What is Executive Functioning

Executive functions are self-regulatory, high-ordered, and cognitive processing that are goal-driven behaviors or thoughts pertaining to complex problems or novel circumstances. Executive function comes in three domains; inhibition, flexibility, and working memory. There are individual differences with executive functioning. Training can strengthen executive functioning. Executive functioning occurs in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex (Nigg, 2000; Faja, 2015; Powell & Voeller, 2004; Zelazo, Blair, Willoughby, 2017). 

     Image result for executive functioning                 Photo credits: Musingsofanaspie. Retrieved from https://musingsofanaspie.com/2014/01/07/executive-function-primer-part-1...

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Executive Functioning Study

Studies such as Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S. (2007) indicates that executive functioning skills are strongly related to math, reading, and IQ scores. Their study included 147 preschool children. The children were studied under two groups. One group had two years of Executive Functioning training curriculum (Tool) that aides managing memory and attention. The other group of preschoolers had District’s Version of Balanced Library Curriculum (dBL) that does not focus on executive functioning but the rest of the curriculum is the same content. The children were administered Flanker tests (memory tests) and Dot Tests (Inhibition Test). Results showed preschoolers with the (Tool) curriculum did significantly better than the (dBL) group. Working memory and inhibition control directly relates to better reading and math skills (Diamond et al., 2007).

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                                                  Tools children (gray) performed better on measures of EF than dBL children (red) did

(A) The dependent measure is percentage of correct responses. (B) The dependent measure is percentage of children passing the pretest for this task. 

PC: [Modified] Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S. (2007). The early years - Preschool program improves cognitive control. Science. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2174918/