ages 5 to 18 years. The CEFI strives to accurately assess EF abilities based on self, parent, and teacher reports, and provides…
Daunhauer, Lisa A.; Fidler, Deborah J.; Hahn, Laura; Will, Elizabeth; Lee, Nancy Raitano; Hepburn, Susan
We investigated executive functioning (EF) in children with Down syndrome (DS; n = 25) and typically developing (TD) children matched for mental age (MA; n = 23) using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Preschool. We sought to (1) compare children with DS to a developmentally matched control group, and (2) to characterize the EF…
Abdelgafar, Ghada Mohammed; Moawad, Ruba AbdelMatloub
This study aimed to explore the differences between Arabic-English bilingual and monolingual Arabic children on a battery of executive functions. Prior research on the influence of bilingualism on cognitive abilities and executive functions has shown mixed results. Some results suggested that bilinguals perform significantly better than…
Chevalere, J.; Postal, V.; Jauregui, J.; Copet, P.; Laurier, V.; Thuilleaux, D.
Introduction: The aim of the present study was to determine whether individuals with Prader--Willi syndrome (PWS) have impaired global executive functioning and whether this deficit is linked with intellectual disability. Another objective focussed on the variability in performance of intellectual quotient (IQ) and executive functions (EF)…
Leve, Leslie D.; DeGarmo, David S.; Bridgett, David J.; Neiderhiser, Jenae M.; Shaw, Daniel S.; Harold, Gordon T.; Natsuaki, Misaki N.; Reiss, David
Poor executive functioning has been implicated in children's concurrent and future behavioral difficulties, making work aimed at understanding processes related to the development of early executive function (EF) critical for models of developmental psychopathology. Deficits in EF have been associated with adverse prenatal experiences, genetic…
Engelhard, George, Jr.; Wang, Jue
The authors of the Focus article pose important questions regarding whether or not performance-based tasks related to executive functioning are best viewed as reflective or formative indicators. Miyake and Friedman (2012) define executive functioning (EF) as "a set of general-purpose control mechanisms, often linked to the prefrontal cortex…
Stringer, Ronald W.; Toplak, Maggie E.; Stanovich, Keith E.
In this study, we investigated the relationships between rapid naming of letters, digits and colours, and reading ability and executive function. We gave fifty-six grade three and four children rapid automatised naming tasks using letters and digits as stimuli, executive function measures including the Stroop task, a working memory task and the…
Koerts, Janneke; van Beilen, Marije; Leenders, Klaus L; Brouwer, Wiebo H; Tucha, Lara; Tucha, Oliver
Impairments in executive functions are frequently reported in Parkinson's disease (PD). However, little is known about patients' experience regarding these impairments. This knowledge is crucial because if patients do not experience their cognitive impairments they do not report them to their attending neurologist. Consequently, patients might not get appropriate treatment. This study investigated if patients with a mild to moderate PD experience impairments in executive functions in daily life and whether these correspond with impairments as measured in neuropsychological assessments. Forty-three PD patients and 25 healthy participants were included. Groups did not differ in age, sex and education. All participants and their closest relatives completed a standardized questionnaire measuring executive functions in daily life. Furthermore, all participants were assessed with a test battery measuring executive functions. PD patients reported significantly more problems with executive functions in daily life than healthy participants. Furthermore, co-morbid depression had a negative impact on the number of problems with executive functions in daily life as reported by PD patients. The experienced daily life problems in executive functions were not associated with the patients' performance on objective cognitive measures. In conclusion, PD patients were aware of problems with executive functions in daily life and reported considerably more problems than healthy controls. These problems were however not reflected by neuropsychological tests and may indicate a lack of ecological validity of neuropsychological assessment.
