Article (Scientific journals)
The Relation Between Executive Functions and Math Intelligence in Preschool Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Emslander, Valentin; Scherer, Ronny
2022In Psychological Bulletin, 148 (5-6), p. 337-369
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Keywords :
cognitive skills; executive functions; mathematics; meta-analysis; pre-school children
Abstract :
[en] Executive functions (EFs) are key skills underlying other cognitive skills that are relevant to learning and everyday life. Although a plethora of evidence suggests a positive relation between the three EF subdimensions inhibition, shifting, and updating, and math skills for schoolchildren and adults, the findings on the magnitude of and possible variations in this relation are inconclusive for preschool children and several narrow math skills (i.e., math intelligence). Therefore, the present meta-analysis aimed to (a) synthesize the relation between EFs and math intelligence (an aggregate of math skills) in preschool children; (b) examine which study, sample, and measurement characteristics moderate this relation; and (c) test the joint effects of EFs on math intelligence. Utilizing data extracted from 47 studies (363 effect sizes, 30,481 participants) from 2000 to 2021, we found that, overall, EFs are significantly related to math intelligence (r = .34, 95% CI [.31, .37]), as are inhibition (r = .30, 95% CI [.25, .35]), shifting (r = .32, 95% CI [.25, .38]), and updating (r = .36, 95% CI [.31, .40]). Key measurement characteristics of EFs, but neither children’s age nor gender, moderated this relation. These findings suggest a positive link between EFs and math intelligence in preschool children and emphasize the importance of measurement characteristics. We further examined the joint relations between EFs and math intelligence via meta-analytic structural equation modeling. Evaluating different models and representations of EFs, we did not find support for the expectation that the three EF subdimensions are differentially related to math intelligence.
Research center :
- Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET)
Disciplines :
Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Education & instruction
Author, co-author :
Emslander, Valentin  ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > LUCET
Scherer, Ronny;  Centre for Educational Measurement at the University of Oslos (CEMO), University of Oslo, Norway > Faculty of Educational Sciences
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
The Relation Between Executive Functions and Math Intelligence in Preschool Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Publication date :
Journal title :
Psychological Bulletin
Publisher :
American Psychological Association, United States - District of Columbia
Volume :
Issue :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Focus Area :
Educational Sciences
Funders :
Forskningsrådet [NO]
Division of Educational Psychology of the German Psychological Society (DGPs)
Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Luxembourg
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since 31 August 2022


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