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Abstract

Executive function (EF) skills are neurocognitive skills that support the reflective, top-down coordination and control of other brain functions, and there is neural and behavioral evidence for a continuum from more “cool” EF skills activated in emotionally neutral contexts to more “hot” EF skills needed for the reversal of motivationally significant tendencies. Difficulties in EF are transdiagnostic indicators of atypical development. A neurodevelopmental model traces the pathway from adverse childhood experiences and stress to disruption of the development of neural systems supporting reflection and EF skills to an increased risk for general features of psychopathology. Research indicates that EF skills can be cultivated through scaffolded training and are a promising target for therapeutic and preventive intervention. Intervention efficacy can be enhanced by mitigating disruptive bottom-up influences such as stress, training both hot and cool EF skills, and adding a reflective, metacognitive component to promote far transfer of trained skills.

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2020-05-07
2024-06-12
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