Cognitive Planning and Executive Functions: Applications in Management and Education
Publication Year: 2015
What lies behind decision-making and improved educational and managerial performance? This book tries to answer by putting forth meaningful strategies in the context of planning and executive functions. This is based on five broad themes: Decisions are based on both emotions and rationality in varying proportions. Emotions and rationality are functions of the brain. Origin of planning and executive functions engaged in problem-solving, and how these functions are measured from three worlds, viz., world of physical objects, world of conscious and unconscious states and psychological control, and world of cultural products, such as language, theories in science, and objects of art. Improvement in planning and executive functions helps in better performance in both educational achievements and managerial decision-making. Methods to boost decision-making and planning.
This book ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Part I: Concepts
- Chapter 1: Cognitive Planning in the Context of PASS Theory
- Chapter 2: Models of Planning: Past and Current
Part II: Planning and Executive Functions and the Brain
- Chapter 3: Deconstructing Executive Functions
- Chapter 4: Executive Functions, Planning, and Intelligence: Can Brain Localization Help?
Part III: Attention, Planning, and Executive Functions: Assessment
- Chapter 5: Separating Planning and Attention
- Chapter 6: Assessments: History and Selected Studies
- Chapter 7: Planning and Executive Function Tests: Ready for Use
Part IV: Applications in Management and Education
- Chapter 8: Rational and Irrational in Managerial Behavior
- Chapter 9: Cognitive Competence and Managerial Behavior
- Chapter 10: The Influence of Emotions and Will
Part V: Enhancement of Educational Achievement and Decision Making
- Chapter 11: Planning in Writing: Compositions and Oral Narratives
- Chapter 12: Verbalization Enhances Planning: Application in Education
- Chapter 13: Math Learning
- Chapter 14: Two Programs for Cognitive Strategy Training
- Chapter 15: Planning and Decision Making: Training for Enhancement
- Chapter 16: Revisits and Reprise
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Das, J. P. (Jagannath Prasad)
Cognitive planning and executive functions: applications in management and education / J.P. Das and Sasi B. Misra.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Cognitive psychology. 2. Planning—Psychological aspects. 3. Cognition. 4. Decision making. 5. Management. I. Misra, Sasi B. II. Title.
BF201.D368 153—dc23 2015 2014034739
ISBN: 978-93-515-0036-0 (HB)
The SAGE Team: Supriya Das, Vandana Gupta, Anju Saxena and Rajinder Kaur
[Page v]For J.P.'s brothers
Dr Jadunath Prasad Das
Dr Radhanath Prasad Das
And Sasi's wife, Susama and their children
Dr Sarthak Misra
Dr Shalini Misra
Thank You for Choosing a SAGE Product![Page vi]
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List of Tables[Page ix]
- 6.1 Results of Exploratory Factor Analysis 111
- 6.2 Do the Three Factors Form One Factor? Yes, They Do, Which Is Planning 112
- 6.3 Do the Planning Tasks Form One Factor? 113
- 6.4 Do the Attention Tasks Form One Factor? 113
- 9.1 Intercorrelations between Essay Ratings 192
- 11.1 Factor Analysis of Oral and Written Composition Rating Scale Scores 220 [Page x]
List of Figures[Page xi]
- 1.1 PASS Theory of Intelligence 6
- 2.1 Plans and Problems 31
- 2.2 Planning as a Function of the Frontal Lobes 38
- 2.3 Planning Process Path Diagram 39
- A4.1 Hot (Shaded) and Cold (Unshaded) Decision-making Brain Locations 65
- A4.2 Prefrontal Cortex Divisions 65
- A4.3 (a) Brain Diagram: Limbic System 66
- (b) Brain Diagram: Prefrontal Cortex 66
- 6.1 The Percentages of Placements Based on Climbing, Combination, and Nonfunctional (Pattern, False Pattern, Trial and Error) Search Methods on Items 5 and 6 105
- 9.1 Planning Expressed through an Executive's Behavior 191
- 11.1 Planning and Knowledge Base in Writing 214
- 11.2 From Cognitive Planning to Quality Narratives 218
- 13.1 Math Proficiency Model 238
- 13.2 Attentional Control in Geary's Model 239
- 13.3 Basic Math Skills 248
- 13.4 The Five Modules 250
Cognitive Planning and Executive Functions is a sequel to an earlier book, Cognitive Planning: The Psychological Basis of Intelligent Behavior, published in 1996. That book was written at a time when the cognitive revolution was almost over; no longer struggling for recognition, it was a time to enjoy the fruits of the revolution.
