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Executive functions

Index Executive functions

Executive functions (collectively referred to as executive function and cognitive control) are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals. [1]

122 relations: Aboulia, Addiction, Akinetic mutism, Alan Baddeley, Amygdala, Anterior cingulate cortex, Antonio Damasio, Anxiety disorder, Apathy, Attention, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Attentional control, Auditory cortex, Autism, Autism spectrum, Basal ganglia, Behavior, Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Bipolar disorder, Brain damage, Catechol-O-methyltransferase, Caudate nucleus, Central nervous system disease, Cerebellum, Chocolate cake, Classical conditioning, Cognition, Cognitive flexibility, Cognitive inhibition, Cognitive neuropsychology, Continuous performance task, Decision-making, Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System, Don Norman, Donald Broadbent, Dopamine, Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, Dysexecutive syndrome, Electrophysiology, Emotion, Endophenotype, Event-related potential, Executive (government), Executive dysfunction, Face perception, Fluid and crystallized intelligence, Frontal lobe, Functional integration, Functional magnetic resonance imaging, Functional neuroimaging, ..., Gain (electronics), Hayling and Brixton tests, Hippocampus, Human, Information processing, Inhibitory control, Interview, Iowa gambling task, Joaquin Fuster, Language, Learning, Left- and right-hand traffic, Limbic system, Macaque, Major depressive disorder, Memory, Memory inhibition, Mental calculation, Metacognition, Michael Posner (psychologist), Motivation, Motor cortex, Myelin, Neuroimaging, Neurology, Neuron, Neuropsychological assessment, Neuropsychological test, Neuropsychology, Nonverbal learning disorder, Observation, Operant conditioning, Orbitofrontal cortex, Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, Parkinson's disease, Pediatric Attention Disorders Diagnostic Screener, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Phineas Gage, Planning, Positron emission tomography, Prefrontal cortex, Premotor cortex, Primate, Problem solving, Purkinje cell, Reason, Reinforcement, Reward system, Rey–Osterrieth complex figure, Richard Shiffrin, Russell Barkley, Schema (psychology), Schizophrenia, Self-control, Sensitivity and specificity, Sensory cortex, Short-term memory, Social skills, Stimulus control, Stroop effect, Subthalamic nucleus, Supervisory attentional system, Test of Variables of Attention, Theory of mind, Tim Shallice, Tower of London test, Trail Making Test, Trevor Robbins, Visual cortex, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, Working memory, Yerkes–Dodson law. Expand index (72 more) »


Aboulia or abulia (from βουλή, meaning "will",Bailly, A. (2000). Dictionnaire Grec Français, Éditions Hachette. with the prefix -a), in neurology, refers to a lack of will or initiative and can be seen as a disorder of diminished motivation (DDM).

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Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences.

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Akinetic mutism

Akinetic mutism is a medical term describing patients tending neither to move (akinesia) nor speak (mutism).

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Alan Baddeley

Alan David Baddeley, CBE, FRS, FMedSci (born 23 March 1934) is a British psychologist.

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The amygdala (plural: amygdalae; also corpus amygdaloideum; Latin from Greek, ἀμυγδαλή, amygdalē, 'Almond', 'tonsil') is one of two almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep and medially within the temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates, including humans.

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Anterior cingulate cortex

The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is the frontal part of the cingulate cortex that resembles a "collar" surrounding the frontal part of the corpus callosum.

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Antonio Damasio

Antonio Damasio (António Damásio) is a Portuguese-American neuroscientist.

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Anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear.

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Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern.

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Attention, also referred to as enthrallment, is the behavioral and cognitive process of selectively concentrating on a discrete aspect of information, whether deemed subjective or objective, while ignoring other perceivable information.

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental type.

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Attentional control

Attentional control refers to an individual's capacity to choose what they pay attention to and what they ignore.

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Auditory cortex

The primary auditory cortex is the part of the temporal lobe that processes auditory information in humans and other vertebrates.

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Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by troubles with social interaction and communication and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

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Autism spectrum

Autism spectrum, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a range of conditions classified as neurodevelopmental disorders.

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Basal ganglia

The basal ganglia (or basal nuclei) is a group of subcortical nuclei, of varied origin, in the brains of vertebrates including humans, which are situated at the base of the forebrain.

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Behavior (American English) or behaviour (Commonwealth English) is the range of actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organisms, systems, or artificial entities in conjunction with themselves or their environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the (inanimate) physical environment.

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Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function

The Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) is an assessment of executive function behaviors at home and at school for children and adolescents ages 5–18.

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Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of abnormally elevated mood.

