Marta Schweiger Gian Marco Marzocchi

The development of Executive Function: a study in children from 3rd to 8th grade

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Summary. Executive Function (EF) during childhood and early adolescence was considered in order to investigate: A) age effects on EF, B) main components of EF, C) relationship between different assessment tools. An Everyday Planning test and a Sentences Alternative Completion test were administered to 125 children from 3rd to 8th grade; their teachers completed a questionnaire about EF behaviors. Test results indicate that the major gain in planning ability is between 4th and 5th grade; at 3rd grade inhibition has already developed while there is a gradual improvement in flexibility and strategic behaviour from 3rd to 8th grade. Factor analysis on questionnaire scores reveals a three factor solution including: 1) Impulse control, 2) Metacognition, 3) Flexibility. An interesting pattern of correlation is found among performance-based tests and teacher's evaluation. The findings are discussed referring to current theories and previous experimental studies about the development of EF.


  • Executive function
  • developmental neuropsychology
  • planning
  • cognitive
  • strategies
  • behavior rating


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