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Psicologia: teoria e prática

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DIAS, Natália Martins et al. Investigation of structure and composition of executive functions: analysis of theoretical models. Psicol. teor. prat. [online]. 2015, vol.17, n.2, pp. 140-152. ISSN 1516-3687.

Despite relative consensus on the existence of three basic executive functions (EF) (inhibition, working memory and cognitive flexibility) there is narrower knowledge on its organization and contribution to task solution. The study tested different theoretical models about the structure and composition of EF. The correlation matrix of Miyake et al. (2000), which evaluated university students in a set of 15 EF tasks, was adopted. Model 1 displays a general factor and specific components. In model 2, the basic components are grouped under a general EF component and, in model 3, the working memory and inhibition components are hierarchically more basic than flexibility. Model 2 showed a better fit to the data. A fourth latent variable was significant and contributed to two tasks. Our findings support a hierarchical model, i.e., a general EF factor and specific components. The comparison of models is a relevant strategy for their understanding in neuropsychology.

Keywords : cognition; psychological assessment; neuropsychology; latent variable; psychometrics.

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