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See detailThe Childhood Executive Function Inventory (CHEXI): Confirmatory Factor Analyses and Cross-Cultural Clinical Validity in a Sample of 8- to 11-Year-Old Children
Catale, Corinne ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Thorell, Lisa B.

in Journal of Attention Disorders (in press)

The Childhood Executive Functioning Inventory (CHEXI) is a new rating instrument for executive functioning developed by Thorell and Nyberg (2008). Through exploratory factor analyses, this inventory has ... [more ▼]

The Childhood Executive Functioning Inventory (CHEXI) is a new rating instrument for executive functioning developed by Thorell and Nyberg (2008). Through exploratory factor analyses, this inventory has been shown to tap into working memory and inhibition-related behaviors in young children. In this study, we present the psychometric characteristics of the French adaptation of the CHEXI in 8- to 11-year-old children. In addition, we explore the cross-cultural validity of the CHEXI in discriminating between children with ADHD and normally developing children in two culturally different samples (Belgian and Swedish). Confirmatory factor analyses replicated the two-factor solution, referred to as inhibition and working memory, that was identified in the original study with Swedish children. Supplementary analyses indicated that both subscales have good psychometric properties. From a clinical point of view, the CHEXI was found to discriminate, with high sensitivity and specificity, between children with ADHD and normally developing controls in both cultural samples. Cross-cultural clinical implications are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailLater learning stages in procedural memory are impaired in children with Specific Language Impairment
Desmottes, Lise ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg

in Research in Developmental Disabilities (2016)

Background According to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis (PDH), difficulties in the procedural memory system may contribute to the language difficulties encountered by children with Specific Language ... [more ▼]

Background According to the Procedural Deficit Hypothesis (PDH), difficulties in the procedural memory system may contribute to the language difficulties encountered by children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Most studies investigating the PDH have used the sequence learning paradigm; however these studies have principally focused on initial sequence learning in a single practice session. Aims The present study sought to extend these investigations by assessing the consolidation stage and longer-term retention of implicit sequence-specific knowledge in 42 children with or without SLI. Methods and procedures Both groups of children completed a serial reaction time task and were tested 24 h and one week after practice. Outcomes and results Results showed that children with SLI succeeded as well as children with typical development (TD) in the early acquisition stage of the sequence learning task. However, as training blocks progressed, only TD children improved their sequence knowledge while children with SLI did not appear to evolve any more. Moreover, children with SLI showed a lack of the consolidation gains in sequence knowledge displayed by the TD children. Conclusions and implications Overall, these results were in line with the predictions of the PDH and suggest that later learning stages in procedural memory are impaired in SLI. [less ▲]

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See detailPsychometric properties of the Questionnaire of Executive Self-Awareness (QESA) for Children
Geurten, Marie ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg; Geurten, Claire ULg et al

in Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society (2016)

Objective: People with accurate representations of their own cognitive functioning (i.e., cognitive self-awareness) tend to use appropriate strategies to regulate their behavior. Due to the lack of ... [more ▼]

Objective: People with accurate representations of their own cognitive functioning (i.e., cognitive self-awareness) tend to use appropriate strategies to regulate their behavior. Due to the lack of appropriate instruments, few studies have examined the development of this ability among children. Method: This study tested the measurement properties of the self-rating and other-rating forms of the Questionnaire of Executive Self-Awareness (QESA), designed to tap children’s knowledge of their executive functioning. Participants were 317 children aged 7 to 14 years old. Results: Confirmatory factor analyses carried out on the QESA confirmed the eight-factor structure of both versions. There were significant correlations between the QESA and the parent versions of the BRIEF, DEX-C, and CHEXI. Both forms of the QESA were able to distinguish between children who had sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and control participants. A self-other discrepancy score was computed to assess children’s executive self-awareness. A statistical difference was observed between the TBI and control groups on this score, suggesting that TBI may trigger self-awareness impairments in children. Conclusion: The good psychometric properties of the two forms of the QESA were established. Furthermore, results of the analyses carried on the different discrepancy scores seem to indicate that the QESA could help clinicians to detect patients with self-awareness deficits. [less ▲]

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See detailInvolvement of Executive Functions in Children’s Metamemory
Geurten, Marie ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in Applied Cognitive Psychology (2016), 30(1), 70-80

