Brain’s Executive Function

We inaugurate new times. Our cognitive, emotional and behavioral skills pose a great challenge: make us act creatively in the face of the new and surprising demands of today.

Scientific studies and research in various parts of the world, on the developing brain, demonstrate that in early childhood experiences fundamental foundations of our abilities are built.

The executive function of the brain, for example, a neuropsychological concept, does not refer to innate abilities, but a potential with which we are born and continue to develop, especially throughout childhood, but which also extends through adolescence and life adult, according to the interactions and experiences in which we are immersed in our family, school or community.

Thus, as when turning on our computer, we are not concerned with the underlying actions and operations that prepare our equipment to meet our goals; on a daily basis, all of us, children, teenagers and adults, engage in countless activities, without realizing that we require our brain’s ability to discern them and respond in the best way.

Executive function is among the high-level potentials of the human brain. Corresponds to the set of cognitive skills that, in an integrated way, allows us to manage, regulate and control our behaviors, actions, thoughts and emotions: planning and execution of activities; reasoning, logical and strategic thinking; working memory; task initiation and flexibility; decision making and problem solving; sustained attention; impulse control and inhibition.

A correct development of this function is essential, even, to respond to situations that involve inconstancy and unpredictability.

On the other hand, a low development of executive function will be expressed in difficulties and disorders related to attention, memory, focus, decision making, perception, orientation, persistence in the search for solutions, self-control, organization and planning.

However, what will guarantee the correct development of these skills? The answer may not be so simple, but it certainly does not correspond exclusively to the amount of experiences lived, but, as shown by research, the quality of these experiences, in the various interactions provided by the family, school or other forms of interpersonal mediation, technological, social or cultural.

It is important that the individual is encouraged to experience protagonism, to dialogue, reason and reflect on problems, solutions and initiatives to be taken; develop self-knowledge, perceive other individuals, participate in group work that involves sharing experiences; develop the ability to perform tasks both collaboratively and autonomously and be able to adapt to proposed changes.

Safe and ethical environments, which do not stimulate stress, anxiety, uncertainty and fear, for example, are fundamental; as well as the support of mediators that stimulate or create opportunities to develop the feeling of belonging and not just inclusion, making the individual perceive himself in a positive way, which will lead him to choose more truthful relationships and healthy ways of life.

If we want to build a more just and sustainable society, formed by critical individuals, aware and capable of exercising positive leadership, we cannot act in an improvised way.

It is important to transform the open window of opportunities, especially in childhood, but which extends through adolescence and adulthood, into tools for building a society that reveals increasing levels of Knowledge, Consciousness, Development and prepares present and future generations for demands that are their own.