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The Role of Executive Function and Temperament in the Emergence of Social Problem Solving Abilities During Preschool
  • Jessica Caporaso,
  • Stuart Marcovitch
Jessica Caporaso
UNC Greensboro

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Stuart Marcovitch
UNC Greensboro
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Abstract

The current study examined the longitudinal association between executive function (EF) and social problem solving abilities (SPS) and the temperament factors that could influence this association. Two accounts for the EF-SPS association were proposed; EF could either support the emergence of an SPS concept over time (emergence account), or it is only required for in-the-moment support during peer conflict (expression account). To test these accounts, 4-to 5-year-old participants completed a peer conflict task and EF tasks at the beginning (T1) and end (T2) of the preschool year. Parents completed a temperament questionnaire at T1. Results revealed that T1 EF predicted T2 SPS abilities, but only for participants high in temperamental surgency. The results provide support for the emergence account for a specific group of children, further challenging the notion that EF is required for all children to behave in a competent manner when faced with peer provocation.