A new look at intelligence has emerged since. We are ready to replace “intelligence” by a variety of cognitive processes. Of these, Cognitive Planning is regarded as the major cognitive process, actually a “meta process.” It acts on information that has been gathered and synthesized. It is the most important function of the frontal lobes, particularly assigned to problem-solving and decision-making. Two disciplines among several others use cognitive planning and strategies for executing plans—Education whose main concern is Learning and its propagation, and Administrative Behavior, a broad spectrum that includes Management. This book is relevant for both of them.
A further new development is neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscience combines the dual approach to understanding human behavior—Symbolic and Physiological, as Simon (1992) suggested. Both approaches are now accepted as normal and natural ways of understanding underlying cognitive processes in education and administrative behavior. Both disciplines also have developed an interest in cognition and neurological functions; in education for facilitating learning; and in management, decision-making which is “the heart of administration”—Herbert Simon's notable book Administrative Behavior has the subtitle Decision-Making Processes in Administrative Organizations.
We began writing Cognitive Planning and Executive Functions 15 years after the publication of our previous book, Cognitive Planning. During that time, neuroscience, especially cognitive neuroscience, influenced almost all important disciplines that study human behavior. Of special relevance for our book's topic are Educating the Human Brain by Posner and Rothbart (2007), and propagation of neuroeconomics, and social neuroscience, for example. Our present book, therefore, takes advantage of knowledge available now in cognitive science and neuroscience, particularly neuropsychology. The next generation of books on Executive Function and Planful behavior would emerge from genomics, specially sociogenomics, as we attempt to [Page xiv]understand the role that genes play in shaping the evolution of neural circuits in the brain that influence social behavior. This would be a co-evolution of the technological, social, and cultural brain beginning at the molecular level.
Returning to the contents of this book, although much of the material is new, the book does of course contain a significant amount of information from standard sources that have existed prior to the neuroscience revolution. It attempts to be of interest to a wide range of readers.
The result is a book that has three books in one; each is predominantly directed at one of the three groups of readers—those interested in Cognitive Psychology, Education, and Management. Cognitive Psychology and Education are sisters; thus this group of readers will be interested in all of the chapters except three that are mostly about management—the roles of managers, satisficing distinguished from optimization of outcome, training senior executives for decision-making to balance rational and analytical data on the one hand, and affective and predicament situations on the other. Similarly, students in management schools may not be interested in chapters on training for reading and comprehension, and children learning math. However, all readers should have an understanding of the theory and concepts (first two chapters) and the last one that revisits important issues in the book. Education students and those interested in management may skip reading the two chapters on physiological underpinnings of the main concepts in the book—Planning, Inhibition, Shifting, Working Memory, and Intelligence. On the other hand, they may not; we have written this even for the general reader. In fact not for the experts who may find it slightly boring.
“Overview” in Introduction is the best guide for selective reading of the book; we think it is sufficiently detailed for enabling readers for selecting the chapters that would be of interest for them. One other related point: it will be noticed that some information is introduced later in the book rather than in earlier chapters, and some has been repeated. The reason is as follows: Since some readers may not read the entire book, and choose to read only a few chapters instead, important information from previous chapters that are essential for understanding a chapter at hand has been repeated.
I wish to acknowledge the contribution of people who have enabled me to write the book. John Kirby read most of the chapters in an earlier draft of the manuscript. His comments in each chapter made me work hard to revise the book. I found myself cursing him under my breath, although in every page his remarks were extremely helpful.
Rauno Parrila should have been a co-author of the book as we had planned it together some four years back; he was also a co-author with me of the previous book, Cognitive Planning. However, his interests had changed—reading and related topics in which he is quite a respected researcher. In addition to assuming other responsibilities of a senior professor, he just could not have enough time to concentrate on writing the new book with me. However, he read each chapter of the book before its final draft was prepared. He said that it was not easy for him to be critical while commenting on the chapters and communicating his remarks to me. I have tried to rewrite some parts of the book in light of his suggestions. However, he rewrote the chapter on Writing and Planning for the book (Chapter 11).
John Kirby, and 20 years later, Rauno Parrila did their PhD with me; often the thought has crossed my mind that they were paying off their debts by working diligently on the manuscript of this book. Whatever flaws you may find in the book are mine in spite of their efforts to revise it.
