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Preschool Executive Functions in the Context of Risk

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Megan McClelland, Ph.D., Oregon State University

Executive functions lay the foundation for strong self-regulation, which is important for a range of children’s outcomes. This paper examines the components of executive function (including aspects of attention, working memory and inhibitory control) that are especially relevant for school success, and the predictability of these skills for academic achievement from childhood to early adulthood. Research is reviewed highlighting how growing up in the context of risk can impede the development of executive functions. Results from recent studies are also presented demonstrating the compensatory effects of strong executive functions for children experiencing early family risk.

McClelland Presentation Slides (PDF - 250 KB)

Biosketch for Megan McClelland, Ph.D.

Dr. Megan McClelland is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University. She serves as Graduate Program Director and Director of the Early Childhood Research Core at the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Her research focuses on links between self-regulation and academic achievement from early childhood to adulthood, recent advances in measuring self-regulation, and efforts to improve these skills in young children. Dr. McClelland is Associate Editor of Early Education and Development and a Consulting Editor for Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

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Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 11/30/2012
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