Executive functions involve mental processes such as:
- Working memory–holding several pieces of information in mind while we try to do something with them–for example, understand and solve a problem or carry out a task.
- Response inhibition–inhibiting actions that interfere with our intentions or goals.
- Shifting focus–interrupting an ongoing response in order to direct attention to other aspects of a situation that are important for goal attainment.
- Cognitive flexibility–generating alternative methods of solving a problem or reaching a goal.
- Self-monitoring–checking on one’s own cognitions and actions to assure that they are in line with one’s intentions.
- Goal Orientation–creating and carrying out a multi-step plan for achieving a goal in a timely fashion, keeping the “big picture” in mind.