Bevins, Shelley; Hurse, Emily
The following article details a piece of service development work undertaken as part of the Plymouth Down Syndrome Screening Programme. The work aimed to review the use of three measures assessing executive functioning skills used within the Programme as well as with people without Down syndrome. Three tasks assessing executive functioning (the…
Rydell, Robert J; Van Loo, Katie J; Boucher, Kathryn L
Stereotype threat research shows that women's math performance can be reduced by activating gender-based math stereotypes. Models of stereotype threat assert that threat reduces cognitive functioning, thereby accounting for its negative effects. This work provides a more detailed understanding of the cognitive processes through which stereotype threat leads women to underperform at math and to take risks, by examining which basic executive functions (inhibition, shifting, and updating) account for these outcomes. In Experiments 1 and 2, women under threat showed reduced inhibition, reduced updating, and reduced math performance compared with women in a control condition (or men); however, only updating accounted for women's poor math performance under threat. In Experiment 3, only updating accounted for stereotype threat's effect on women's math performance, whereas only inhibition accounted for the effect of threat on risk-taking, suggesting that distinct executive functions can account for different stereotype threat-related outcomes.
Sosic-Vasic, Zrinka; Keis, Oliver; Lau, Maren; Spitzer, Manfred; Streb, Judith
The present study investigates the interplay of executive functions, motivation, and teacher’s autonomy support in school context. In a cross-sectional study design 208 students from different school types completed a standardized motivation questionnaire and processed two executive function tasks. All teachers who teach these students were asked about their autonomy supporting behavior by a standardized test. Multilevel analyses assessed the effects of the student’s motivation and their teachers’ autonomy support on student’s executive functions. Our results show considerable relationships between these variables: high executive function capacities came along with teacher’s autonomy support and student’s intrinsic motivation styles, whereas low executive function capacities were related to external regulation styles. The results indicate the importance of autonomy support in school instruction and disclose the need to popularize the self-regulation approach. PMID:25762958
Sosic-Vasic, Zrinka; Keis, Oliver; Lau, Maren; Spitzer, Manfred; Streb, Judith
The present study investigates the interplay of executive functions, motivation, and teacher's autonomy support in school context. In a cross-sectional study design 208 students from different school types completed a standardized motivation questionnaire and processed two executive function tasks. All teachers who teach these students were asked about their autonomy supporting behavior by a standardized test. Multilevel analyses assessed the effects of the student's motivation and their teachers' autonomy support on student's executive functions. Our results show considerable relationships between these variables: high executive function capacities came along with teacher's autonomy support and student's intrinsic motivation styles, whereas low executive function capacities were related to external regulation styles. The results indicate the importance of autonomy support in school instruction and disclose the need to popularize the self-regulation approach.
Moriguchi, Yusuke; Hiraki, Kazuo
Executive function (EF) refers to the higher-order cognitive control process for the attainment of a specific goal. There are several subcomponents of EF, such as inhibition, cognitive shifting, and working memory. Extensive neuroimaging research in adults has revealed that the lateral prefrontal cortex plays an important role in EF. Developmental studies have reported behavioral evidence showing that EF changes significantly during preschool years. However, the neural mechanism of EF in young children is still unclear. This article reviews recent near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) research that examined the relationship between the development of EF and the lateral prefrontal cortex. Specifically, this review focuses on inhibitory control, cognitive shifting, and working memory in young children. Research has consistently shown significant prefrontal activation during tasks in typically developed children, but this activation may be abnormal in children with developmental disorders. Finally, methodological issues and future directions are discussed. PMID:24381551
BAHÇİVAN SAYDAM, Reyhan; AYVAŞIK, H. Belgin; ALYANAK, Behiye
Introduction This study aims to evaluate executive functions (EF), such as inhibition, planning, working memory, and set shifting, in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by comparing three ADHD subtype groups (ADHD-Inattentive, ADHD-Combined, and ADHD-Comorbid) and a normal control group. Methods Participants included 147 children. In total, 111 children were assigned to the ADHD groups of the study. Each child was matched according to the WISC-R Full-Scale IQ-score, sex, and age and was grouped as follows: ADHD-Inattentive group (ADHD-I; n=37), ADHD-Combined (ADHD-C; n=37), ADHD-Comorbid group (ADHD-Comorbid with oppositional defiant disorder and/or conduct disorder; n=37), and control group (n=36). The tests used to assess the children were Conners’ Parent and Teacher Rating Scales; Wechsler Intelligence Scale-Revised; Tower of London test; Wisconsin Card Sorting Test; Stroop Color-Word Test, and verbal fluency test. The data were analyzed by one-way ANOVA between subjects for all dependent variables. Results Children in the ADHD-I group had significantly better performances in verbal working memory and verbal category shifting than children in the ADHD-C group. There was no significant difference between the ADHD-I and ADHD-C groups in terms of inhibition, set shifting, verbal fluency, cognitive flexibility, and planning. The ADHD-Comorbid group displayed more severe impairments in EF measures than the ADHD-C group; however, the severity was not statistically significant. EF performances of children in the control group were similar to children in the ADHD-I group but better than children in the ADHD-C and ADHD-Comorbid groups. Conclusion The outcome of the study indicated that subjects in the ADHD-Comorbid and ADHD-C groups had more severe EF deficits than subjects in the ADHD-I and control groups.
