What are Executive Functions?

Although there is as yet not one universally-accepted definition of Executive Functions, .  the examples below illustrate some of the common elements generally found among varying definitions.

Supervisory and self-regulatory functions that organize and direct cognitive activity, emotional response, and overt behavior.”  (Gioia et al, 2002)

“The management system of the brain.” (Brown, 2006)

A set of multiple cognitive processes that act in a coordinated way to direct perception, emotion, cognition, and motor functions.   (McCloskey, 2007)

Synthesis of definitions:

Executive Functions are multiple and interrelated higher level brain processes that direct how we monitor and manage our thoughts, emotions, and actions.   


—Team of conductors/co-conductors of a mental ability orchestra

Coaches for a mental ability football team

Graphic Representation:

The dynamic interrelationships that have been described as as “Hill, Skill, and Will” are represented below.







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