CitationWray, Charlotte; Kowalski, Alysse; Mpondo, Feziwe; Ochaeta, Laura; Belleza, Delia; DiGirolamo, Ann; Waford, Rachel; Richter, Linda; Lee, Nanette; & Scerif, Gaia, et al. (2020). Executive functions form a single construct and are associated with schooling: Evidence from three low- and middle- income countries. PLoS ONE, 15(11), e0242936. PMCID: PMC7703971
AbstractMeasuring executive function (EF) among adults is important, as the cognitive processes involved in EF are critical to academic achievement, job success and mental health. Current evidence on measurement and structure of EF largely come from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) countries. However, measuring EF in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) is challenging, because of the dearth of EF measures validated across LMICs, particularly measures that do not require extensive training, expensive equipment, or professional administration. This paper uses data from three LMIC cohorts to test the feasibility, validity and reliability of EF assessment in adults using three sub-tests (representing key components of EF) of the NIH Toolbox Cognitive battery. For each cohort, all three EF measures (inhibition, flexibility and working memory) loaded well onto a unidimensional latent factor of EF. Factor scores related well to measures of fluid intelligence, processing speed and schooling. All measures showed good test-retest reliability across countries. This study provides evidence for a set of sound measures of EF that could be used across different cultural, language and socio-economic backgrounds in future LMIC research. Furthermore, our findings extend conclusions on the structure of EF beyond those drawn from WEIRD countries.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePLoS ONE
Stein, Aryeh D.