Neue Veröffentlichung in Psychological Research

In der Zeitschrift Psychological Research ist ein neuer Artikel aus der Arbeitsgruppe erschienen:

Löffler, C., Frischkorn, G. T., Hagemann, D., Sadus, K., & Schubert, A.-L. (2024). The common factor of executive functions measures nothing but speed of information uptake. Psychological Research.

Abstract: There is an ongoing debate about the unity and diversity of executive functions and their relationship with other cognitive abilities such as processing speed, working memory capacity, and intelligence. Specifically, the initially proposed unity and diversity of executive functions is challenged by discussions about (1) the factorial structure of executive functions and (2) unfavorable psychometric properties of measures of executive functions. The present study addressed two methodological limitations of previous work that may explain conflicting results: The inconsistent use of (a) accuracy-based vs. reaction time-based indicators and (b) average performance vs. difference scores. In a sample of 148 participants who completed a battery of executive function tasks, we tried to replicate the three-factor model of the three commonly distinguished executive functions shifting, updating, and inhibition by adopting data-analytical choices of previous work. After addressing the identified methodological limitations using drift–diffusion modeling, we only found one common factor of executive functions that was fully accounted for by individual differences in the speed of information uptake. No variance specific to executive functions remained. Our results suggest that individual differences common to all executive function tasks measure nothing more than individual differences in the speed of information uptake. We therefore suggest refraining from using typical executive function tasks to study substantial research questions, as these tasks are not valid for measuring individual differences in executive functions.

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