<p>Executive functioning (EF) is defined as a set of top-down processes used in reasoning, forming goals, planning, concentrating, and inhibition. It is widely believed that these processes are critical to self-regulation, and, therefore, that behavioral task measures of EF should be associated with life outcomes related to self-control/impulsivity. The purpose of the present study was to test this core assumption, focusing on the EF facet of inhibition. A sample of 463 college undergraduates completed five laboratory inhibition tasks in addition to several measures of self-reported self-control and 30 life outcome measures. Results showed that although self-reported self-control was associated with roughly 20 of the 30 life outcomes, none of the life outcomes were associated with inhibition task performance at the latent-variable or individual task level. Given the known lack of convergent validity between behavioral tasks of inhibition and self-reported self-control measures, the current study’s finding that inhibition is also not associated with self-control life outcomes challenges the construct validity of inhibition tasks as measures of self-control processes.</p>
<p>Curtis Von Gunten, PhD
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC 27710
919 668 0622
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