How do you identify the signs of executive functions in infants?
The early building blocks of executive functions (EFs) —higher-order cognitive processes underlying goal-directed behavior—are acquired during infancy and undergo remarkable improvement throughout this period. Professor Cuevas will discuss the emergence and development of EFs during infancy, with a focus on core processes of working memory and inhibitory control. In the span of a few short years, infants become capable of sustaining, shifting, and inhibiting their attention, and eventually use these gains in attentional control to hold and update information in mind and exert control over their behavior in the presence of interfering thoughts and actions. These rudimentary EF skills in infancy likely represent developmental precursors to more complex EFs. Professor Cuevas will review commonly used measures of infant EF, briefly highlighting biopsychosocial mechanisms that impact EF development and individual variation.