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Brain damage

Brain damage or brain injury (BI) is the destruction or degeneration of brain cells.

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Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of several enzymes that degrade catecholamines (such as dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine), catecholestrogens, and various drugs and substances having a catechol structure.

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Caudate nucleus

The caudate nucleus is one of the structures that make up the dorsal striatum, which is a component of the basal ganglia.

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Central nervous system disease

Central nervous system diseases, also known as central nervous system disorders, are a group of neurological disorders that affect the structure or function of the brain or spinal cord, which collectively form the central nervous system (CNS).

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The cerebellum (Latin for "little brain") is a major feature of the hindbrain of all vertebrates.

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Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake or Chocolate gateau (from French: gâteau au chocolat) is a cake flavored with melted chocolate, cocoa powder, or both.

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Classical conditioning

Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning) refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell).

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Cognition is "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses".

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Cognitive flexibility

Cognitive flexibility has been described as the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.

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Cognitive inhibition

Cognitive inhibition refers to the mind's ability to tune out stimuli that are irrelevant to the task/process at hand or to the mind's current state.

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Cognitive neuropsychology

Cognitive neuropsychology is a branch of cognitive psychology that aims to understand how the structure and function of the brain relates to specific psychological processes.

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Continuous performance task

A continuous performance task, continuous performance test, or CPT, is any of several kinds of neuropsychological test that measures a person's sustained and selective attention.

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In psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities.

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Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System

The Delis–Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) is a neuropsychological test used to measure a variety of verbal and nonverbal executive functions for both children and adults (ages 8–89 years).

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Don Norman

Donald Arthur Norman (born December 25, 1935) is the director of The Design Lab at University of California, San Diego.

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Donald Broadbent

Donald Eric (D.E.) Broadbent FRS (Birmingham, 6 May 1926 – 10 April 1993) was an influential experimental psychologist from the UK His career and research bridged the gap between the pre-World War II approach of Sir Frederic Bartlett and what became known as Cognitive Psychology in the late 1960s.

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Dopamine (DA, a contraction of 3,4-dihydroxyphenethylamine) is an organic chemical of the catecholamine and phenethylamine families that plays several important roles in the brain and body.

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Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC or DL-PFC) is an area in the prefrontal cortex of the brain of humans and non-human primates.

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Dysexecutive syndrome

Dysexecutive syndrome (DES) consists of a group of symptoms, usually resulting from brain damage, that fall into cognitive, behavioural and emotional categories and tend to occur together.

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Electrophysiology (from Greek ἥλεκτρον, ēlektron, "amber"; φύσις, physis, "nature, origin"; and -λογία, -logia) is the study of the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues.

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Emotion is any conscious experience characterized by intense mental activity and a certain degree of pleasure or displeasure.

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Endophenotype is a genetic epidemiology term which is used to separate behavioral symptoms into more stable phenotypes with a clear genetic connection.

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Event-related potential

An event-related potential (ERP) is the measured brain response that is the direct result of a specific sensory, cognitive, or motor event.

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Executive (government)

The executive is the organ exercising authority in and holding responsibility for the governance of a state.

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Executive dysfunction

In psychology and neuroscience, executive dysfunction, or executive function deficit, is a disruption to the efficacy of the executive functions, which is a group of cognitive processes that regulate, control, and manage other cognitive processes.

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Face perception

Face perception is an individual's understanding and interpretation of the face, particularly the human face, especially in relation to the associated information processing in the brain.

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Fluid and crystallized intelligence

In psychology, fluid and crystallized intelligence (respectively abbreviated Gf and Gc) are factors of general intelligence, originally identified by Raymond Cattell.

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Frontal lobe

The frontal lobe, located at the front of the brain, is the largest of the four major lobes of the cerebral cortex in the mammalian brain.

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Functional integration

Functional integration is a collection of results in mathematics and physics where the domain of an integral is no longer a region of space, but a space of functions.

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Functional magnetic resonance imaging

Functional magnetic resonance imaging or functional MRI (fMRI) measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow.

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Functional neuroimaging

Functional neuroimaging is the use of neuroimaging technology to measure an aspect of brain function, often with a view to understanding the relationship between activity in certain brain areas and specific mental functions.

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Gain (electronics)

In electronics, gain is a measure of the ability of a two-port circuit (often an amplifier) to increase the power or amplitude of a signal from the input to the output port by adding energy converted from some power supply to the signal.

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Hayling and Brixton tests

The Hayling and Brixton testsBurgess, P. & Shallice, T. (1997) The Hayling and Brixton Tests.