Sasi B. Misra, the co-author of this book, is also a former student of mine; we worked together on a few chapters on management besides preparing the end part of the book. During my trips to India, we often discussed the contents of the book.
I must also thank Jerry Carlson of University of California, Riverside, and H. Carl Haywood of Vanderbilt University for reading some parts of the book, as well as Professor Zhang Houcan of Beijing Normal University, and several students, including my granddaughter Silpi Das, for helping with editing the manuscript during the long time it has taken to write it.
Sasi Misra wishes to thank Dr Dinesh Awasthi, Director, EDI, for supporting and funding his visit to Bhubaneswar to work with me on the book. [Page xvi]He also wishes to thank Ashok Madnani, EDI, for his invaluable professional services in preparing the end part of the book.
A plan is any hierarchical process in the organism that can control the order in which a sequence of operations is to be performed. A plan is, for an organism, essentially the same as a program for a computer. (Miller, Galanter, & Pribram, 1960)
Almost half a century after the publication of the landmark book we have many more reasons to believe that human plans are not always rationally driven, nor are they impervious to unexpected influences of emotions. Although we know that reason and emotion cannot be regarded as opposites of each other, computer programs are rational. In contrast, emotions have a place in human behavior that unpredictably upsets plans. Additionally, most of our plans are influenced by unexplained inputs from unconscious sources. Finally, we may admit that our free will is not really the force that causes action. Can we nevertheless override an action in midstream through contemplation and arduous practice of inhibition and mindfulness? Obviously we can.
We introduce the topics of this book within the broad framework of questions that are asked in regard to explaining human behavior. We have chosen David Brooks, a journalist who is curious about human behavior, to raise the question. Brooks (2011) tells us of a conversation with Walter Mischel, a representative of psychology who made him curious—the conversation provides a broad background for the issues that concern cognitive planning and executive functions (EFs):
- The power of unconscious processes and the ability to change them.
- The power of emotion as a central piece in reasoning.
- The third is the deep interpenetration of people—it simply acknowledges that we are social animals; that our interactions with people, or what others might think of us, penetrate our behavior.
- The list does not explicitly mention the unmistakable power of context and the environment in which the behavior occurs. None of human prowess, not even intelligence which receives exaggerated respect, flourishes when it is not given a favorable context that includes the social cultural history of the group or community, as well as the biographical history of an individual's life's experience.[Page xviii]
- Given a chance, the veteran psychologist Mischel would like to know more about epigenesis, the most exciting area. This is especially true in the case of changes in expression of genes brought about by environmental handling of the organism. What is activated in the DNA or deactivated in the DNA? How can social events such as licking and grooming turn a rat that has been bred to be hostile into a sweetie pie?—that is important to think about. Brooks even believes that the real reason we succeed is the strength of our unconscious:
The human brain can take in 11 million pieces of information in a single moment. Yet even by generous estimates, an individual is consciously aware of maybe 40 of them. While the conscious brain is often logical and linear, the unconscious is more sensitive, more judgmental, and more perceptive (Lewis, 2011). One's emotions, intuitions, character traits, genetic inclinations and biases are located in our unconscious inner-mind. (Brooks, 2011)
We will explore the topic of decision making within the context of unconscious and conscious influences on Planning and Executive Functions in our book. We identify four strands or topics: (1) The role of rationality and emotion; (2) the search for evidence of the Planning/Executive Functions in the brain; (3) the origin of Planning/Executive Functions and their operations demonstrated in measurement of these functions; and (4) improvement of Planning/Executive Functions which lead to better performance in both educational achievements and managerial decision making.
Our first topic explains the pull between rationality and affect in decision making. Humans do not make decisions that are purely rational, nor do they make them based solely on emotion. Rather, they make decisions based on both of these factors in differing proportions, based on what is to be decided. Researchers have conducted observational studies which identify that both rationality and affect influence decisions. Therefore, this knowledge does not come solely from first-hand accounts, but is also identified in third-person observation. In the article, “Making Management Decisions: The Role of Intuition and Emotion,” Simon (1987) clearly recognized the role of intuition and emotion in making managerial decisions. This interaction between reason and affect is the first major strand that can be detected in several chapters of this book.
Researchers have studied the involvement of these two factors at the cognitive and behavioral levels. Furthermore, they have examined evidence that identifies brain activity associated with reasoning and affect. The evidence is discussed in Part II. Conditions under which failure of logic may [Page xix]occur and intuitions that may misguide planning and decision making are also presented. Managers may be cautioned to examine their decisions when these conditions are detected.
