Executive Functions

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  • A constellation of higher-order regulatory and supervisory functions that allow individuals to exert control over and coordinate their behavior. In a sense, they are the functions that orchestrate the lower-order cognitive processing of the brain. Therefore, executive function is really an umbrella term used to describe a set of global functions, such as planning, mental flexibility, attentional allocation, working memory, and inhibitory control, that guide purposeful behavior and effective performance. These functions allow one to plan for and anticipate outcomes, adapt strategies according to feedback, and direct attentional resources to meet the demands of novel events and situations. Although the integrity of the entire brain is necessary for intact executive functioning, research has consistently associated executive functioning with frontal-lobe activity, particularly that of the prefrontal ...

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