Executive Function

/Executive Function
Executive Function 2018-05-08T17:14:46+00:00

How Executive Function Impacts Your Classroom

ACTIVATE™ categorizes executive function skills into 8 core cognitive capacities. These cognitive capacities form the building blocks for all learning.

Sustained Attention

  • Clinical Definition

    Directed focus on a stimulus for the duration of a cognitive task.

  • Everyday Definition

    Basic ability to look at listen to and think about tasks over a period of time.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The Student often has a hard time paying attention in class.

  • Impact on Academics

    With ACTIVATE™, the student is able to learn more complex and lengthy material because of their ability to focus better.

  • Impact on Behavior

    With ACTIVATE™, the student can pay attention in the lesson even when the material is not “attention-getting”.

Working Memory

  • Clinical Definition

    Refers to a brain system that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for such complex cognitive tasks as language comprehension, learning, and reasoning.

  • Everyday Definition

    Ability to remember instructions or keep information top of mind long enough to perform tasks.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The student often can’t recall instructions that have just been given to them or a passage they’ve just read.

  • Impact on Academics

    With ACTIVATE™, students can better remember instructions for tasks and assignment as well as what they just read.

  • Impact on Behavior

    With ACTIVATE™, students are able to stay on task longer, recall information better, and stay more organized.

Speed of Information Processing

  • Clinical Definition

    The measure of cognitive efficiency that involves the ability to automatically and fluently perform relatively easy or over-learned cognitive tasks.

  • Everyday Definition

    The ability to process basic incoming information quickly and efficiently.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The student gets frustrated easily when the teacher is trying to explain something. They feel as if they can’t keep up during class and tend to give up quickly.

  • Impact on Academics

    With ACTIVATE™, the student is able to keep up with the lesson better, and process basic information given without any problems.

  • Impact on Behavior

    With ACTIVATE™, students are able to stay on task longer, recall information better, and stay more organized.

Response Inhibition

  • Clinical Definition

    Refers to the suppression of actions that are no longer required or that are inappropriate, which supports flexible and goal-directed behavior in ever-changing environments.

  • Everyday Definition

    Ability to control your response to distractions or events/situations going on around you.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The student is easily distracted by any small interruption. The student does not work well in a team or classroom environment.

  • Impact on Academics

    With ACTIVATE™, the student is able to better control their response to distractions and therefore increase their ability to learn and be successful in all areas.

  • Impact on Behavior

    The student can minimize distractions such as outside noises or their friend passing in the hall and focus on the task at hand.

Cognitive Flexibility

  • Clinical Definition

    The ability to restructure knowledge in multiple ways depending on the changing situational demands.

  • Everyday Definition

    Ability to think creatively or “outside the box” when presented with a difficult problem or situation.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The student is quickly frustrated when an immediate solution does not present itself. If things are taken out of context they aren’t able to process the information.

  • Impact on Academics

    The student is able to better attack problems from different angles and change their thinking when one solution isn’t working.

  • Impact on Behavior

    This ability helps the student minimize frustration when they can’t find the right solution and helps them to look for new solutions.

Category Formation

  • Clinical Definition

    The ability to organize information, concepts and skills into categories, and forms the cognitive basis for higher-level abilities like applying, analyzing, and evaluating those concepts and skills.

  • Everyday Definition

    The ability to prioritize tasks and organize information in a way that makes you more efficient.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The student often has a hard time recognizing like characteristics between objects, especially if the criteria change.

  • Impact on Academics

    Category formation is the basis for higher level abilities like applying, analyzing, and evaluating concepts which allows students to better succeed academically.

  • Impact on Behavior

    With ACTIVATE™, the student can categorize incoming information to better help them solve problems as well as improve memory.

Pattern Formation

  • Clinical Definition

    The special ability of the human brain to not only find patterns, but figure out in a logical way what those patterns suggest about what will happen next.

  • Everyday Definition

    Combining past experience, intuition, and common sense to recognize patterns gives us the ability to predict what will happen next with some degree of accuracy.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The student has difficulty recognizing patterns and when shown a pattern is not able to conclude what that pattern infers about future events.

  • Impact on Academics

    The student is better able to recognize patterns and use critical thinking skills to help them decide what those patterns mean.

  • Impact on Behavior

    The student is better able to form a basis for Inductive thinking, which also impacts other executive functions of the brain.

Multiple Simultaneous Attention

  • Clinical Definition

    It is the ability to move attention and effort back and forth between two or more activities when engaged in them at the same time.

  • Everyday Definition

    The ability to multitask with success.

  • Identifying Deficit

    The student is easily frustrated when subjects change quickly. The student can only focus on one thing at a time and loses focus if anything new is introduced.

  • Impact on Academics

    Ability to quickly switch between subject matters or activities better. It allows the student to develop skills such as planning and strategy.

  • Impact on Behavior

    Students that are able to multitask are able to keep up with tasks throughout the day and tend not to get frustrated when routines are changed.

Request a Copy of the Scientific Paper

Learn more about the cognitive neuroscience behind ACTIVATE™ in the scientific justification paper by Dr. Bruce Wexler.