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A microworld simulation of dynamic cognition as a test of executive function

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 12:39 authored by Helen Hodgetts, Sonia Packwood, Francois Vachon, Sébastien Tremblay

 Introduction: The lack of consensus regarding the nature or composition of executive functioning (EF) has led to a proliferation of executive tasks to assess the concept. Many do agree however that the theoretical concept of EF is a holistic one, leading us to consider whether it would be beneficial to assess EF in a more holistic manner. We explore how well a computerized simulation of dynamic cognition – that reproduces the context of real-world complex decision-making – can predict performance on nine classical neuropsychological tasks of EF. Method: A sample of 121 participants completed all tasks, and canonical correlations were used to assess the nine tasks as predictors of the three simulation performance metrics to evaluate the multivariate-shared relationship between the two variable sets: executive functions and dynamic cognition. Results: Results show that a substantial amount of variance in two indices of dynamic cognition can be explained by a linear combination of three key types of neuropsychological tasks (planning, inhibition, working memory), with a larger contribution from the planning tasks. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that tasks of dynamic cognition could augment traditional, separate tests of EF, offering benefits in terms of parsimony, ecological validity, sensitivity, and computerized delivery. 


Published in

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology


Taylor and Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)


Hodgetts, H. M., Packwood, S., Vachon, F., & Tremblay, S. (2023) 'A microworld simulation of dynamic cognition as a test of executive function', Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 1-17.

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences

Cardiff Met Authors

Helen Hodgetts

Cardiff Met Research Centre/Group

  • Applied Psychology and Behaviour Change

Copyright Holder

  • © The Publisher


  • en

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