Relationships Between Executive Functions and Computational Thinking

Tongxi Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Addressing cognitive disparities has become a paramount concern in computational thinking (CT) education. The intricate and nuanced relationships between CT and cognitive variations emphasize the needs to accommodate diverse cognitive profiles when fostering CT skills, recognizing that these cognitive functions can manifest as either strengths or limitations in different students. Consequently, understanding the connections between students’ cognitive functions and CT skills assumes pivotal importance in the design of personalized instructional strategies for CT. Despite a general consideration of learning variability in CT education, empirical insights exploring the correlation between cognitive skills and CT competencies remain notably scarce. This study endeavors to bridge this research gap by investigating the links between executive functions and CT skills, as well as the associations between their sub-dimensions. The results reveal a statistically significant correlation coefficient of 0.452 between these two domains, underscoring the notable connection between executive functions and CT abilities. Furthermore, the sub-dimensional analysis offers a comprehensive understanding of how specific executive functions uniquely contribute to certain CT skills. In light of these findings, this research offers a promising pathway for the development of tailored CT education programs that can cater to the unique needs of each individual, ultimately facilitating inclusive CT programs and making significant contributions to broaden STEM education and future workforce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
JournalJournal of Educational Computing Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Apr 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications

User-Defined Keywords

  • computational thinking
  • data science in education
  • relationships
  • executive functions


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