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Appl Neuropsychol Adult. 2015;22(2):88-93. doi: 10.1080/23279095.2013.850693. Epub 2014 Jun 13.

Trait impulsivity predicts D-KEFS tower test performance in university students.

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a School of Psychology , Bond University , Gold Coast , Queensland , Australia.


The present study examined a widely used self-report index of trait impulsiveness in relation to performance on a well-known neuropsychological executive function test in 70 university undergraduate students (50 women, 20 men) aged 18 to 24 years old. Participants completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) and the Frontal Systems Behavior Scale (FrSBe), after which they performed the Tower Test of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System. Hierarchical linear regression showed that after controlling for gender, current alcohol consumption, age at onset of weekly alcohol use, and FrSBe scores, BIS-11 significantly predicted Tower Test Achievement scores, β = -.44, p < .01. The results indicate that self-reported impulsiveness is associated with poorer executive cognitive performance even in a sample likely to be characterized by relatively high general cognitive functioning (i.e., university students). The results also support the role of inhibition as a key aspect of executive task performance. Elevated scores on the BIS-11 and FrSBe are known to be linked to risky drinking in young adults as confirmed in this sample; however, only BIS-11 predicted Tower Test performance.


cognition; executive function; frontal lobes; impulsiveness; personality

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