Posted on May 5, 2016 by Rhian in News
Fascinating presentations and animated discussions about new methods for testing, and possible interventions for improving executive function in children through physical activity were the order of the day when expert researchers from the MRC/Wits Agincourt Unit, the local Department of Education, University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Wollongong in Australia, University of Oxford in the UK and New York University gathered for the day in Agincourt. This workshop, supported by the Newton Fund, was to explore new directions for research in Agincourt, based on previous work conducted by Dr Cathi Draper from UCT (who organised and facilitated this workshop) on physical activity in 4-6 year olds. We learnt that executive function is a set of mental skills that helps the brain learn new things, remember past experience and use this information to solve everyday problems. Children who have executive function problems find it difficult to self-regulate their behaviour, and often have problems in school and later in life. We are therefore looking forward to working out new strategies for assisting children to improve their executive function; a new field in psychology.