Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - PREF (PRESCHOOL EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS ACROSS CULTURAL CONTEXTS)

Executive functioning (EF) refers to a set of cognitive skills (working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility) that control self-regulation functions. These organize and direct all cognitive activities, emotional responses and overt behavior. These skills are crucial for the day-to-day functioning of children and play a fundamental role in their cognitive and socio-emotional functioning. Difficulties with EF are also central to the profiles of developmental disorders like ADHD and Autism. Happily, EF skills can be improved with intervention. This means that understanding the structure and processes underlying EF development in various cultural settings may contribute to diagnosis, and understanding of the mechanisms that underlie developmental disorders, as well as to developing interventions. Despite the importance of EF little is known about EF development among children in different cultural contexts.

The aims of the current study are two-fold. Study 1: (a) to validate the EF constructs in three cultural settings (the UK, Kenya and Indonesia); (b) to improve the way in which we measure EF. Validity refers to how much an assessment is relevant to and representative of what it aims to measure.
Study 2: To describe the structure of EF and to identify which biological and social factors affect EF skills.
Study 1: we carried out to set of activities to check whether our EF measures worked across cultures. We used a variety of methods, including literature review, in-depth interviews with parents, observation and direct testing of children. During this phase we were able to identify, adapt and translate measures for evaluating EF among preschoolers across different cultural context. Data analysis and manuscript preparation from the qualitative dataset are ongoing.

Study 2: We have collected data from 180 children on EF functioning, IQ, parental SES, parenting behavior, and nutritional status among children from Kenya, UK and Indonesia. The current project will provide more deep knowledge on specific cognitive functions across cultural contexts.

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Reported by

LANCASTER UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
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