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Executive Functioning

Executive functioning (EF) refers to the coordination of many complex cognitive processes and behaviors, including planning, working memory (WM), inhibition, mental flexibility, and the initiation/monitoring of tasks individuals use to achieve a goal. EF begins to develop in infancy and continues to develop through adolescence and early adulthood. EF plays an important role in cognitive, behavioral, social, and emotional functioning across the life span.

To understand the umbrella term EF, it is helpful to understand the meaning of its components. WM allows an individual to both store and process incoming information simultaneously. For example, WM is activated when an individual is told a telephone number and then needs to remember that number while dialing it at the same time. Inhibitory control (also referred to as effortful ...

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