Hackman, Daniel A; Gallop, Robert; Evans, Gary W; Farah, Martha J
Childhood socioeconomic status (SES) predicts executive function (EF), but fundamental aspects of this relation remain unknown: the developmental course of the SES disparity, its continued sensitivity to SES changes during that course, and the features of childhood experience responsible for the SES-EF relation. Regarding course, early disparities would be expected to grow during development if caused by accumulating stressors at a given constant level of SES. Alternatively, they would narrow if schooling partly compensates for the effects of earlier deprivation, allowing lower-SES children to 'catch up'. The potential for later childhood SES change to affect EF is also unknown. Regarding mediating factors, previous analyses produced mixed answers, possibly due to correlation amongst candidate mediators. We address these issues with measures of SES, working memory and planning, along with multiple candidate mediators, from the NICHD Study of Early Childcare (n = 1009). Early family income-to-needs and maternal education predicted planning by first grade, and income-to-needs predicted working memory performance at 54 months. Effects of early SES remained consistent through middle childhood, indicating that the relation between early indicators of SES and EF emerges in childhood and persists without narrowing or widening across early and middle childhood. Changes in family income-to-needs were associated with significant changes in planning and trend-level changes in working memory. Mediation analyses supported the role of early childhood home characteristics in explaining the association between SES and EF, while early childhood maternal sensitivity was specifically implicated in the association between maternal education and planning. Early emerging and persistent SES-related differences in EF, partially explained by characteristics of the home and family environment, are thus a potential source of socioeconomic disparities in achievement and health across
Nash, Kelly; Stevens, Sara; Greenbaum, Rachel; Weiner, Judith; Koren, Gideon; Rovet, Joanne
An extensive body of literature has documented executive function (EF) impairments in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); however, few studies have aimed specifically at improving EF. One treatment program that shows promise for children with FASD is the Alert Program for Self-Regulation®, which is a 12-week treatment specifically designed to target self-regulation, a component of EF. The present study sought to examine if Alert would produce improvements in self-regulation that would generalize to other aspects of EF, behavior, and social skills in children with FASD. Twenty-five children aged 8-12 years diagnosed with an FASD were assigned in alternating sequence to either an immediate treatment (TXT) or a delayed treatment control (DTC) group. Both groups received a comprehensive evaluation of EF at baseline and upon completing therapy (TXT), or after a 12- to 14-week interval from baseline (DTC). Parents also completed questionnaires assessing EF and behavior at both time points. For the TXT group only, parent questionnaires were readministered at 6-month follow-up. At the 12-week follow-up, the TXT group displayed significant improvements in inhibitory control and social cognition. Parents of children in the TXT group reported improved behavioral and emotional regulation, as well as reduced externalizing behavior problems. These behavioral improvements along with further improved parent-rated inhibitory control was maintained at the 6-month follow-up. The EF disabilities in children with FASD can be remediated through a targeted treatment approach aimed at facilitating self-regulation skills.
Zamroziewicz, Marta K.; Paul, Erick J.; Rubin, Rachael D.; Barbey, Aron K.
