Friday, 15 February 2013

Executive Function Brief Conceptualisation

Executive function is sometimes thought of as the functional equivalent of the frontal lobes. In 1982 Cummings proposed a fronto-straital circuits account of executive functioning and how it relates to structural circuits between the straitum located subcortically as part of the input to the basal ganglia, and the frontal lobes. In terms of executive function three specific areas are important within the fronto-straital circuits: the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is typically concerned with tradional executive functions of planning, organisation and regulation. The orbitofrontal cortex (behind the orbits of the eye sockets) is more concenred with inhibition and decision making and social cogntion. Whilst the anterior cingulate is concerned with motivation. Dr Simon Gerhand of Bristol's Frenchay Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, practically summarises executive tests into the following: Executive function test types. Generativety: verbal fluency, design fluency. These are probably the only executive tests which lateralise. Planning: Tower test, zoo map test, Key search test, SET. Judgement: cognitive estimates, 20 questions, temporal judgement. Inhibition: Stroop, Hayling. Mental flexibility: Trails, Brixton, rule shift, WCST. Social-emotional: Baron Cohen E-Q and faux pas (not standardised) A way of remembering these dichotomies is: 'GP Jim's' model of executive function tests.

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