Executive functions their role in developmental psychopathology.
In this paper, we consider the domain of executive functions (EFs) and their possible role in developmental psychopathologies.
We first consider general theoretical and measurement issues involved in studying EFs and then review studies of EFs in four developmental psychopathologies: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (CD), autism, and Tourette syndrome (TS).
Our review reveals that EF deficits are consistently found in both ADHD and autism but not in CD (without ADHD) or in TS.
Moreover, both the severity and profile of EF deficits appears to differ across ADHD and autism. Molar EF deficits are more severe in the latter than the former. In the few studies of more specific EF tasks, there are impairments in motor inhibition in ADHD but not in autism, whereas there are impairments in verbal working memory in autism but not ADHD. We close with a discussion of implications for future research.
J Child Psychol Psychiatry 1996 Jan;37(1):51-87
Pennington BF, Ozonoff S
Department of Psychology, University of Denver, CO 80208, USA.