Introduction: Although diet has a substantial influence on the aging brain, the relationship between biomarkers of diet and aspects of brain health remains unclear. This study examines the neural mechanisms that mediate the relationship between omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (O3PUFAs) and executive functions in at-risk (APOE e4 carriers), cognitively intact older adults. We hypothesized that higher levels of O3PUFAs are associated with better performance in a particular component of the executive functions, namely cognitive flexibility, and that this relationship is mediated by gray matter volume of a specific region thought to be important for cognitive flexibility, the anterior cingulate cortex. Methods: We examined 40 cognitively intact adults between the ages of 65 and 75 with the APOE e4 polymorphism to investigate the relationship between biomarkers of O3PUFAs, tests of cognitive flexibility (measured by the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System Trail Making Test), and gray matter volume within regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). Results: A mediation analysis revealed that gray matter volume within the left rostral anterior cingulate cortex partially mediates the relationship between O3PUFA biomarkers and cognitive flexibility. Conclusion: These results suggest that the anterior cingulate cortex acts as a mediator of the relationship between O3PUFAs and cognitive flexibility in cognitively intact adults thought to be at risk for cognitive decline. Through their link to executive functions and neuronal measures of PFC volume, O3PUFAs show potential as a nutritional therapy to prevent dysfunction in the aging brain. PMID:26052283
Pieper, Joy Rickman; Laugero, Kevin D
Decreased executive function (EF) has been linked to unhealthy eating behaviors and obesity in older children and adults, however little is known about this relationship in young children. One possible reason for this association is that individuals with degraded EF are more vulnerable to emotional-based overeating. Emotional eating may thus be more likely to occur in persons with lower self-control or ability to regulate emotions. A pilot project in a research-based preschool was conducted to examine the relationships between executive function, emotional arousal and eating in the absence of hunger (EAH) in 3-6year-old children. Executive function was measured through child-completed tasks, parent questionnaires, and standardized teacher reports. Emotional arousal was measured via skin conductance. Children who had lower cognitive development scores as indicated by teacher reports had higher EAH. Increased emotional arousal was associated with increased EAH, but only in a subgroup of children who had a lower capacity for emotional regulation as suggested by lower delay of gratification scores, lower effortful control (parent questionnaire), and overall lower teacher-reported cognitive development. Further studies are necessary to determine whether interventions to improve executive function and emotional regulation in young children may also have the benefit of improving eating behaviors and decreasing risk of obesity in the long run.
Baez, Sandra; Marengo, Juan; Perez, Ana; Huepe, David; Font, Fernanda Giralt; Rial, Veronica; Gonzalez-Gadea, María Luz; Manes, Facundo; Ibanez, Agustin
Impaired social cognition has been claimed to be a mechanism underlying the development and maintenance of borderline personality disorder (BPD). One important aspect of social cognition is the theory of mind (ToM), a complex skill that seems to be influenced by more basic processes, such as executive functions (EF) and emotion recognition. Previous ToM studies in BPD have yielded inconsistent results. This study assessed the performance of BPD adults on ToM, emotion recognition, and EF tasks. We also examined whether EF and emotion recognition could predict the performance on ToM tasks. We evaluated 15 adults with BPD and 15 matched healthy controls using different tasks of EF, emotion recognition, and ToM. The results showed that BPD adults exhibited deficits in the three domains, which seem to be task-dependent. Furthermore, we found that EF and emotion recognition predicted the performance on ToM. Our results suggest that tasks that involve real-life social scenarios and contextual cues are more sensitive to detect ToM and emotion recognition deficits in BPD individuals. Our findings also indicate that (a) ToM variability in BPD is partially explained by individual differences on EF and emotion recognition; and (b) ToM deficits of BPD patients are partially explained by the capacity to integrate cues from face, prosody, gesture, and social context to identify the emotions and others' beliefs.
Hudec, Kristen L; Alderson, R Matt; Patros, Connor H G; Lea, Sarah E; Tarle, Stephanie J; Kasper, Lisa J
Motor activity of boys (age 8-12 years) with (n=19) and without (n=18) ADHD was objectively measured with actigraphy across experimental conditions that varied with regard to demands on executive functions. Activity exhibited during two n-back (1-back, 2-back) working memory tasks was compared to activity during a choice-reaction time (CRT) task that placed relatively fewer demands on executive processes and during a simple reaction time (SRT) task that required mostly automatic processing with minimal executive demands. Results indicated that children in the ADHD group exhibited greater activity compared to children in the non-ADHD group. Further, both groups exhibited the greatest activity during conditions with high working memory demands, followed by the reaction time and control task conditions, respectively. The findings indicate that large-magnitude increases in motor activity are predominantly associated with increased demands on working memory, though demands on non-executive processes are sufficient to elicit small to moderate increases in motor activity as well.