This experiment examined how knowledge of memory strategies and of memory functioning improves during childhood and what variables are involved in this development. Three main aspects of metamemory were ... [more ▼]

This experiment examined how knowledge of memory strategies and of memory functioning improves during childhood and what variables are involved in this development. Three main aspects of metamemory were assessed based on the performance of a group of 100 children (aged 4, 6, 9 and 11 years) on a battery of executive tasks. At the same time, the influence of variables such as intelligence, vocabulary and parental education level was also investigated. Results of mediation analyses reveal that the relation between children’s age and internal strategy knowledge was partially mediated by working memory skills but that executive functions did not mediate the impact of chronological age on children’s knowledge of external strategies or of memory functioning. Additionally, verbal fluency predicted internal and external strategy knowledge. Implications for general learning theories in childhood are discussed [less ▲]

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See detailProcedural learning, consolidation, and transfer of a new skill in Developmental Coordination Disorder
Lejeune, Caroline ULg; Wansard, Murielle ULg; Geurten, Marie ULg et al

in Child Neuropsychology : A Journal on Normal & Abnormal Development in Childhood & Adolescence (2016), 22(2),

The aim of this study was to explore the differences in procedural learning abilities between children with DCD and typically developing children by investigating the steps that lead to skill ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to explore the differences in procedural learning abilities between children with DCD and typically developing children by investigating the steps that lead to skill automatization (i.e., the stages of fast learning, consolidation, and slow learning). Transfer of the skill to a new situation was also assessed. We tested 34 children aged 6–12 years with and without DCD on a perceptuomotor adaptation task, a form of procedural learning that is thought to involve the cerebellum and the basal ganglia (regions whose impairment has been associated with DCD) but also other brain areas including frontal regions. The results showed similar rates of learning, consolidation, and transfer in DCD and control children. However, the DCD children's performance remained slower than that of controls throughout the procedural task and they reached a lower asymptotic performance level; the difficulties observed at the outset did not diminish with practice. [less ▲]

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See detailCan the exploration of left space be induced implicitly in unilateral neglect?
Wansard, Murielle ULg; Bartolomeo, Paolo; Vanderaspoilden, Valérie et al

Poster (2015, March)

The purpose of the present study was to explore the ability of neglect patients to detect and exploit the predictive value of a cue to respond more quickly and accurately to targets on their ... [more ▼]

The purpose of the present study was to explore the ability of neglect patients to detect and exploit the predictive value of a cue to respond more quickly and accurately to targets on their contralesional side in a Posner spatial cueing task. The majority of the cues (i.e. 80%) were invalid, indicating that the target would appear on the opposite side, although patients were not informed of this bias. Our results demonstrate that some neglect patients were able to extract the cue’s predictability and use it to orient faster toward the left. This cueing effect was present even in patients who were subsequently unable to describe the predictive character of the cues, and thus was not modulated by reportable awareness of the cue-target relation. [less ▲]

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See detailMemorability in context: An heuristic story
Geurten, Marie ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Willems, Sylvie ULg

in Experimental Psychology (2015), 62(5), 306-319

We examined children’s ability to employ a metacognitive heuristic based on memorability expectations to reduce false recognitions, and explored whether these expectations depend on the context in which ... [more ▼]

We examined children’s ability to employ a metacognitive heuristic based on memorability expectations to reduce false recognitions, and explored whether these expectations depend on the context in which the items are presented. Specifically, 4-, 6-, and 9-year-old children were presented with high-, medium-, and low-memorability words, either mixed together (Experiment 1) or separated into two different lists (Experiment 2). Results revealed that only children with a higher level of executive functioning (9-year-olds) used the memorability-based heuristic when all types of items were presented within the same list. However, all children, regardless of age or executive level, implemented the metacognitive rule when high- and low-memorability words were presented in two separate lists. Moreover, the results of Experiment 2 showed that participants processed medium-memorability words more conservatively when they were presented in a low- than in a high-memorability list, suggesting that children’s memorability expectations are sensitive to list-context effects. [less ▲]

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See detailLess is more: The availability heuristic in early childhood
Geurten, Marie ULg; Willems, Sylvie ULg; Germain, Sophie ULg et al

in British Journal of Developmental Psychology (2015)

