Executive functions

  • Huizinga M
  • Baeyens D
  • Ouwehand C
 et al. 
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Abstract

Waiting until called upon when a teacher asks a question; completing a history assignment well in advance of the deadline, because the days immediately leading up to the weekend are so busy with birthday parties that there will not be enough time for schoolwork; and performing a calculation without making use of pencil and paper. Each of these is an example of executive functions, which are essential cognitive processes that enable complex goal-directed behavior. Executive functions are used in nearly every activity, yet they develop slowly, as mature levels are reached only in (late) adolescence. Particularly problematic or delayed executive functions are often associated with psychiatric and developmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this entry, we first provide an overview of the most important executive functions and their developmental pattern. Subsequently, we discuss implications for diagnostics and interventions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • executive function, childhood development, cogniti

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Authors

  • Mariette Huizinga

  • Dieter Baeyens

  • Carolijn Ouwehand

  • Jacob A Burack

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