We are, however, aware of the pitfalls of attributing cognitions and behaviors to their neural correlates. New technologies for investigating neural changes may receive unconditional respect. For example, a researcher may consider an anticipated neural change in a narrow area of the brain following cognitive training as an infallible evidence for the efficacy of training, neglecting to gather behavioral and cognitive indices.
Do not try to narrowly localize a psychological function in the brain. Luria (1966) was one of the earliest neuropsychologists to suggest broad functional organizations in the brain. Shimamura (2010) supported this idea by describing narrow localizationists as “naïve.” Given below are some tips and cautionary notes:
- Understand that neural events do not cause psychological phenomenon. Simon (1992) argued that explanations occur at many levels. The laws of the molecular level do not hold at the level of neural networks, and certainly not at the behavioral level.
- The overarching goal of correlating biology with psychological factors is to identify the mapping between brain function and mental processing (Poldrack, 2010).
- Gonsalves and Cohen (2010) made an important suggestion. They argued that research should show how neuroimaging data have provided unique insights not only into brain organization but also into the organization of the mind (p. 744).
Our third topic in this book is an examination of the origin of the planning and EFs that are engaged in problem solving and how they should be measured. Popper (1972) explained that the origin of these functions comes from three worlds: World 1 is the world of physical objects; World 2 is the world of subjective experiences comprising conscious and unconscious states and psychological dispositions; and World 3 is the world of cultural products, such as language, theories in science, and objects of art, that human beings have created. Cultural predispositions and the individual's own social history impact on decision making. The cultural–historical framework following the overarching approach identified with Vygotsky (1986) is readily apparent throughout this book.
Conceptualization apart, the book presents assessment of Planning and Executive Functions as a pivotal issue. An entire chapter (Chapter 6) is [Page xx]devoted to assessment. In the subsequent chapters, we discuss specific tools that are used in assessment of cognitive competence in various contexts.
Lastly, a serious interest in improvement of planning and EFs that lead to better performance in both educational achievements and managerial decision making is an obvious strand running through the book. The last section of the book specifically discusses it at some length. Rather than didactic teaching of rules, we recommend exploration and discovery as desirable methods for cognitive tutoring.
We will end this introduction by referring to David Brooks' (2011) book, The Social Animal, in which he talked about the importance of brain research:
Gordon Brown, when he was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was in New York for some United Nations meetings and invited me for coffee at the consulate … I was describing the brain research and he said, “Well. What are the policy implications?” I really didn't have much of an answer for him so the book flew out of that question. This points out the fact that we are not so much individuals, but we are very deeply interconnected. (as cited in Lewis, 2011, pp. 28–29)
The key concept in management decision making probably is sharing experience, as we are very deeply connected individuals. Our book explores the ways and means of promoting this attitude in its final chapters. At the base of exploration is the role of metacognition in human social interaction:
Through our willingness to discuss with others the reasons for our actions and perceptions, we overcome our lack of direct access to the underlying cognitive processes. This creates the potential for us to build more accurate accounts of the world and of ourselves. I suggest, therefore, that explicit metacognition is a uniquely human ability that has evolved through its enhancement of collaborative decision-making. (Frith, 2012, p. 2213)Overview and Summaries
This book is organized into five parts and each part comprises several chapters in order to examine the four major topics of the book, respectively. Part I consists of Chapters 1 and 2. It mainly provides a background for understanding the concepts of Cognitive Processing as it subsumes Planning, Problem-solving, and Executive Functions. Part II has two chapters, Chapters 3 and 4. The neuro-correlates of Planning/Executive Functions are reviewed in this part. The following part, Part III, includes Chapters 5–7, and these three [Page xxi]chapters mainly focus on the development, uses, and assessment of Planning/Executive Functions. Part IV consists of Chapters 8–10, which focus on applications in managerial decision making and education. Lastly, Chapters 11–16 form Part V and explore how to boost decision making and planning.Part I: ConceptsChapter 1. Cognitive Planning in the Context of PASS Theory
In Chapter 1, we describe the Planning, Attention, and Simultaneous and Successive (PASS) processes. We also discuss and describe other theories of intelligence as they relate to the PASS processes. The PASS theory was built on the foundational neuropsychological work of Luria, who in turn studied Pavlov's theories of excitation and inhibition. Pavlov carried out experiments to support that even dogs differ in their predisposition to excitation and inhibition, and their inclination to shift from one to the other when conditions demand it. These are the rudimentary components required in human cognitive planning to which Luria added the important role played by language in higher mental activities, including planning.