This study examined whether young children are influenced by the subjective experience associated with an easy or difficult recall when making memory decisions. Seventy-one children, aged 4, 6, and 8 ... [more ▼]

This study examined whether young children are influenced by the subjective experience associated with an easy or difficult recall when making memory decisions. Seventy-one children, aged 4, 6, and 8 years, were asked to generate either a small (easy condition) or large (hard condition) number of first names. Statistical analyses revealed that participants in the hard condition were more likely to infer that they did not know many names than participants in the easy condition, contrary to what would be expected if children based their memory judgement on the objective number of recalled items. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that children as young as 4 years old rely on the subjective experience of ease to regulate their decision-making processes. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailMetamemory Following Childhood Brain Injury: A Consequence of Executive Impairment
Geurten, Marie ULg; Chevignard, Mathilde; Kerrouche, Bernadette et al

in Child Neuropsychology : A Journal on Normal & Abnormal Development in Childhood & Adolescence (2015)

In this study, we investigated the influence of children’s level of executive functioning on two types of metamemory knowledge following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). For this purpose, 22 children (aged ... [more ▼]

In this study, we investigated the influence of children’s level of executive functioning on two types of metamemory knowledge following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). For this purpose, 22 children (aged 7 to 14 years) who had sustained a moderate to severe TBI and 44 typically developing children were recruited. Children with TBI were divided into two groups according to the severity of their executive impairment. Injury severity was determined by the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score on admission or by the duration of unconsciousness. All children were then tested on both their knowledge of general memory functioning and their level of memory self-awareness, respectively assessed using total number of correct responses on an adapted version of Kreutzer et al.’s metamemory interview and a self-other discrepancy score on a questionnaire evaluating everyday memory abilities. Data analyses revealed that participants with TBI who suffered impaired executive functions demonstrated less general metamemory knowledge, and underestimated the frequency of their memory problems, compared with children with TBI who had preserved executive functions and with control participants. Considering the well-established effect of metamemory knowledge on people’s spontaneous implementation of strategies, the interest and the importance of these findings on both theoretical and clinical grounds are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Influence of Context on Children’s Use of the Memorability Heuristic
Geurten, Marie ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Willems, Sylvie ULg

Poster (2015)

We examined children’s ability to employ a metacognitive heuristic based on memorability expectations to reduce false recognitions, and explored whether these expectations depend on the context in which ... [more ▼]

We examined children’s ability to employ a metacognitive heuristic based on memorability expectations to reduce false recognitions, and explored whether these expectations depend on the context in which the items are presented. Specifically, 4-, 6-, and 9-year-old children were presented with high-, medium-, and low-memorability words, either mixed together (Experiment 1) or separated into two different lists (Experiment 2). Results revealed that only children with a higher level of executive functioning (9-year-olds) used the memorability-based heuristic when all types of items were presented within the same list. However, all children, regardless of age or executive level, implemented the metacognitive rule when high- and low-memorability words were presented in two separate lists. Moreover, the results of Experiment 2 showed that participants processed medium-memorability words more conservatively when they were presented in a low- than in a high-memorability list, suggesting that children’s memorability expectations are sensitive to list-context effects. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen Children’s Knowledge of Memory Improves Children’s Performance in Memory
Geurten, Marie ULg; Catale, Corinne ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in Applied Cognitive Psychology (2015), 29

One of the strongest hypotheses in the field of metacognition research involves the positive effect of metamemory on memory performance. However, due to the lack of appropriate instruments to appraise ... [more ▼]

One of the strongest hypotheses in the field of metacognition research involves the positive effect of metamemory on memory performance. However, due to the lack of appropriate instruments to appraise knowledge of memory, few studies have examined this effect among children. This study was conducted to create and validate an instrument to assess children’s metamemory knowledge and link this knowledge with their memory performance and strategy use. A sample of 166 children was given a new three-factor metamemory interview, and its psychometric properties were investigated. Regression analyses were carried out to investigate the link between metamemory and memory performance in a subgroup of 128 children from the validation study. Results confirmed the scale’s good psychometric properties and revealed its ability to predict children’s memory performance. However, none of the scale’s factors could predict children’s use of memory strategies. Implications for the study of children’s metamemory development are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailAre Children Conservative, Liberal or Metacognitive? Preliminary Evidence for the Involvement of the Distinctiveness Heuristic in Decision Making
Geurten, Marie ULg; Willems, Sylvie ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in Journal of Experimental Child Psychology (2015), 132

