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Training of executive functions and the development of intentional behavior in children

English title Training of executive functions and the development of intentional behavior in children
Applicant Kliegel Matthias
Number 152841
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Section de Psychologie Faculté Psychologie et Sciences éducation Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.10.2014 - 31.12.2017
Approved amount 258'307.00
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Keywords (4)

intentional behavior; executive functions; cognitive development; prospective memory

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Wie lernen Kinder, selbstständig für die Zukunft zu planen und sich daran zu erinnern, in der Zukunft Dinge zu erledigen; z.B. ein Haustier zu füttern oder eine von den Eltern unterschriebene Einverständniserklärung für den Schulausflug am nächsten Tag wieder bei der Lehrerin abzugeben? Dies sind zentrale Fragen, denen sich das vorliegende Forschungsprojekt widmet. Insbesondere soll untersucht werden, ob man diese Fähigkeiten bei Schulkindern trainieren kann.
Lay summary
In der Entwicklung hin zur Selbstständigkeit müssen Kinder viele Entwicklungsaufgaben meistern. Ein zentraler Aspekt ist hierbei, von den externen Kontrollen anderer mehr und mehr unabhängig zu werden und seinen Alltag selbst organisieren zu können. Eine der hierfür entscheidenden kognitiven Fähigkeiten ist das selbstständige Erinnern und Ausführen von Absichten und Vorsätzen in der Zukunft (z.B. daran zu denken, seine Sportsachen mit in die Schule zu nehmen). Die hierbei beteiligten psychologischen Prozesse nennt man das sogenannte „Prospektive Gedächtnis“, das Gedächtnis für die Zukunft. Während diese Erinnerungsform per se erst seit Kurzem Gegenstand der psychologischen Forschung ist, steckt die entwicklungspsychologische Perspektive dieses Alltagsphänomens noch gänzlich in den Kinderschuhen. Es ist daher das Ziel des vorliegenden Forschungsprojekts, die bislang vermuteten Entwicklungsprozesse experimentell zu untersuchen und zu klären, welche Gedächtnis- und Aufmerksamkeitskomponenten für ein funktionierendes Erinnern von Absichten bei Kindern zentral sind. Ein besonders innovativer Ansatz dieses Projektes ist, dass es diese Fragen aus einer Trainingsperspektive heraus betrachtet und somit auch die Frage nach der Trainierbarkeit des prospektiven Gedächtnisses im Kindesalter beantworten will.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 11.08.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Formal String Instrument Training in a Class Setting Enhances Cognitive and Sensorimotor Development of Primary School Children
James Clara E., Zuber Sascha, Dupuis-Lozeron Elise, Abdili Laura, Gervaise Diane, Kliegel Matthias (2020), Formal String Instrument Training in a Class Setting Enhances Cognitive and Sensorimotor Development of Primary School Children, in Frontiers in Neuroscience, 14, 1-16.
How executive functions are associated with event-based and time-based prospective memory during childhood
Zuber Sascha, Mahy C. E. V., Kliegel Matthias (2019), How executive functions are associated with event-based and time-based prospective memory during childhood, in Cognitive Development, 66-79.
Cognitive Training to Promote Executive Functions
Kliegel Matthias, Hering Alexandra, Ihle Andreas, Zuber Sascha (2017), Cognitive Training to Promote Executive Functions, in Wiebe S.A. & Karbach J. (ed.), Taylor & Francis, New York, 200-213.
The delay period as an opportunity to think about future intentions: Effects of delay length and delay task difficulty on young adult’s prospective memory performance
Mahy Caitlin E. V., Schnitzspahn Katharina, Hering Alexandra, Pagobo Jacqueline, Kliegel Matthias (2017), The delay period as an opportunity to think about future intentions: Effects of delay length and delay task difficulty on young adult’s prospective memory performance, in Psychological Research.
The Effect of Stereotype Threat on Age Differences in Prospective Memory Performance: Differential Effects on Focal Versus Nonfocal Tasks
Zuber Sascha, Ihle Andreas, Blum Anaëlle, Desrichard Olivier, Kliegel Matthias (2017), The Effect of Stereotype Threat on Age Differences in Prospective Memory Performance: Differential Effects on Focal Versus Nonfocal Tasks, in The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 097-097.
The effects of task instructor status on prospective memory performance in preschoolers
Zhang Xinyuan, Zuber Sascha, Liu Si, Kliegel Matthias, Wang Lijuan (2017), The effects of task instructor status on prospective memory performance in preschoolers, in EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, (1), 102-117.
Children's planning performance in the Zoo Map task (BADS-C): Is it driven by general cognitive ability, executive functioning, or prospection?
Ballhausen N., Mahy C. E., Hering A., Voigt B., Schnitzspahn K. M., Lagner P., Ihle A., Kliegel M. (2016), Children's planning performance in the Zoo Map task (BADS-C): Is it driven by general cognitive ability, executive functioning, or prospection?, in Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 138-144.
The Effects of Ongoing Task Absorption on Event-based Prospective Memory in Preschoolers
Zhang X., Ballhausen N., Liu S., Kliegel M., Wang L., The Effects of Ongoing Task Absorption on Event-based Prospective Memory in Preschoolers, in European Journal of Developmental Psychology.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. Katharina Schnitzspahn Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Lijuan Wang China (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Katharina Zinke Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Olivier Desrichard Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Clara James Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Caitlin Mahy Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Erika Borella Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
48th Annual Meeting of the Jean Piaget Society Talk given at a conference How the different facets of executive functioning contribute to focal, nonfocal, and time-based prospective memory during childhood 31.05.2018 Amsterdam, Netherlands Zuber Sascha;
21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics Poster How Stereotype-Threat Might Explain Stability and Deficits in Older Adults’ Prospective Memory 23.07.2017 San Francisco, United States of America Zuber Sascha;
International Workshop on Prospective Memory 2016 Poster How the different facets of executive functioning contribute to focal, nonfocal & time-based PM during childhood 13.07.2017 St. Légier, Switzerland Zuber Sascha;
4th International Conference of Aging & Cognition Poster Inter-individual differences in intra-individual change of Prospective Memory performance in old age: Which cognitive processes predict the development of PM over time 20.04.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Zuber Sascha;
Cognitive Aging Conference Poster Gains, Losses and Stability in Prospective Memory Functioning across Old Age: A longitudinal approach 14.04.2017 Atlanta, United States of America Zuber Sascha;
Geneva Aging Series 4 Poster The effect of stereotype threat on age differences in prospective memory performance 29.07.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Zuber Sascha;
3rd International Conference on Aging & Cognition Poster A differential view on focal versus nonfocal prospective memory 23.04.2015 Dortmund, Germany Zuber Sascha;