In this chapter, we identify how PASS processes, including planning and executive functioning, may be presented in the brain. We use current research in attention deficit disorders and reading acquisition to highlight the localization of PASS functions. Finally, we suggest that a comprehensive theory of cognitive functions should have instruments for assessment. EFs, which are best described as a fusion of planning and attention, are in need of assessment devices. We explore this in subsequent chapters, because we find that in searching for suitable assessment instruments, we examine and clarify the concept of EF.Chapter 2. Models of Planning: Past and Current
Planning, the first component of the PASS theory, is a broader category than problem-solving. According to Popper (1972), problems may arise from three sources: the physical world, the psychological world, or the cultural world. Human beings are either confronted with problems that they must solve, or they select a problem from their environment. Problems can be broken into two main types: those that require logical deliberations and those that require emotional responses. Yet, categorization of problems is more complex, because all problems require logical and affective responses to some degree. Following selection, we may create a plan for its resolution. The plan is [Page xxii]guided by (a) one's goals and objectives and (b) the internal conditions, such as moods, personality, and predispositions, of the individual.
We present a generic analysis of plans for problem solving and suggest a template where the physical, the psychological, and the cultural worlds exist at both the top and bottom of the diagram (Figure 2.1). Sandwiched between these two repeated templates are the selection of a problem (arising out of the problem field), its internal representation, and an action plan for problem resolution. Each person has goals and objectives that are influenced by their internal predispositions. The combination of goals and objectives and internal predispositions leads the person to a plan of action. In this way our goals and objectives shape our actions as much as our urge to act.Part II: Planning and Executive Functions and the BrainChapter 3. Deconstructing Executive Functions
EFs and Planning are separate but dependent functions. Executing a plan and regulating the response thus executed are the general functions of an executive. On the other hand, planning or problem solving involves at least four distinct activities: (a) finding a problem; (b) generating strategies for its solution; (c) selecting an appropriate strategy; and (d) executing the planned action.
EFs have successful outcomes when shifting strategies according to situational demands, and old habits of mind or pre-potent responses that are now maladaptive are inhibited. Is EF distinct from intelligence? The two elements of EF, Shifting and Inhibition, have negligible correlations with intelligence. Is working memory a part of general intelligence? It appears to be so and thus not a core component unique to EF.
The concept that combines both planning and attention is EF. It aspires to organize the constructs of working memory capacity and general fluid intelligence, and relate these to the functions of prefrontal cortex (PFC). The two PASS processes, Planning and Attention, provide measures of EF through the cognitive assessment system (CAS). Luria had observed planning to be located in the prefrontal area of the frontal lobes in the brain. His original observation has been confirmed by brain-imaging studies that continue to focus on this area. In conclusion of this chapter, it is suggested that the search for specific regions of the brain for cognitive functions, such as Intelligence, Working Memory, EF and Executive-Attention, may advance our understanding of their relationships.
[Page xxiii]Both logical and rational problem solving, and emotional problem solving require the use of planning. EFs are distinct from intelligence measured by standardized IQ-type tests and include some of the following variables: preparation for action, inhibition control, self-monitoring, and flexibility and shifting of mental sets. Although all of these require planning in order to be carried out, brain research has found that EFs do not lie in the frontal lobes where planning resides, but rather in the back of the brain where consciousness is found. Planning and consciousness are two unique human brain functions.Chapter 4. Executive Functions, Planning, and Intelligence: Can Brain Localization Help?
The brain region specifically linked to EF is the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) with its two distinct functional blocks: the ventrolateral and the dorsolateral. All decision making and planning involve both of these sites to a greater or lesser extent. Yet each of these blocks is associated with a specific task. The ventral part is generally engaged in retrieval and selection of information in order for it to be used in carrying out a planned sequence of activities. The medial part of the ventrolateral block contains emotions and the so-called social brain. The dorsolateral part, in contrast, is the seat of reasoning. It is linked to higher levels of planning.
Some researchers have suggested that general intelligence is found in both the frontal regions and the posterior regions, such as the parietal area. Thus, executive functioning and general intelligence could have locations in the brain that overlap substantially. However, posterior parts of the brain appear to be involved only when executive demands are minimal. Working memory is not strictly an EF, although it is in specific regions of the PFC. Working memory will be viewed as a part of intelligence, separate from executive functioning.Part III: Attention, Planning, and Executive Functions: AssessmentChapter 5. Separating Planning and Attention
Planning and attention are separate but interdependent areas of PASS theory. While planning is used in problem solving, among other functions, attention is a mental process by which an individual selectively registers some stimuli while ignoring others. The distinction between planning and attention is [Page xxiv]supported by the study of atypical cases, which include attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and autism.