The present experiment investigates whether young children are able to reduce their false recognition rate after distinctive encoding by implementing a strategic metacognitive rule. Seventy-two children ... [more ▼]

The present experiment investigates whether young children are able to reduce their false recognition rate after distinctive encoding by implementing a strategic metacognitive rule. Seventy-two children, aged 4, 6, and 9 years, studied two lists of unrelated items. One of these lists was visually displayed (picture condition) while the other was presented auditorily (word condition). After each study phase, participants completed recognition tests. Finally, they answered questions about their explicit knowledge of the distinctive-encoding effect. The results revealed that even the youngest children in our sample showed a smaller proportion of intrusions in the picture condition than in the word condition. Furthermore, the results of the signal detection analyses were consistent with the hypothesis that the lower rate of false recognitions after picture encoding results from the implementation of a conservative response criterion based on metacognitive expectations (distinctiveness heuristic). Moreover, the absence of correlation between children’s explicit knowledge of the distinctiveness rule and their effective use of this metacognitive heuristic seems to indicate that its involvement in memory decisions could be mediated by implicit mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailTime’s Up! Involvement of Metamemory Knowledge, Executive Functions, and Time Monitoring in Children’s Prospective Memory Performance
Geurten, Marie ULg; Lejeune, Caroline ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in Child Neuropsychology : A Journal on Normal & Abnormal Development in Childhood & Adolescence (2015)

This study examined time-based prospective memory (PM) in children and explored the possible involvement of metamemory knowledge and executive functions in the use of an appropriate time monitoring ... [more ▼]

This study examined time-based prospective memory (PM) in children and explored the possible involvement of metamemory knowledge and executive functions in the use of an appropriate time monitoring strategy depending on the ongoing task’s difficulty. Specifically, a sample of 72 typically developing children aged 4, 6, and 9 years old were given an original PM paradigm composed of both an ongoing procedural activity and a PM task. Half of the participants (expert group) were trained in the ongoing activity before the prospective test. As expected, results show that time monitoring had a positive effect on children’s PM performance. Furthermore, mediation analyses reveal that strategic time monitoring was predicted by metamemory knowledge in the expert group but only by executive functions in the novice group. Overall, these findings provide interesting avenues to explain how metamemory knowledge, strategy use, and executive functions interact to improve PM performance during childhood. [less ▲]

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See detailLes difficultés d'apprentissage procédural chez les enfants dysphasiques
Desmottes, Lise ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg; Maillart, Christelle ULg

in ANAE : Approche Neuropsychologique des Apprentissages chez l'Enfant (2015)

Through a review of the literature, this paper shows that linguistic and non-linguistic disorders in children with specific language impairment might be linked to difficulties in procedural learning ... [more ▼]

Through a review of the literature, this paper shows that linguistic and non-linguistic disorders in children with specific language impairment might be linked to difficulties in procedural learning, especially regarding sequential abilities. Indeed, children with specific language impairment encounter difficulties to learn visuo-motor and linguistic sequences. These difficulties are not limited to initial learning but extend to the consolidation stage in long-term memory. Finally, recent studies show that it is possible to improve procedural learning abilities, suggesting new avenues for rehabilitation. [less ▲]

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See detailBeyond the Experience: Detection of Metamemorial Regularities
Geurten, Marie ULg; Willems, Sylvie ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in Consciousness & Cognition (2015), 33

We examined the mechanisms involved in the development of the easily learned, easily remembered (ELER) heuristic in three groups of young children (4–5 years, 6–7 years, and 8–9 years). A trial-to ... [more ▼]

We examined the mechanisms involved in the development of the easily learned, easily remembered (ELER) heuristic in three groups of young children (4–5 years, 6–7 years, and 8–9 years). A trial-to-acquisition procedure was used to evaluate how much these children’s judgment of learning depended on the ELER heuristic. Moreover, a new experimental paradigm, composed of six phases—a pretest, four training phases, and a posttest—was employed to implicitly influence the validity of the ELER association that underlies this metacognitive rule. Results revealed that the ELER heuristic develops early (4–5 years), but its use is reduced after implicit training. Furthermore, executive monitoring was found to account for the smaller changes observed in older children (8–9 years) after training. From a developmental perspective, these findings present a coherent picture of children’s learning of metacognitive heuristics, wherein early automatic and implicit learning is later followed by effortful control. [less ▲]

