Executive functioning  (Digit span)

Executive functioning (Digit span)

LASA filenames:

Contact: Almar Kok


Executive functioning is an important aspect of cognitive functioning. Executive functioning consists of more complex cognitive tasks involved in the self-regulation of goal-directed behavior. It is closely related to the frontal cortex of the brain and is age-sensitive (Drag & Bieliauskas, 2009). Executive functioning comprises different aspects of functioning such as inhibition of irrelevant stimuli, working memory, set-shifting of attention, taking initiative and planning actions. The digit span tasks measures working memory, but also attention and concentration.

Measurement instruments in LASA

The subtest digit span from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (Wechsler, 1958) was included in LASA from wave H on. Respondents were asked to recall a set of numbers forwards and backwards whereby the sequence-length of the numbers increased.

The number of correct sets of numbers forwards (range 0-16) and backwards (range 0-14) were measured. In addition, the span forwards (range 2-9) and backwards (range 2-8) were measured.

Variable information

LASAH166 / LASAI166 / LASAJ166 / LASAK166 (K not available yet)

Availability of information per wave


Digit span


¹ More information about the LASA data collection waves is available here.

* 2B=baseline second cohort;
3B=baseline third cohort;
MB=migrants: baseline first cohort;
K=not available yet

Ma=data collected in main interview;
Me=data collected in medical interview

Previous use in LASA
Up till now not used in LASA articles.


  1. Drag LL, Bieliauskas LA. Contemporary review 2009: cognitive aging. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol 2010;23:75-93.
  2. Wechsler D. The Measurement and Appraisal of Adult Intelligence (4th ed.). ix ed. Baltimore, MD, US: Williams & Wilkins Co; 1958.

Date of last update (first version): July, 2014