Individuals with autism perform poorly in tests of executive functioning. This is even true for those with Asperger's syndrome, the least severe form of autism. Individuals with FAS have deficits in planning operations. Yet individuals with attention deficits can be placed into two distinct groups: those who are only inattentive (ADD) and those who are hyperactive and impulsive (ADHD). Although individuals with autism and individuals with ADHD may both be weak in executive functioning, these observations are based on meta-analyses. A closer examination of those with autism may not support executive functioning as the distinct marker for autism. Weaknesses in other cognitive processes may be responsible for autism.Chapter 6. Assessments: History and Selected Studies
In this chapter we present a variety of tests that are used currently to measure planning and executive functioning. EFs are conceptually presented as processes that require set-shifting and inhibition of a habitual response.
One test that is described at length is the Crack-the-Code test. It measures higher order planning as well as complex problem solving. Crack-the-Code measures deliberate planning as opposed to tests that measure affective planning and decision making. We also describe the Predicament test (Channon & Crawford, 1999, 2004), which consists of several scenarios that involve affective rather than deliberate planning and decision making. Lastly, we include another possible measure of planning, Composition tests for children.
We have described each of these tests in sufficient detail so that this chapter can also be used as an independent testing manual for selected tests of executive functioning.Part IV: Applications in Management and EducationChapter 8. Rational and Irrational in Managerial Behavior
In the business world, top managers must perform a variety of duties that require problem solving, decision making, planning, and goal setting. Yet, managers differ in their abilities to make decisions. The chapter's focus is on [Page xxv]cognitive processes that lead some managers to continuously make excellent managerial decisions. Two of the reasons for excellence were that top managers had a superior knowledge base and a superior generic competence for planning. Apart from cognitive factors, motivation plays an important role. However, the motivation behind reasoning may be a liability at times since it can distort rationality. Decision making can be marred by the failure of logic that is forced upon managers because they are required to take decisions under conditions of uncertainty.
In order to improve one's performance in decision making, can strategies be taught? We suggest that teaching strategies through formal instruction will not be effective. The alternative to formal instruction is teaching through experience. While many managers would be able to execute the programs once these are laid out in front of them, only a few would exhibit anticipatory programming, flexible use of information, and consistent changes in their plans as they approached a goal.
We take up the training for enhancement of planning and decision making again in Chapter 12.Chapter 9. Cognitive Competence and Managerial Behavior
Decision making and planning require a rational attitude, which must be objective, but humanistic approaches foster or facilitate innovative and creative solutions rather than rational and objective ones. A good planner is one who can anticipate problems in securing a goal, especially when the goal is beneficial for the whole organization. A good planner also anticipates action.
Empirical studies reported that when studying a group of executives in New York, their supervisors' ratings and their performance in the Crack-the-Code test were predictive of each other. In a different study of executives in eastern India, significant correlation is found between supervisor's ratings and planning component in a composition.
A schematic diagram is presented at the end of the chapter; it shows the following connections: Planning is the common pathway connected to biological and cultural sources. It is expressed through an executive's behavior, supervisor's rating of an executive behavior, and tests of essay composition and the Crack-the-Code test.Chapter 10. The Influence of Emotions and Will
This chapter provides a brief introduction on emotions following Herbert Simon's suggestion of the role of synthetic, intuitive thinking. Next, it considers conscious will: Is it a force, or a feeling, or is it an illusion?
[Page xxvi]Moving on, the chapter briefly examines the complex concept of consciousness and its role in decision making from the Euro-American and the East Indian perspectives. Is there a little man, a homunculus, who makes decisions?
It then considers an existing theory of Planning as a cognitive process. Although planning is already discussed in several previous chapters, the context for discussion is provided by a case history of an entrepreneur. It examines and highlights the infusion of emotional determinants at each step of the decision-making process of the individual.
A special consideration is given to satisficing: As you regulate and execute the plan, and anticipate the difficulties that might arise while executing the plan, your representation of the problem keeps on getting adjusted. Given the circumstances, what would be the most satisfying outcome, as opposed to the best one?
