Executive Function, part 1

Do you ever put your hand or fingers to your forehead as you think something out? It’s like cupping or stoking the thought process in action. The area just behind your forehead is the prefrontal cortex, and it acts like a director, directing the recall of information stored in various parts of the brain. This recall is possible because the frontal lobes are very well connected, indeed, almost to all the other areas of your brain. The processes of planning, organizing and carrying out plans, collectively known as executive function, all rely on the prefrontal cortex.

AboutKidsHealth has a series of six articles that explain executive function at various developmental stages, the issues that arise when EF does not function properly, and discussion of ways to train EF.

What is executive function?
The development of executive function in infancy and early childhood
The development of executive function across the lifespan
Brain growth and the development of executive function
What happens when the development of executive function goes awry?
Training executive function

Along those last lines, I’ve previously referenced this June 2008 Newsweek article by Wray Herbert, Is EF the New IQ? Herbert mentions how students at the lower school level are being trained to manage their executive functioning, and postulates that perhaps this type of training is as important as basic subject and skills training.

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