This article provides a selective review of the literature on executive function development and related topics, focusing on the conceptual and terminological confusions that might hinder communication among researchers in the field. The distinctions between working memory and updating, and between shifting and flexibility, are discussed. Methodological problems, which have implications regarding whether a certain task can be considered a measure of a psychological construct, are also discussed. Research on preschoolers is examined with particular attention because it is a rapidly growing but controversial field that seems in particular need of greater conceptual clarity. As a specific touchstone case, we discuss whether the Multidimensional Card Selection Task (MCST) created by Podjarny, Kamawar, and Andrews (2017) should better be considered a measure of concurrent cognitive flexibility or working memory capacity. It is argued that connecting tasks to theoretical constructs is not warranted unless based on rigorous empirical testing of well-formulated models.

Which tasks measure what? Reflections on executive function development and a commentary on Podjarny, Kamawar, and Andrews (2017)

Sergio Morra;Sabrina Panesi;Laura Traverso;Maria Carmen Usai
2018

Abstract

This article provides a selective review of the literature on executive function development and related topics, focusing on the conceptual and terminological confusions that might hinder communication among researchers in the field. The distinctions between working memory and updating, and between shifting and flexibility, are discussed. Methodological problems, which have implications regarding whether a certain task can be considered a measure of a psychological construct, are also discussed. Research on preschoolers is examined with particular attention because it is a rapidly growing but controversial field that seems in particular need of greater conceptual clarity. As a specific touchstone case, we discuss whether the Multidimensional Card Selection Task (MCST) created by Podjarny, Kamawar, and Andrews (2017) should better be considered a measure of concurrent cognitive flexibility or working memory capacity. It is argued that connecting tasks to theoretical constructs is not warranted unless based on rigorous empirical testing of well-formulated models.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11567/890703
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