As a culturally universal set of cognitive skills that promote goal-directed behaviors, executive functions (EFs) support milestones of early childhood development, such as learning and forming social relationships. A growing base of evidence shows commonality around the world in EFs’ validity, biological basis, and family predictors. But we need more research to understand more fully how to promote the development of EF skills in young children from low- and middle-income countries. In this article, we highlight recent studies on EFs in those countries and propose directions for research on measurement, contextual influences, and interventions. The global health community needs an index of how early life experiences affect child development beyond measures of physical growth, and the global education community needs an instrument to screen children for school readiness beyond measures of preacademic skills. Assessments of EF can address these needs. Research on emergent EFs in low- and middle-income countries can also support the design and evaluation of multisector programs and policies.
Studying executive function skills in young children in low- and middle-income countries: Progress and directions
Year of Publication:2020
Publication:Child Development Perspectives
(2020). Studying executive function skills in young children in low- and middle-income countries: Progress and directions. Child Development Perspectives, 13, 227-234.
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