The chapter ends as it begins, with a discussion of analytic and synthetic modes. At the end is its beginning, paraphrasing a line from Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot. Dual systems variously named as rational and emotional, reason and affect, System 1 and System 2 are essentially alternative names. One of them is deliberate, slow, and rule-bound thinking; the other is an associative, automatic, and fast system. Each has a distinct location in the brain that, if proved beyond doubt, would have significant implications in understanding decision making related to neuroeconomics.Part V: Enhancement of Educational Achievement and Decision MakingChapter 11. Planning in Writing: Compositions and Oral Narratives
The first part of the chapter is concerned with writing. Composition of an essay or a narrative requires all the major executive processes. An overall plan needs to be maintained while writing an essay (such as the strategic essay described in Chapter 9) or composing a narrative. Models of writing as these relate to language and planning are presented, including the views of Vygotsky and Luria. Contemporary views of the gap between the intention of a writer and the written product are also discussed. The writer is aware of an unseen audience, and hence creates a mock reader as pen is put on paper.
Speaking and writing are therefore quite different; we speak to listener(s), and have much less time to plan and perform grammatically as there is a [Page xxvii]demand to continue speaking. This is one of the major differences between speaking and written narratives—speaking allows inadequate time to go back and plan as we do in writing.
As expected, studies reported in the chapter show that good writers are indeed better in tests of Planning than poor ones. However, in regard to children's writing, a certain degree of maturity in writing must develop, as by Grade 6, before the impact of cognitive processes on writing can be discerned.
Differences between oral and written narratives are considered in the last part of the chapter. Both kinds of output by the same participants were judged in terms of quality of composition using five skills: expression, organization, individuality, grammar, and wording. Surprisingly, the two narratives loaded on two different factors. Unplanned oral narratives are spontaneous as in extemporaneous speech. A model for structural equation depicting the relationships among the Planning measures on the one hand and written narrative production on the other was proposed.Chapter 12. Verbalization Enhances Planning: Application in Education
Verbalization boosts Planning because it allows one to formulate strategies for solving a similar problem and regulates activity through one's own overt or covert speech. Several experiments are presented in support of how verbalization helps poor planners. As a theoretical context for the verbalization procedure, the method of dynamic assessment or interactive assessment is then introduced. Of special interest in these studies is the finding that the positive effect of concurrent, overt verbalization boosts problem solving specifically for poor planners, and not for those who have adequate planning although both groups have low performance prior to verbalization. Overt verbalization also seems to prevent quick deterioration of detailed visual information.Chapter 13. Math Learning
Planning helps children do mathematics. In order to approach the teaching of mathematics within the framework of Planning, there are some questions we must first ask. For example, what cognitive processes are involved in mathematics? Can the benefits of verbalization be extended to teaching mathematics? Processing strategies are obviously important for competent performance in both reading and math. Specific issues in math performance are discussed, including the foundational concepts of number line, size, and value. Math disability is also reviewed, in conjunction or as separate from reading disability.
[Page xxviii]Selected experiments on arithmetic improvement through verbalization are summarized in order to facilitate planning. Interactive assessment and cognitive intervention including self-generated verbalization are constructive ways for enhancement of Planning. The studies show how a dynamic approach targets the cognitive processing of the individual learner, as well as the construction of both test material and testing situation.Chapter 14. Two Programs for Cognitive Strategy Training
We present two intervention programs in this chapter: PREP for reading and COGENT for getting ready for learning in school. The programs have been used in several experimental and clinical studies and have proved to be effective. Our aim in this chapter is to discuss the essential features of the tasks that are derived from the theoretical base, PASS, and especially, from Vygotsky and Luria as discussed in the two previous chapters on verbalization. An important feature common to both verbalization, PREP and COGENT, is the use of an interactive or dynamic approach that facilitates reflective discussion. Inasmuch as it utilizes dynamic assessment and interactive learning for strategy training, the chapter has a focus relevant to Planning and EF.
Together with the previous chapter on writing and math, the present one on reading and comprehension showcases the application of strategy training in education. We then pass on to cognitive training in management in the next chapter.Chapter 15. Planning and Decision Making: Training for Enhancement
This is the last of the group of three chapters, that is then followed by Chapter 16 that presents an overall review of the book. This is especially applicable to management, whereas the two previous chapters have obvious importance for education.
