Examining Executive Functions in Executives: A Platform for I/O Neuropsychology in Colombia

October 20, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM EDT

Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, PhD

Please note that the Zoom link will become active shortly before the event begins.

The field of Neuropsychology is growing at an increasingly rapid rate in Latin America. With this growth, there has been motivation to integrate neuropsychological research to other areas of Psychology. Among them, there is curiosity about exploring potential overlap between Neuropsychology and I/O Psychology. With the objective of making reliable predictions about performance at work, I/O psychologists’ tools are limited when the personnel under assessment belongs to the leadership level. The effective coordination of processes and resources to achieve a goal define both the aim of our executive function and the crux of the job of executives and managers in any type of organization. Interestingly, only a handful of studies have started to look at executive functioning in industry employees. The overall aim of the series of studies we recently conducted was to examine executive functions, and their associations with intelligence and personality, in healthy adults in higher administrative or executive positions within a corporation from Colombia. Further, test and normative data selection in cross-cultural neuropsychology remain a complex issue. Despite growing awareness, more studies and instruments are needed for assessments to adequately address the impact of cultural factors, such as quantity and quality of education. In a study lead by my former graduate student, now Dr. Emily Duggan, we examined the interpretive effects of applying six different WAIS-IV norms (Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Spain, United States, and Canada) to a sample of 305 highly educated Colombian executives from the same industry. This study will also be discussed. Altogether, we are using a cross-cultural lens and hoping to make a contribution to an area or work we like to call I/O Neuropsychology.

Dr. Mauricio Garcia-Barrera is a native of Medellin, Colombia. He obtained his Master’s (2005) and PhD (2008) in School Psychology at the University of Georgia. His graduate work focused on assessment (under the supervision of Dr. Randy Kamphaus), and on developmental neuropsychology (under the supervision of Dr. George Hynd). He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria, which he joined in 2008. At UVic, he created the CORTEX lab [www.cortex.uvic.ca], a research lab specialized in the study of the neural and behavioural foundations of executive functioning. He serves as Associate Editor of the APA journal Psychological Assessment and is the Past President (2018-2021) of the Latin American Association of Neuropsychology. His research focuses on the study of executive functioning, with a particular interest in its definition, assessment, and examination of the clinical events or environmental variables that may modify its development across the lifespan, such as sports participation and leadership-based employment (positive effects), and mild Traumatic Brain Injury and the experience of war (negative events). 

Scroll to Top


Dr. Silva’s parents immigrated from Panama and Chile to the United States, and she was born and raised in melting pot that is New York City. She grew up speaking Spanish at home and feels fortunate to have grown up in an environment where cultural diversity was the norm, not the exception.

During her training to become a neuropsychologist, Dr. Silva was often asked to work with Spanish-speaking patients, though most training sites did not have supervisors who also spoke Spanish or had sufficient cultural knowledge relevant to Latinx populations. She joined HNS as a student and found mentorship and training resources that helped her gain competency in providing neuropsychological services to these patients. Dr. Silva has served on the HNS Board as Member-at-Large (2014-2016) and Secretary (2019-2022). She has also been involved with several committees over the years and is currently serving as the Chair of the Information Technology (IT) Committee. She views HNS as the main organization to promote development of professional resources and scientific advancements in neuropsychology that are specific to Latinx groups; she is honored to help the organization in any way she can. 

Dr. Silva is the owner of Pacific Neurobehavioral Clinic, PC, a group practice in San Diego, California that offers neuropsychological evaluation and psychotherapy services to adults with various neuropsychiatric conditions. She engages in clinical and civil forensic work and oversees the clinic operations.

Educational, training and professional experiences include:

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology – Florida Institute of Technology
  • Post-doctoral fellowships – Fullerton Neuropsychological Services, St. Jude Medical Center (one year; neurorehabilitation) and University of California San Diego (one year; clinical neuropsychology)
  • Staff neuropsychologist at Sharp Memorial and Grossmont hospitals from 2009-2012
  • Board certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) for the state of California
  • Treasurer and Current Chair of California Psychological Association-Division 8 (Neuropsychology)

In her spare time, Dr. Silva enjoys playing and making music (piano and electronic instruments; she recently took up learning how to play the theremin), playing tennis, karaoke, and spending time with family and friends.