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The Development of Executive Function in Early Childhood. Edition No. 1. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development

  • ID: 2249805
  • Book
  • April 2000
  • 168 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
This monograph concerns the psychological processes underlying the development of executive function, or the conscious control of thought and action. It has long been clear that these processes change considerably in early childhood, transforming a relatively stimulus-driven toddler into a child capable of flexible, goal-directed problem solving. However, the nature of these processes has remained elusive. In a programmatic series of 9 experiments, the authors examine circumstances that help or hinder executive function in 3- to 4-year-old children. The results provide the basis for a revision of their Cognitive Complexity and Control (CCC-r) theory, according to which there are age-related increases in the complexity of the rules that children can formulate and use when solving problems. The revised theory (a) specifies more clearly the circumstances in which children will have difficulty using rules at various levels of complexity, (b) provides a more detailed account of how to determine the complexity of rules required in a task, (c) takes account of both the activation and inhibition of rules as a function of experience, and (d) highlights the importance of considering intentionality in the study of executive function.
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1. The Development of Executive Function.

2. Study 1: Memory and Executive Function.

3. Study 2: Rule Complexity and Stimulus Characteristics in Executive Function.

4. Study 3: What Do Children Perseverate on When They Perseverate.

5. Study 4: Negative Priming and Executive Function.

6. The Development of Executive Function: Cognitive Complexity and Control-Revised.

7. Appendix: Summary of Versions of the Dimensional Change Card Sort Used.

II. Commentary.

8. Executive Function in Context: Development, Measurement, Theory, and Experience: Stephanie M. Carlson (University of Washington).


Statement of Editorial Policy

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Ulrich Muller Pennsylvania State University.

Douglas Frye University of Pennsylvania.

Philip David Zelazo University of Toronto.

Stuart Marcovitch New York State Institute for Basin Research.
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