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Executive Function of Self

Definition

The executive function of self refers to the internal capacity to choose and to direct one's own behavior. Although behavior undoubtedly is shaped by forces outside of one's control, including genetics, cultural norms, and happenstance, some behavior is consciously intended and therefore shaped in part by the person. The executive function of self is used whenever people plan, choose, or control their own actions.

An appropriate analogy is to a chief executive officer (CEO) of a complex organization or business. In business, most daily affairs proceed without the direct oversight or awareness of the CEO, yet the CEO makes key choices and is ultimately responsible for charting the course of the organization. In daily life, most individual behavior also is accomplished without executive guidance, yet the ...

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