Executive Functioning

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Executive Functioning
Executive function is the ability to use thought flexibly to guide actions (Doebel & Zelazo, 2013). It is the process that serves to monitor and control thoughts and actions, including attention regulation and response inhibition (Carlson, Davis, & Leach, 2005). Executive function develops early in childhood and changes in ability between the ages of three and five years (Doebel & Zelazo, 2013). Inhibitory control, a key component of executive function, is the capacity to inhibit thought processes or actions that are not relevant to the goal (Carlson, Davis, & Leach, 2005). The dimensional change card sort measures executive functioning in children (Zelazo, 2006).
In the standard version of the dimensional change card sort, children are shown two target cards and are asked to sort a series of bivalent test cards according to one dimension (Zelazo, 2006). Then during the post-switch phase, the children are told to sort the same type of test cards according to another dimension (Zelazo, 2006). The majority of three year olds perseverate during the post-switch phase by continuing to sort the test cards by the first dimension that was used in the pre-switch phase (Zelazo, 2006). By the age of five, the majority of the children are able to switch immediately between dimensions when told to do so (Zelazo, 2006). Variations of the standard version of the dimensional change card sort were used to study if they effects shown any improvements in the executive functioning of the younger children.
In one study conducted by Doebel and Zelazo (2013), the experimenter labeled the relevant dimension on the test card. The children were more likely to perform correctly on the post-switch phase (Doebel & Zelazo, 201...

... middle of paper ... an effect on the children’s performance. Also, most of the children had already participated in the same stud with previous researchers. To further this study, researchers could experiment with children who were not familiar with the dimensional card sorting task and had an equal sample size across gender.

Works Cited

Carlson, S. M., Davis, A. C., & Leach, J. G. (2005). Less is more: Executive function and symbolic representation in preschool children. Psychological Science, 16, 609 - 616.
Doebel, S., & Zelazo, P. D. (2013). Bottom-up and top-down dynamics in young children’s executive function: Labels aid 3-year-olds’ performance on the dimensional change card sort. Cognitive Development, 28, 222 - 232.
Zelazo, P. D. (2006). The dimensional change card sort (dccs): A method of assessing executive function in children. Nature Protocols, 1, 297 - 301.
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