Wu, Yan Jing
Mastering two languages has been associated with enhancement in human executive control, but previous studies of this phenomenon have exclusively relied on comparisons between bilingual and monolingual individuals. In the present study, we tested a single group of Welsh–English bilinguals engaged in a nonverbal conflict resolution task and manipulated language context by intermittently presenting words in Welsh, English, or both languages. Surprisingly, participants showed enhanced executive capacity to resolve interference when exposed to a mixed compared with a single language context, even though they ignored the irrelevant contextual words. This result was supported by greater response accuracy and reduced amplitude of the P300, an electrophysiological correlate of cognitive interference. Our findings introduce a new level of plasticity in bilingual executive control dependent on fast changing language context rather than long-term language experience. PMID:23946411
Bialystok, Ellen; Feng, Xiaojia
Two studies are reported in which monolingual and bilingual children (Study 1) and adults (Study 2) completed a memory task involving proactive interference. In both cases, the bilinguals attained lower scores on a vocabulary test than monolinguals but performed the same on the proactive interference task. For the children, bilinguals made fewer intrusions from previous lists even though they recalled the same number of words. For the adults, bilinguals recalled more words than monolinguals when the scores were corrected for differences in vocabulary. In addition, there was a strong effect of vocabulary in which higher vocabulary participants recalled more words irrespective of language group. These results point to the important role of vocabulary in verbal performance and memory. They also suggest that bilinguals may compensate for weaker language proficiency with their greater executive control to achieve the same or better levels of performance as monolinguals. PMID:18834625
Bialystok, Ellen; Feng, Xiaojia
Two studies are reported in which monolingual and bilingual children (Study 1) and adults (Study 2) completed a memory task involving proactive interference. In both cases, the bilinguals attained lower scores on a vocabulary test than monolinguals but performed the same on the proactive interference task. For the children, bilinguals made fewer intrusions from previous lists even though they recalled the same number of words. For the adults, bilinguals recalled more words than monolinguals when the scores were corrected for differences in vocabulary. In addition, there was a strong effect of vocabulary in which higher vocabulary participants recalled more words irrespective of language group. These results point to the important role of vocabulary in verbal performance and memory. They also suggest that bilinguals may compensate for weaker language proficiency with their greater executive control to achieve the same or better levels of performance as monolinguals.
Enriquez-Geppert, Stefanie; Huster, René J; Herrmann, Christoph S
Cognitive enhancement is a popular topic, attracting attention both from the general public and the scientific research community. Higher cognitive functions are involved in various aspects of everyday life and have been associated with manifest behavioral and psychiatric mental impairments when deteriorated. The improvement of these so-called executive functions (EFs) is of high individual, social, and economic relevances. This review provides a synopsis of two lines of research, investigating the enhancement of capabilities in executive functioning: a) computerized behavioral trainings, and b) approaches for direct neuromodulation (neurofeedback and transcranial electrostimulation). Task switching, memory updating, response inhibition, and dual task performance are addressed in terms of cognitive functions. It has been shown that behavioral cognitive training leads to enhanced performance in task switching, memory updating, and dual tasks. Similarly, direct neurocognitive modulation of brain regions that are crucially involved in specific EFs also leads to behavioral benefits in response inhibition, task switching, and memory updating. Response inhibition performance has been shown to be improved by neurostimulation of the right inferior frontal cortex, whereas neurostimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex exerts effects on task switching and memory updating. Due to a lack of consistency in experimental methods and findings, a comparison of different training approaches concerning their effectiveness is not yet possible. So far, current data suggest that training gains may indeed generalize to untrained tasks aiming at the same cognitive process, as well as across cognitive domains within executive control.