The executive functions of shifting updating and inhibition and their association with arithmetical abilities.

Antonella D'Amico, Rossana Maria La Porta

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


The study aimed to investigate, in 110 children attending the fourth class of an Italian primary school, the relationships between the executive functions of shifting, updating and inhibition and various aspect of arithmetic (written calculation, arithmetical facts and numeral knowledge). Shifting was assessed rating time and errors in color/number and number/letter Making trails task. Updating was assessed using Palladino et al.’s task (2001). Inhibition of endogenous information was assessed rating intrusion errors in Updating task, whereas effortful inhibition of exogenous interference and automatic inhibition of endogenous information were respectively assessed using Stroop and Negative Priming tasks.Results partially confirmed current literature, evidencing an association among shifting scores and measures of written calculation, numerical knowledge and arithmetical facts; updating scores were related both to numeral knowledge and arithmetical facts. Some intrusion measures were associated to numeral knowledge, and Stroop interference score was related to arithmetical facts, indicating higher sensibility to interference in children with higher fact performances. On the contrary, Negative Priming scores were not related to arithmetical performances.Stepwise regression analyses determined that time in shifting task was unique predictor of written calculation and numeral knowledge, whereas time in shifting task and Stroop interference score predicted retrieval of arithmetical facts.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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