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document updated 4 months ago, on Mar 14, 2024

executive function

This video is a pretty accessible overview of the current academic thinking around executive function.

'Executive function' is defined as: goal-directed problem-solving, and goal-directed persistence. It contains five parts:

  1. The ability to inhibit your behavior — To stop what you're doing, in order to allow the other executive functions to be able to take over.
  2. The ability to use visual imagery — Often called "non-verbal working memory". These are mental maps to guide your behavior toward the intended target, and to remember the sequence of steps necessary to accomplish that goal.
  3. The ability to talk to yourself, as a form of self-guidance. — This mind's voice is often called "verbal working memory".
  4. The ability to control your emotions, and with it, your motivations. — While emotions are beneficial, we need to be able to moderate strong emotions to achieve goals such as long-term welfare.
  5. The ability to plan and problem-solve — Discover novel combinations that might serve to overcome obstacles to our goals.