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See detailInvolvement of the Distinctiveness Heuristic in Children's Decision Making
Geurten, Marie ULg; Willems, Sylvie ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

in International Convention of Psychological Science: ICPS, Amsterdam 2015 (2015)

Over the past decades, researchers studying adult metacognition have placed a heavy emphasis on how expectations and naïve theories about memory functioning can improve memory accuracy through the ... [more ▼]

Over the past decades, researchers studying adult metacognition have placed a heavy emphasis on how expectations and naïve theories about memory functioning can improve memory accuracy through the implementation of some metacognitive rules. By contrasts, however, research on metacognition in children has only recently started to pay attention to the influence of these heuristic-based judgments on decision making. Generally, the results of these studies indicate that memory decisions are already based on some heuristics by the ages of 7-8 years. Thus far, the question of whether younger children can do the same has widely gone unexamined. The present experiment investigates whether young children are able to reduce their false recognitions rate after distinctive encoding through the implementation of a strategic metacognitive rule. Specifically, we examine the use of a retrieval strategy called the distinctiveness heuristic whereby people infer that an event has not occurred when they cannot remember expected memorial information about it. Seventy-two children, aged 4, 6, and 9 years, studied two lists of unrelated items. One of these lists was visually displayed (picture/dictinctive condition) while the other was presented auditorily (word/no-distinctive condition). After each study phase, participants completed recognition tests. Finally, they answered questions about their explicit knowledge of the distinctive-encoding effect. The results revealed that even the youngest children in our sample showed a smaller proportion of intrusions in the picture condition than in the word condition. Furthermore, the findings of the signal detection analyses are consistent with the hypothesis that the lower rate of false recognitions after picture encoding results from the implementation of a conservative response criterion based on the participants’ metacognitive expectations (distinctiveness heuristic). Moreover, the absence of correlation between children’s explicit knowledge of the distinctiveness rule and their effective use of this metacognitive heuristic seems to indicate that its involvement in memory decisions could be mediated by implicit mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailEffect of “diagnosis threat” in clinical setting
Fresson, Megan ULg; Dardenne, Benoît ULg; Meulemans, Thierry ULg

Poster (2014, November 14)

Objective. When reminded of their neurological history, mild traumatic brain injured (TBI) students underperform on neuropsychological tests (Suhr & Gunstad, 2002). To date, this “diagnosis threat” (DT ... [more ▼]

Objective. When reminded of their neurological history, mild traumatic brain injured (TBI) students underperform on neuropsychological tests (Suhr & Gunstad, 2002). To date, this “diagnosis threat” (DT) phenomenon has mainly been studied with a non-clinical and high-functioning population (university students). The aim of this study was twofold: to study this phenomenon with neurological patients and to examine the mechanisms responsible for underperformance. Method. Patients (18-55 years-old) who had sustained a TBI or a stroke were recruited from ambulatory and hospitalized cares, and then assigned to one of three conditions : Patients attention was drawn on (1) their neurological disease and the neuropsychological components of the upcoming tasks (DT group) ; (2) their intact sensory capacities and the sensorial components of the tasks (Neutral group); or (3) their better cognitive abilities compared to Alzheimer disease patients (Stereotype boost group). After these instructions, patients carried out cognitive tasks and completed questionnaires. Results. Preliminary analyses (n=18) showed that, on the z-score of executive functioning, the DT group performed worse than both the neutral group (p=.03) and the stereotype boost group (p=.05), but did not differ for the attentional and memory scores. Instructions also had an impact on cognitive self-efficacy, with the neutral group demonstrating greater score than the negative one (p=.08). Furthermore, the self-efficacy score tended to correlate with the score of executive functioning (r=.37). Conclusions. Results show that the DT phenomenon has an impact on cognitive performances in clinical setting, at least on executive functions, which are usually demonstrated to be the most sensitive to stereotype effects. [less ▲]

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