II. NIH TOOLBOX COGNITION BATTERY (CB): MEASURING EXECUTIVE FUNCTION AND ATTENTION

Authors

  • Philip David Zelazo,

  • Jacob E. Anderson,

  • Jennifer Richler,

  • Kathleen Wallner-Allen,

  • Jennifer L. Beaumont,

  • Sandra Weintraub


Corresponding author: Philip David Zelazo, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, 51 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0345, email: zelazo@umn.edu

ABSTRACT

In this chapter, we discuss two measures designed to assess executive function (EF) as part of the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (CB) and report pediatric data from the validation study. EF refers to the goal-directed cognitive control of thought, action, and emotion. Two measures were adapted for standardized computer administration: the Dimensional Change Card Sort (a measure of cognitive flexibility) and a flanker task (a measure of inhibitory control in the context of selective visual attention). Results reveal excellent developmental sensitivity across childhood, excellent reliability, and (in most cases) excellent convergent validity. Correlations between the new NIH Toolbox measures and age were higher for younger children (3–6 years) than for older children (8–15 years), and evidence of increasing differentiation of EF from other aspects of cognition (indexed by receptive vocabulary) was obtained.

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