Executive function in preschoolers: a review using an integrative framework.
During the last 2 decades, major advances have been made in understanding the development of executive functions (EFs) in early childhood. This article reviews the EF literature during the preschool period using an integrative framework. The framework adopted considers EF to be a unitary construct with partially dissociable components (A. Miyake et al., 2000). The authors focus on 3 EF components: working memory, response inhibition, and shifting. For the present purposes, the central executive is conceived of as a central attention system that is involved in all EF component operations. Research to date suggests that elementary forms of the core EF components are present early during the preschool period. Changes in EF during the latter half of the preschool period appear to be due to the development of attention and integration of component EFs. Finally, the review outlines a number of areas that warrant further investigation if researchers are to move forward in understanding early EF development. Copyright (c) 2008 APA.