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Executive functions enable us to control our attention and behaviour in order to set and work towards goals. Strong executive function skills are linked to better performance at school and higher levels of health, wealth and happiness in later life. Research into the early development of executive functions has been hampered by an absence of scalable measures that are appropriate across the infant and toddler years. The Early Executive Functions Questionnaire (EEFQ) is a newly-developed 31-item carer-administered measure which complements temperament measures by targeting cognitive and regulatory capabilities. Exploratory Factor Analysis with 486 8- to 30-month-olds followed by Confirmatory Factor Analysis with 317 9- to 30-month-olds indicates that Inhibitory Control, Flexibility and Working Memory items load onto a common ‘Cognitive Executive Function (CEF)’ factor, whilst Regulation items do not. CEF factor and Regulation scale scores show limited floor and ceiling effects (<1%), good internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha =.8-.9), short-term stability (bivariate correlations across 3-6 months = .4-.9), and convergent validity with extant carer-report measures of attentional control (bivariate associations between CEF and Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire (Putnam, Gartstein & Rothbart, 2006) attentional control scores = .4-.6). Only CEF scores increase with age. The EEFQ shows promise as a measure of executive functions suitable across infancy and toddlerhood.

Original publication




Journal article


Center for Open Science

Publication Date