Using a Game-Like Procedure as a Test of Executive Functions in Children

Prof Doc Thesis

Bardis, A. 2023. Using a Game-Like Procedure as a Test of Executive Functions in Children. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsBardis, A.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Concept formation is a term that refers to the ability to create abstract categories and rules for the objects in our environment. It is an ability that develops throughout childhood, and is important in education and learning. However, there are limited concept formation measures for six- and seven-year-old children, many of which are adaptations from adult tests. The present study seeks to explore the utility of a game-based task, called the Alien Game, originally designed by Pavitt (2017) as a child-friendly and culturally fairer measure of concept formation.

In this cross-sectional study, 13 six- and seven-year-old participants, completed the Alien Game, and WISC-IV Similarities and Matrix Reasoning. Teachers completed working memory and inhibition ratings. The concurrent validity, applicability and likability of the Alien Game were explored.

The Alien Game Abstraction score (AS) had high applicability as a reflection of children’s strategy based on concept formation. Spearman’s Rank correlation tests found a good concurrent validity of AS with Similarities and Matrix Reasoning scores, indicating that the AS is a good measure of concept formation. The AS had low predictive validity of working memory and inhibition. The Alien Game was rated highly by participants, who preferred it to established measures of concept formation.

The Alien Game merits further development as a concept formation measure for six- and seven-year-old children. Further development should involve replication with a larger sample, analysis of the relationship between culture and performance in the Alien Game, and clinical utility for children with neurodevelopmental diagnoses and brain injury.

KeywordsConcept Formulation; Executive function; Game-based cognitive measure
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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Publication dates
Online10 Jan 2024
Publication process dates
Completed21 Sep 2023
Deposited10 Jan 2024
Copyright holder© 2023, The Author
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