Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

David C. Osmon

Committee Members

Bonita Klein-Tasman, Krista Lisdahl, Christine Larson, Han Joo Lee


Concurrent Validity, Elementary Cognitive Tasks, Executive Functions


In this study, we examined the concurrent validity of four computerized elementary cognitive tasks (ECTs) by comparing them with Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System’s (D-KEFS) scores shown to load on the three-factor model of executive functions (EFs). A sample of 175 college students were administered two ECTs purportedly measuring perceptual-motor skills (simple and choice reaction time [RT] tasks) and two ECTs purportedly measuring executive control (1- & 2-bit internal-rule [IR] tasks), as well as the D-KEFS Sorting Test, Color-Word Test, and Verbal Fluency Test to assess Shifting, Inhibition, and Updating, respectively. Specific D-KEFS scores underwent principal component analysis, yielding a three-factor solution consistent with the factor structure of the D-KEFS. Correlations and hierarchical regression analyses were performed to identify both the relationships and the contributions of the D-KEFS factors to each ECT. Moderate correlations were seen between the Inhibition factor and the four ECTs, whereas the Updating and Shifting factors had low correlations with the direct-response tasks and the 2-bit IR task, respectively. Results also showed that after controlling for Updating, Inhibition was the most important predictor of task performance across the ECTs. As expected, Updating predicted both simple and choice RT task performances and Shifting predicted internal-rule task performances; however, Shifting unexpectedly predicted performance on the choice RT task. Overall, previous findings using the ECTs were replicated, but did not strongly support D-KEFS factor differentiation among the ECTs, although typical correlations between speed and power tasks were evident, providing evidence of the concurrent validity of the ECTs. Findings were in line with the unity and diversity conceptualization of EFs. Clinical and theoretical implications as well as study limitations are discussed along with suggestions for future directions using the ECTs.