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

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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). 

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