An exploration of the role of executive functions in preschoolers’ phonological development

Catherine Torrington Eaton, Nan Bernstein Ratner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


There is limited yet compelling evidence that domain-general processes may contribute to speech sound change. This study explored whether executive functions contribute to the achievement of adult-like speech production. Children who are 4 to 5 years old, 42 with high-average speech production skills, 11 with low-average and nine with speech sound disorder (SSD), participated in a battery of executive function and speech production tasks. Performance accuracy was compared across groups and also correlated with speech sound accuracy from a single-word naming task. Children with SSD demonstrated poorer performance than other groups on forward digit span, whereas children with low-average speech skills underperformed their peers on the Flexible Item Selection Task (FIST). These preliminary results suggest that children with speech errors may have less mature working memory than peers who have mastered phonological targets earlier in development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)679-695
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Phonological working memory
  • speech sound disorder
  • typically developing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'An exploration of the role of executive functions in preschoolers’ phonological development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this