Educational Research and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Educ. Res. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1990-3839
  • DOI: 10.5897/ERR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2008

Full Length Research Paper

Executive functions, gender, and personality traits in students with and without specific learning disabilities

Bishara Saied
  • Bishara Saied
  • Department of Special Education, Faculty of Education, Beit berl College and Open University, Israel.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 06 September 2022
  •  Accepted: 29 November 2022
  •  Published: 30 November 2022


This study examined the associations between executive functions, gender and personality traits in students with and without specific learning disabilities (SLD). In this study, 80 sixth-grade students were sampled. Of these, 40 were students diagnosed with learning disabilities, 22 boys (55%) and 18 girls (45%) and 40 with no such diagnosis, 23 boys (57%) and 17 girls (43%). All students were tested using two instruments, one for executive functions and the other for personality traits. The present study found a significant difference between students with and without specific learning disabilities on all measures of executive function and personality traits. Also found, was a significant gender-related interaction on measures of attention and time management (executive function) and on measures of neuroticism and of agreeableness (personality traits). Significant associations were also found between executive functions and personality traits on some of the tested measures in the study population. Of the Big Five personality traits, this study found the following significant correlations with executive functions: Response inhibition with extraversion and neuroticism, emotional control with extraversion, task initiation with openness, organization with neuroticism, meta-cognition with conscientiousness, goal-directed persistence with neuroticism and agreeableness, and the overall index with neuroticism. The marked disparities found between the two populations of students suggest that it is important to pay special attention to the population with specific learning disabilities and make an effort to bolster these students in the areas indicated by the measures tested in this study. Such action could have a positive impact on a variety of other pedagogical-related phenomena, such as dropout rates, academic achievements, and social interactions if gender-related aspects are addressed.


Key words: Executive function, gender, personality traits, specific learning disability