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The ecological validity of tests of executive function

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 November 1998

PAUL W. BURGESS
Affiliation:
Psychology Department, University College London
NICK ALDERMAN
Affiliation:
Kemsley Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit, St. Andrew's Hospital, Northampton, U.K.
JON EVANS
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, U.K. Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Trust, Ely, U.K.
HAZEL EMSLIE
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, U.K. Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Trust, Ely, U.K.
BARBARA A. WILSON
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit, Cambridge, U.K.

Abstract

Ninety-two mixed etiology neurological patients and 216 control participants were assessed on a range of neuropsychological tests, including 10 neuropsychological measures of executive function derived from 6 different tests. People who knew the patients well (relatives or carers) completed a questionnaire about the patient's dysexecutive problems in everyday life, and this paper reports the extent to which the tests predicted the patients' everyday life problems. All of the tests were significantly predictive of at least some of the behavioral and cognitive deficits reported by patients' carers. However, factor analysis of the patients' dysexecutive symptoms suggested a fractionation of the dysexecutive syndrome, with neuropsychological tests loading differentially on 3 underlying cognitive factors (Inhibition, Intentionality, and Executive Memory), supporting the conclusions that different tests measure different cognitive processes, and that there may be limits to the fractionation of the executive system. (JINS, 1998, 4, 547–558.)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1998 The International Neuropsychological Society

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