The Impact of Training Executive Functions on Academic Outcomes, self-regulation and socioaffective skills
Last registered on April 15, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
The Impact of Training Executive Functions on Academic Outcomes, self-regulation and socioaffective skills
Initial registration date
April 13, 2018
Last updated
April 15, 2018 3:42 PM EDT

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Primary Investigator
Inra and Toulouse School of Economics
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
CNRS and Institute for Advanced Study of Toulouse
Additional Trial Information
On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Executive functions such as working memory, self-regulation, inhibitory control, are mental processes that enable the voluntary control of actions, thoughts and emotions. Executive functions play a key role in academic learning, as early as preschool. There exist stark inequalities in the distribution of executive functions at school entry, especially between children from different socio-economic background. This experiment aims at training executive functions in pre-schoolers by providing them with several sessions of pretend-play activities in small groups. Pretend-play activities are extracted from the Tools of the Mind curriculum. The experiment aims at measuring the short run impact of pretend-play activities on brain functioning, executive functions, child' s self-regulation, socio-affective skills and academic outcomes. The experiment uses a pairwise randomized controlled trial on a target on 70 children with a pre-post design if possible and a post design when not enough pre and post outcomes are available.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Chabé-Ferret, Sylvain and Chloé Farrer. 2018. "The Impact of Training Executive Functions on Academic Outcomes, self-regulation and socioaffective skills." AEA RCT Registry. April 15.
Experimental Details
Sessions of pretend play for preschool children in order to develop their executive functions and their socio-emotional skills.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1/ Executive functions
1.1/ Heart/flower task (Davidson et al., 2006) (percent of correct answers and time to answer)

2/ Academic outcomes
2.1/ Peabody Picture Vocabulary Scale (EVIP) (Dunn et al., 1993)

3/ Socio-emotional skills
3.1/ Socio affective profile (PSA) (Dumas et al., 1997)
3.2/ BRIEF: self-regulation scores computed from parents' questionnaires (Gioia et al., 2014)
3.3/ Head to Toes task, self-regulation score (Duncan, 2017)

4/ Other
4.1/ RAVEN matrices (Raven, 1998)
4.2/ EEG (theta power, theta coherence )
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Parwise randomized controlled trial at the child level.
Children, aged from 4 to 6, come from 4 classes located in two schools.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
70 children
Sample size: planned number of observations
70 children
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
35 children
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Standard errors of the treatment effect estimator including pair fixed effects are of 0.122, 0.150 and 0.187, respectively, which implies a MDE (for one-sided t-test of size 5% and power 80%) of 0.303, 0.373 and 0.465 respectively. All variables are centered and standardized, so that MDEs are in units of standard deviation.
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number