What are Executive Functions?

Most of the below information comes from Russell Barkley, PhD. In all my research I have found the work that Russell Barkley, PhD. has done on Executive functions, his wealth of knowledge and contribution within the field to be informative. He has changed and shaped this generations understanding of ADHD and is still ongoing.


•The minds mirror – self-awareness: its our ability to direct our attention at ourselves and the environment around us so we can monitor and control how we behave.

•The minds brakes – inhibition: is the ability to take direct action on ourselves so we can change ourselves in order to alter our future for the better. ADHD effects ability to self-regulate internal motivation to drive our behaviour towards our goals.

•The minds eye – visual imagery: our past learnings informs our current behaviour. This is the ability to recall our past and from it to imagine our future.

•The minds voice – internal speech: self speech is a tool we use to guide and control our behaviour through self directed instructions. This helps us to stay on track to accomplish goals and also to perform better next time we encounter the same task.

•The minds heart – emotional control: this is the ability to inhibit our urges long enough to allow our brain time to process information into two parts- the personal meaning (feeling/emotional reactions) and the context of the event. ADHD does not allow this pause to occur so they have difficulty separating feelings from facts as efficiently.

•The minds playground – planning/problem solving: this is our ability to brake down information and messages we receive THEN to reconstruct outgoing messages and behaviours that will be the most beneficial and successful outcome of the situation or information.


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