Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Effective functions in different cultures

Researchers have developed studies that aim to evaluate a range of mental behaviours and abilities under different cultures in preschoolers.
Effective functions in different cultures
Executive functions (EFs) are a set of mental skills that control higher-level behaviour such as emotional responses and cognitive control in general. Despite the importance of EFs in understanding human behaviour, little is known about EF development among children in different cultural contexts.

The EU-funded PREF (Preschool executive functions across cultural contexts) initiative studied the differences of EFs in three cultural settings. The researchers aimed to investigate the contribution of socio-cultural and biomedical factors in shaping these abilities.

In one of two studies, the researchers studied EFs in Indonesia, Kenya and the United Kingdom. PREF used a three-staged approach that combines cultural study with standard psychometric procedures.

In a second study, the researchers want to examine factors associated with EFs in the three countries. In each of the countries, PREF plan to test 100 children aged 48-60 months using the instruments developed in the first study.

So far for the first study, PREF has identified, adapted and translated measures for evaluating EFs among preschoolers across different cultural contexts. For the second study, researchers have collected data from 180 children on EFs, IQ, socioeconomic status, parenting behaviour and nutritional status.

Results from this initiative will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms that underlie developmental disorders, as well as help with diagnosis and developing interventions.

Related information


Executive functions, pre-schoolers, cognitive control, cultural contexts, PREF
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