Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Cynthia Cimino

Keywords

electrophysiology, inhibition, neuropsychology, set-shifting, updating

Abstract

The nature and assessment of executive function are areas of active research. Many current assessments of executive function are complex, have limited reliability and validity, and suffer from task impurity, meaning other cognitive processes may indirectly influence task performance. Additionally, measures may be culture, language, or education bound limiting their use in certain populations (Miyake, Emerson, & Friedman, 2000; Miyake, Friedman, et al., 2000; Strauss, Sherman, & Spreen, 2006; Stuss, 2007). The purpose of this project was to develop a novel set of executive function measures to address issues with current clinical measures. The new measures 1) can be used in an ERP environment, 2) use the same stimulus set to address task impurity and 3) use simpler cognitive operations of inhibition, set-shifting, and updating, identified in previous research by Miyake et al., (2000). Twenty-nine undergraduate participants at the University of South Florida were administered currently used clinical measures of executive function theorized to engage in inhibition, set-shifting, and updating and the set of the novel tasks. ERP data was collected during the administration of the novel tasks. Behaviorally, conditions theorized to engage executive function resulted in slower response reaction time than control conditions. Additionally, behavioral results indicated that performance on novel tasks were differentially related to different clinical EF tasks. ERP differences were observed between both Go/No-Go conditions (inhibition) and among N-back conditions (updating). Results suggest the novel executive function tasks are tapping into different cognitive processes and may be a viable tool for studying executive function in the future.

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Psychology Commons

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