A Review of Hot Executive Functions in Preschoolers

  • Nancy Garon (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


Executive functions (EF), a term used to refer to a large number of abilities involved in self-regulation, has become an important focus of research in early development. A distinction between cool and hot EF is often made based on whether a problem involves abstract versus motivational aspects. While research on cool EF in preschoolers is abundant, relatively little work has been done on hot EF abilities. The current paper focuses primarily on research utilizing two hot EF tasks: the delay of gratification task (Mischel et al. 1989) and preschool variants of the Iowa Gambling task (Bechara et al. 1994). The pattern of findings clearly indicate age improvements in hot EF during the preschool period. Finally, processes involved in hot EF tasks are placed into the broader context of early EF and self-regulation and areas warranting future research are discussed.


hot executive functions; cool executive functions; delay of gratification; Iowa Gambling task; preschool