Executive functions and impulsivity are dimensions of self-regulation that are both related to psychopathology. However, self-report measures of impulsivity and laboratory EF tasks typically display small correlations, and existing research indicates that impulsivity and EFs may tap separate aspects of self-regulation that independently statistically predict psychopathology in adulthood. However, relationships between EFs, impulsivity, and psychopathology may be different in childhood compared to adulthood. Here, we examine whether these patterns hold in the baseline assessment of the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (...) sample, a national sample of over 11,000 children ages 9–10 years. We examine the phenotypic and genetic relationships among latent variables for different components of EFs and multiple facets of impulsivity. Additionally, we assess how EFs and impulsivity relate to composite measures and latent variables of psychopathology derived from parent report. EFs were weakly correlated with impulsivity, and the strength varied by impulsivity facet, emphasizing their separability. We did not identify significant genetic and environmental correlations between EFs and impulsivity. Moreover, controlling for their small relationships with each other, both EFs and some facets of impulsivity statistically predicted an Externalizing factor, attention problems, and social problems, and twin analyses suggested these relationships were genetic in origin. These findings indicate that EFs and impulsivity represent phenotypically and genetically separable aspects of self-regulation that are both transdiagnostic correlates of psychopathology in childhood. (shrink)
Both unipolar and bipolar depression have been linked with impairments in executive functioning. In particular, mood symptom severity is associated with differences in common EF, a latent measure of general EF abilities. The relationship between mood disorders and EF is particularly salient in adolescence and young adulthood when the ongoing development of EF intersects with a higher risk of mood disorder onset. However, it remains unclear if common EF impairments have associations with specific symptom dimensions of mood pathology such as (...) blunted positive affect, mood instability, or physiological arousal, or if differences in common EF more broadly relate to what is shared across various symptom domains, such as general negative affect or distress. To address this question, bifactor models can be applied to simultaneously examine the shared and unique contributions of particular mood symptom dimensions. However, no studies to our knowledge have examined bifactor models of mood symptoms in relation to measures of common EF. This study examined associations between common EF and general vs. specific symptom dimensions using structural equation modeling in adolescents and young adults with varying severity of mood symptoms. A General Depression factor capturing shared variance across symptoms statistically predicted lower Common EF. Additionally, a factor specific to physiological arousal was associated with lower Common EF. Anhedonia-specific and Mania-specific factors were not significantly related to Common EF. Altogether, these results indicate that deficits in common EF are driven by, or reflect, general features of mood pathology that are shared across symptom dimensions but are also specifically associated with physiological arousal. (shrink)
Caplan & Waters's arguments for separate working memory subsystems for “interpretive” and “post-interpretive” comprehension processes do not have a solid empirical basis. The likely involvement of a separate phonological loop makes their memory-load data irrelevant to theory evaluation, and the lack of statistical power from nonoptimal experimental designs and analyses unfairly reduces the chances of detecting the relevant interactions.