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Awards

Title Year
Vontobel Award for Research on Age(ing) 2016, Center of Gerontology, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Awarded for the study “The effect of stereotype threat on age differences in prospective memory performance: Differential effects on focal versus nonfocal tasks” 2016

Abstract

Over the course of child development, a key developmental task is to gain independence from caregivers. One set of cognitive processes that has been argued to be closely related to the development of independence in childhood constitutes the ability to remember to perform previously planned activities after a delay and without external guidance. The interplay of cognitive processes associated with this everyday challenge has been labelled prospective memory (PM; see, e.g., Brandimonte, Einstein, & McDaniel, 1996; Ellis & Kvavilashvili, 2000). In addition to the high prevalence of PM problems in everyday life (Kliegel & Martin, 2003), children’s level of PM functioning has implications for several domains of their development including academic achievements, social relations, and personal safety. Descriptively, PM has been reported to increase over the childhood years (Kliegel & Jäger, 2007; Kvavilashvili, et al., 2001; Mahy & Moses, 2011; Wang, et al., 2008; Zimmermann & Meier, 2006) but little is known about the mechanisms that drive its development. One likely mechanism is executive functioning (EF) defined as the abilities involved in the conscious control of one’s thoughts and actions (Zelazo, Carlson, & Kesek, 2008). Individual differences in EF have been found to correlate with PM in children (Ford, et al., 2012; Kerns, 2000; Mahy & Moses, 2011; Mackinlay, Kliegel, & Mäntylä, 2009). Further, studies have documented a similar developmental timetable of PM and EF that show marked increases in performance during the early childhood years (Guarjardo & Best, 2000; Carlson & Moses, 2001; Kliegel & Jäger, 2007; Mahy & Moses, 2011) and continue to relate to PM performance in adulthood (Kliegel, Mackinlay & Jäger, 2008; West & Craik, 1999).In this proposal, we suggest taking a novel approach to studying the role of EF in PM functioning in primary school-aged children. By directly training the executive processes assumed to underlie PM using established training procedures, we aim to test the hypothesis that executive functions are among key mechanisms in the development of PM in childhood. Our study will attempt to train three core facets of EF (according to Miyake, et al., 2000): working memory, inhibition, and set shifting and examine their relative impact on PM performance. In addition to comparing training conditions with an untrained control group we will include an active control group that will mimic the EF training conditions but will lack an executive component. This study will be the first to directly train executive processes in the context of PM development. In addition to providing experimental evidence on the conceptual question regarding the role of EF in PM functioning in children in general and the specific role of three main EF facets in particular, the proposed studies will offer insights on potential target processes for interventions in children that struggle with PM.
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