This talk addressed three issues pertinent to the development of executive function (EF) in early childhood. First, individual EF tasks differ greatly in their precision of measurement. Pooling information across tasks provides a better estimate of true ability level. Second, tests of between and within (longitudinal) group differences in EF ability presume that measurement invariance of tasks has been established. Third, focusing on age-graded improvements in EF ability across early childhood masks inter-individual differences in intra-individual change.
Willoughby Presentation Slides (PDF - 516 KB)
Dr. Michael Willoughby received a Ph.D. in developmental psychology with a secondary emphasis in quantitative methodology. He serves as a Scientist and Director of Statistics within the Data Management and Analysis Core of the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His substantive research interests focus on the development of self-regulation in early childhood, especially how the failure to acquire self-regulatory abilities leads to disruptive behavior disorders, especially ADHD. He is interested in the application of advanced statistical methods, especially Structural Equation Modeling techniques, to address developmental questions.
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