John Libbey Eurotext

Revue de neuropsychologie


Executive functions in children: development, cultural influences and clinical perspectives Volume 9, issue 1, Janvier-Février-Mars 2017

1 Laboratoire de psychologie des Pays de la Loire,
Université Bretagne-Loire,
Université d’Angers,
11, boulevard Lavoisier, 49045 Angers,
2 Psychological Assessment Center,
Psychiatry Department,
American University of Beirut Medical Center,
Hamra, Beirut, Liban
3 CHU d’Angers,
Département de Neurologie,
Unité de neuropsychologie,
49100 Angers, France
4 CHU de Nantes,
Hôpital Femme-Enfant-Adolescent,
Centre référent des troubles d’apprentissage et Centre de compétence nantais de neurofibromatose,
44000 Nantes, France
* Correspondance
  • Key words: executive functions, development, culture, sociodemographic variables
  • DOI : 10.1684/nrp.2017.0405
  • Page(s) : 27-34
  • Published in: 2017

Since the emerging evidence of the role of Executive Functions (EFs) on children's cognitive, academic and psychosocial functioning, EFs have generated growing interest in the field of child neuropsychology. Studies of EF among children are relatively new and limited theoretical frameworks of EF in children are available to date. Diamond (2013) presents a competing model supporting a multicomponent structure of EF in the first years of life. Diamond (2013) supports a non-linear non-synchronous progression of core EF. However, neither Diamond's model, nor other models available to date, take into consideration the potential influence of one's environment on EF development, even though recent studies suggest that the developmental curve of EF is subject to be influenced by culture and sociodemographic variables. Lack of appropriate cultural norms poses a challenge to the assessment of EFs across cultures and increases the likelihood of diagnostic errors due to cultural biases. This paper will elaborate on recent knowledge on the development of EF in children. In a second section, an overview of existing studies discussing potential influences of cultural and sociodemographic variables such as gender, language proficiency, type of education, parent's education level, and culture, will be presented. In a third and last part, guidelines on how to improve clinical evaluation of EF among children from different cultures will be discussed.