Definition • “The ability to maintain an appropriate problem-solving set for the attainment of a future goal; it includes behaviours such as planning, impulse control, inhibition of prepotent but irrelevant responses, set maintenance, organized search, and flexibility of search and action.” Ozonoff et al (1991)
Wisconsin Card Sort Ozonoff et al found that poor performance on tests of executive dysfunction was a more accurate basis for discriminating between who was an was not autistic, compared with first- and second-order tests of false belief. Specificity Universality
The windows taskRussell et al (1991) Hughes & Russell (1993) devised a version that did not involve an opponent. They got the same results
Is executive dysfunction and autism one and the same thing? • No: Adults who acquire executive dysfunction as not autistic. • Maybe there has to be a special cocktail of executive dysfunction and development? • No: Welsh et al (1990) studied children with PKU raised on a diet free of phenylalanine. They had measured intelligence in the normal range but showed impairments on tests of EF. • Despite that, few were diagnosed autistic. • Studies that match executive demands but contrast theory of mind content.
Comorbidity and other disorders where executive dysfunction might be implicated • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) • Pragmatic Language Impairment • Specific Language Impairment • Tourette Syndrome
Does executive dysfunction explain lack of common sense and naivety in conversationRajendran et al (2004)