Executive functioning in preschool children: Performance on A-not-B and other delayed response format tasks

Kimberly Andrews Espy, Paul M. Kaufmann, Melanie D. McDiarmid, Martha L. Glisky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Scopus citations

Abstract

The A-not-B (AB) task has been hypothesized to measure executive/frontal lobe function; however, the developmental and measurement characteristics of this task have not been investigated. Performance on AB and comparison tasks adapted from developmental and neuroscience literature was examined in 117 preschool children (ages 23-66 months). Age significantly predicted performance on AB, Delayed Alternation, Spatial Reversal, Color Reversal, and Self-Control tasks. A four-factor analytic model best fit task performance data. AB task indices loaded on two factors with measures from the Self- Control and Delayed Alternation tasks, respectively. AB indices did not load with those from the reversal tasks despite similar/ties in task administration and presumed cognitive demand (working memory). These results indicate that AB is sensitive to individual differences in age-related performance in preschool children and suggest that AB performance is related to both working memory and inhibition processes in this age range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-199
Number of pages22
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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