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ERIC Number: EJ1088673
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Stability and Change in Executive Function Abilities from Late Adolescence to Early Adulthood: A Longitudinal Twin Study
Friedman, Naomi P.; Miyake, Akira; Altamirano, Lee J.; Corley, Robin P.; Young, Susan E.; Rhea, Sally Ann; Hewitt, John K.
Developmental Psychology, v52 n2 p326-340 Feb 2016
Executive functions (EFs)--the higher level cognitive abilities that enable us to control our own thoughts and actions--continue to develop into early adulthood, yet no longitudinal study has examined their stability during the important life transition from late adolescence to young adulthood. In this twin study (total N = 840 individuals from 424 families), we examined the stability of individual differences in 3 EF components across a 6-year period, from approximately age 17 years (Wave 1) to 23 years (Wave 2). Specifically, we address the following questions: (a) How stable are individual differences in multiple EFs across this time period? and (b) What (genetic and/or environmental) influences affect stability and change in EFs? Results indicated that individual differences in EFs are quite stable across this 6-year period (phenotypic latent variable correlations ranged from 0.86 to 1.0). However, there was evidence for change, particularly in the factor common to multiple EFs (Common EF). Multivariate twin models suggested that stability was due almost entirely to high genetic correlations across time; there was no new genetic variance at Wave 2. Change in Common EF was due to small but significant nonshared environmental influences at Wave 2 (15%). The results suggest that individual differences in EFs are quite heritable and stable by late adolescence, yet are still sensitive to environmental influences.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Colorado
Grant or Contract Numbers: MH063207; AG046938