Peng Peng, Ph.D.
Department of Special Education
Understanding the mutualism of executive function and reading with development
ABSTRACT: I will present a series of studies on the mutualism between executive function (EF) and reading among different samples during development. The first study, based on the latent growth models with structured residuals, demonstrated longitudinal reciprocal relations between reading and EF in high-performing students, but not in a general population sample or students with reading difficulties. Such longitudinal reciprocal relations between EF and reading seemed to be driven mostly by practice in reading and schooling, not by socioeconomic status. The second study, based on the meta-profiling analysis and meta-analytical structural equation modelling of 378 studies, showed the unique contributions of EF to reading difficulties even after controlling for language skills, and a reading difficulty-EF deficits vicious circle with development. That is, for strong readers, EF and reading may facilitate each other during development, whereas for poor readers, EF and reading may constrain each other during development. The third study presented a domain-specific EF training model to demonstrate how to embed EF into academic tasks to improve EF training transfer effects on academic performance. Implications were discussed on how to trigger and strengthen the reciprocal relations between reading and EF during development to potentially close the achievement and cognition gap between poor readers and their typically developing peers.
BIO: Dr. Peng Peng's research aims to bridge cognitive psychology and special education. He is interested in embedding high-level cognitive skills training into academic instructions for children with severe learning difficulties. In particular, he has been working on projects to design instruction that can incorporate cognitive strategy, meta-cognition, and reading skills. Another line of his research is meta-analysis that examines reading and mathematics learning across cultures and languages. Currently, he is working on several meta projects to investigate the bidirectional relation (and mechanism) between general cognition and learning during development.