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The hippocampus (named after its resemblance to the seahorse, from the Greek ἱππόκαμπος, "seahorse" from ἵππος hippos, "horse" and κάμπος kampos, "sea monster") is a major component of the brains of humans and other vertebrates.

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Humans (taxonomically Homo sapiens) are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina.

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Information processing

Information processing is the change (processing) of information in any manner detectable by an observer.

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Inhibitory control

Inhibitory control, also known as response inhibition, is a cognitive process that permits an individual to inhibit their impulses and natural, habitual, or dominant behavioral responses to stimuli (prepotent responses) in order to select a more appropriate behavior that is consistent with completing their goals.

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An interview is a conversation where questions are asked and answers are given.

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Iowa gambling task

The Iowa gambling task (IGT) is a psychological task thought to simulate real-life decision making.

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Joaquin Fuster

Joaquin M. Fuster (born 1930)* is a Spanish neuroscientist whose research has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the neural structures underlying cognition and behavior.

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Language is a system that consists of the development, acquisition, maintenance and use of complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so; and a language is any specific example of such a system.

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Learning is the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences.

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Left- and right-hand traffic

The terms right-hand traffic (RHT) and left-hand traffic (LHT) refer to the practice, in bidirectional traffic situations, to keep to the right side or to the left side of the road, respectively.

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Limbic system

The limbic system is a set of brain structures located on both sides of the thalamus, immediately beneath the cerebrum.

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The macaques (or pronunciation by Oxford Dictionaries) constitute a genus (Macaca) of Old World monkeys of the subfamily Cercopithecinae.

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Major depressive disorder

Major depressive disorder (MDD), also known simply as depression, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations.

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Memory is the faculty of the mind by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved.

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Memory inhibition

In psychology, memory inhibition is the ability not to remember irrelevant information.

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Mental calculation

Mental calculation comprises arithmetical calculations using only the human brain, with no help from any supplies (such as pencil and paper) or devices such as a calculator.

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Metacognition is "cognition about cognition", "thinking about thinking", "knowing about knowing", becoming "aware of one's awareness" and higher-order thinking skills.

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Michael Posner (psychologist)

Michael I. Posner (born September 12, 1936) is an American psychologist, the editor of numerous cognitive and neuroscience compilations, and an eminent researcher in the field of attention.

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Motivation is the reason for people's actions, desires, and needs.

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Motor cortex

The motor cortex is the region of the cerebral cortex involved in the planning, control, and execution of voluntary movements.

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Myelin is a lipid-rich substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells, forming an electrically insulating layer.

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Neuroimaging or brain imaging is the use of various techniques to either directly or indirectly image the structure, function/pharmacology of the nervous system.

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Neurology (from νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system.

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A neuron, also known as a neurone (British spelling) and nerve cell, is an electrically excitable cell that receives, processes, and transmits information through electrical and chemical signals.

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Neuropsychological assessment

Neuropsychological assessment was traditionally carried out to assess the extent of impairment to a particular skill and to attempt to determine the area of the brain which may have been damaged following brain injury or neurological illness.

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Neuropsychological test

Neuropsychological tests are specifically designed tasks used to measure a psychological function known to be linked to a particular brain structure or pathway.

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Neuropsychology is the study of the structure and function of the brain as they relate to specific psychological processes and behaviours.

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Nonverbal learning disorder

Nonverbal learning disorder (also known as nonverbal learning disability, NLD, or NVLD) is a learning disorder characterized by verbal strengths as well as visual-spatial, motor, and social skills difficulties.

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Observation is the active acquisition of information from a primary source.

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Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning (also called "instrumental conditioning") is a learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment.

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Orbitofrontal cortex

The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is a prefrontal cortex region in the frontal lobes in the brain which is involved in the cognitive processing of decision-making.

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Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test

Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT) is a neuropsychological test used to assess capacity and rate of information processing and sustained and divided attention.

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Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system.

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Pediatric Attention Disorders Diagnostic Screener

The Pediatric Attention Disorders Diagnostic Screener (PADDS), created by Dr.

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Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences is a biweekly peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Royal Society.

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Phineas Gage

Phineas P. Gage (18231860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain's left frontal lobe, and for that injury's reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining 12 years of his lifeeffects sufficiently profound (for a time at least) that friends saw him as "no longer Gage".

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Planning is the process of thinking about the activities required to achieve a desired goal.

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Positron emission tomography

Positron-emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine functional imaging technique that is used to observe metabolic processes in the body as an aid to the diagnosis of disease.

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Prefrontal cortex

In mammalian brain anatomy, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the cerebral cortex which covers the front part of the frontal lobe.