Decision making precedes an impending action, whereas planning is anticipatory decision making. Is ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) the location of decision making in the brain? VMPFC is the area mostly associated with risk, fear, and the economic value of decisions. Decision making assumes self-efficacy and conscious choices. The role of an agent as the decision-maker is then examined. However, affect and other unconscious conditions influence even the most rational decision. The chapter discusses Executive Intelligence, and Emotional Intelligence in some detail because of their special relevance for management decision making. Some procedures for improvement of decision making, especially in regard to human relations training, are elaborated. Procedures for coping with affect-laden situations and interactive tutoring in [Page xxix]small groups are presented as possibilities for enhancement of decision making that combines feelings and reasoning. Essentially such procedures encourage discovery of the participants' own personalities and the predispositions of others. Finally, compassionate decision making is a new element that is gaining favor as we give importance to affect and not exclusively to rational aspects of decision making. These last three chapters (Chapters 13–15) reaffirm the uses and applications of Planning and Executive functions in education and management.Chapter 16. Revisits and Reprise
Selected concepts are revisited and some outstanding issues are discussed again at the end of the book. To begin with, Planning and Executive Functions are overlapping concepts, and sometimes used interchangeably. Yet, plans do not have to be executed, and outcomes of execution are not actively evaluated for subsequent action. Executive control is the central characteristic of EF. Control of one's own behavior and the behavior of others whom the senior executive supervises refers to the ability to guide and control; that is to be done according to the goals of the individual or that of an organization. Brain mechanisms engaged in Executive Control are partly common to both Planning and EF, but EF also activates other parts of the brain not shared during Planning. Because of these reasons, Executive Control, then, is a better name for Executive Function.
Decisions that need deliberation and reasoning are distinguished from those laden with emotion—this has been a frequent topic discussed in several chapters of this book. The two kinds of decisions are further distinguished by activation of some shared and some unshared parts of the brain. The two kinds are often discussed as the dual systems, System 1 and System 2, as though there exist two minds in one brain. The discussion in the chapter then moves on to reconsider intuition and deliberate reasoning. But the two systems influence each other—faulty intuitive decisions, for example, may be inhibited by inputs from deliberate reasoning.
Let us believe that intuition and non-logical thinking need not always be accessible to consciousness. Intuitive thinking, as mentioned earlier, becomes essential when the problem situation is extremely complex and quite novel.
The brain responds positively to experience and instruction. Neuroplasticity is the technical name for this phenomenon, and scientific evidence has begun to support the idea that the brain is made to respond to change by creating new neural pathways throughout life. This is important to know in order to understand how changes in educational achievements or improvements in managerial decision making are brought about by strategy training.
[Page xxx]New thinking on training strategies for improvement in reading, comprehension, and learning mathematics involves educational technologies. Changes in executive decision making likewise can be studied by using recently developed technologies, like brain imaging.
Development of human cognition is sensitive to technological, social, and cultural evolution. Clearly, a fusion of rational approach of Western thinking and the necessity for a contemplative approach from the Eastern traditions could be the next step for research on training managers and executives. Co-evolution is a model for changes in human behavior mediated by genes that evolve in interaction with technological, social, and cultural changes. There will be many ways to explain it. Thus the search for explaining human behavior will continue infinitely. Predicting and controlling it is a bonus, as we learn from David Deutsch in The Beginning of Infinity.
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About the Authors[Page 327]
J.P. Das is an Indo-Canadian psychologist and an internationally recognized expert in Intelligence. Among his major contributions to psychology is the PASS (Planning, Attention, Simultaneous, and Successive) theory of intelligence. He is currently engaged in expanding planning to include executive functions. What might be the implications of these higher mental activities for education as well as management behavior is the topic of this book.
Professor Das is an Emeritus Director of the Centre on Developmental & Learning Disabilities (named after him) at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and Emeritus Professor in Educational Psychology. He has authored and co-authored over a dozen of books and contributed more than 300 research papers to international journals and edited volumes. His earlier published titles with SAGE include Cognitive Planning: The Psychological Basis of Intelligent Behaviour (1996, co-authored with Binod C. Kar and Rauno K. Parrila); The Working Mind (1998); Reading Difficulties and Dyslexia: An Interpretation for Teachers (2009); and Consciousness Quest: East Meets West (2014).
Sasi B. Misra is Institute Professor, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI), Gandhinagar since 2004. At EDI, he is the Editor of The Journal of Entrepreneurship; Chair, Centre for Research in Entrepreneurship Education and Development (CREED).
He (with Kanungo) has advanced the Theory of Human Resourcefulness (1992) and has published with Sherry Chand Institution Building: An International Perspective on Management Education (1999). He has over 50 research papers in academic and professional journals of repute.