Executive and Non-Executive Cognitive Abilities in Teenagers: Differences as a Function of Intelligence


Intelligence and cognitive abilities, including executive functions (EF), have been addressed by psychometrics and cognitive psychology, respectively. Studies have found similarities and overlap among constructs, especially between EF and fluid intelligence (Gf). This study’s aim was to investigate in teenagers: 1) the relationships among Gf, crystallized intelligence (Gc), cognitive, and executive abilities; and 2) the differences among groups with average, superior and very superior intelligence in regard to cognitive and executive functions. A total of 120 adolescents aged between 15 and 16 years old were assessed via IQ tests (the WISC III and Raven’s), EF (computer version of the Stroop Test, FAS Verbal Fluency Test, Trail Making Test—part B), and cognitive abilities (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test [PPVT], Repetition of words and pseudo words Test, the Rey Complex Figure [REY CF]). Low to moderate correlations were found among measures of intelligence and cognitive and executive functions. Even though interrelated, the measures seem to capture somewhat distinct aspects. Subsequently, the participants were divided into three groups according to their performance on Raven’s Test: Group with very superior intelligence (VSI), Group with superior intelligence (SI), and Group with average intelligence (AI). The ANOVA revealed the groups’ significant effect (VSI, SI, AI), that is, the VSI and SI groups tended to perform better on the WISC subtests, in the cognitive measures of the PPVT, Rey CF, and in executive measure (FAS). A tendency of increasingly better performance in the various abilities according to groups was observed, but the hypothesis of greater specific association between Gf and EF was not confirmed. The results show better general performance according to the level of intelligence.

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Godoy, S. , Dias, N. & Seabra, A. (2014). Executive and Non-Executive Cognitive Abilities in Teenagers: Differences as a Function of Intelligence. Psychology, 5, 2018-2032. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.518205.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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