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Premotor cortex

The premotor cortex is an area of motor cortex lying within the frontal lobe of the brain just anterior to the primary motor cortex.

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A primate is a mammal of the order Primates (Latin: "prime, first rank").

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Problem solving

Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, to find solutions to problems.

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Purkinje cell

Purkinje cells, or Purkinje neurons, are a class of GABAergic neurons located in the cerebellum.

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Reason is the capacity for consciously making sense of things, establishing and verifying facts, applying logic, and changing or justifying practices, institutions, and beliefs based on new or existing information.

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In behavioral psychology, reinforcement is a consequence that will strengthen an organism's future behavior whenever that behavior is preceded by a specific antecedent stimulus.

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Reward system

The reward system is a group of neural structures responsible for incentive salience (i.e., motivation and "wanting", desire, or craving for a reward), associative learning (primarily positive reinforcement and classical conditioning), and positive emotions, particularly ones which involve pleasure as a core component (e.g., joy, euphoria and ecstasy).

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Rey–Osterrieth complex figure

The Rey–Osterrieth complex figure test (ROCF) is a neuropsychological assessment in which examinees are asked to reproduce a complicated line drawing, first by copying it freehand (recognition), and then drawing from memory (recall).

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Richard Shiffrin

Richard Shiffrin (born March 13, 1942) is professor of cognitive science in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington.

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Russell Barkley

Russell A. Barkley (born 27 December 1949) is a clinical psychologist who is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina and an author of books on ADHD.

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Schema (psychology)

In psychology and cognitive science, a schema (plural schemata or schemas) describes a pattern of thought or behavior that organizes categories of information and the relationships among them.

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Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality.

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Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one's emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses.

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Sensitivity and specificity

Sensitivity and specificity are statistical measures of the performance of a binary classification test, also known in statistics as a classification function.

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Sensory cortex

The sensory cortex can refer informally to the primary somatosensory cortex, or it can be used as a term for the primary and secondary cortices of the different senses (two cortices each, on left and right hemisphere): the visual cortex on the occipital lobes, the auditory cortex on the temporal lobes, the primary olfactory cortex on the uncus of the piriform region of the temporal lobes, the gustatory cortex on the insular lobe (also referred to as the insular cortex), and the primary somatosensory cortex on the anterior parietal lobes.

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Short-term memory

Short-term memory (or "primary" or "active memory") is the capacity for holding, but not manipulating, a small amount of information in mind in an active, readily available state for a short period of time.

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Social skills

A social skill is any competence facilitating interaction and communication with others where social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways.

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Stimulus control

In behavioral psychology, stimulus control is a phenomenon that occurs when an organism behaves in one way in the presence of a given stimulus and another way in its absence.

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Stroop effect

---- ---- Naming the font color of a printed word is an easier and quicker task if word meaning and font color are not incongruent.

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Subthalamic nucleus

The subthalamic nucleus is a small lens-shaped nucleus in the brain where it is, from a functional point of view, part of the basal ganglia system.

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Supervisory attentional system

Executive functions are a cognitive apparatus that controls and manages cognitive processes.

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Test of Variables of Attention

The Test Of Variables of Attention (T.O.V.A.) is a neuropsychological assessment that measures a person's attention while screening for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

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Theory of mind

Theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, emotions, knowledge, etc.—to oneself, and to others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one's own.

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Tim Shallice

Timothy Shallice (born 1940) is a professor of neuropsychology and past director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, part of University College London.

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Tower of London test

The Tower of London test is a test used in applied clinical neuropsychology for the assessment of executive functioning specifically to detect deficits in planning, which may occur due to a variety of medical and neuropsychiatric conditions.

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Trail Making Test

The Trail Making Test is a neuropsychological test of visual attention and task switching.

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Trevor Robbins

Trevor William Robbins CBE FRS FMedSci is a Professor of Cognitive neuroscience and former Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge.

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Visual cortex

The visual cortex of the brain is a part of the cerebral cortex that processes visual information.

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Wisconsin Card Sorting Test

The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) is a neuropsychological test of "set-shifting", i.e. the ability to display flexibility in the face of changing schedules of reinforcement.

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Working memory

Working memory is a cognitive system with a limited capacity that is responsible for temporarily holding information available for processing.

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Yerkes–Dodson law

The Yerkes–Dodson law is an empirical relationship between arousal and performance, originally developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908.

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Cognitive control, Cognitive control of behavior, Cognitive control over behavior, Executive brain, Executive function, Executive functioning, Executive system, Higher-order executive functions.


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_functions

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