Executive Functions: Inferences from Behavior, Brain and Genetics

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Psychology, Islamic Azad University Central Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 1. Department of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran 2. Department of Basic Sciences, Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Educational Sciences, Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: The term Executive Functions (EFs) are higher-order cognitive processes that control behavior, emotion, and cognition. Neuropsychological evidence suggests that executive processing is intimately connected with the intact function of the frontal cortices.  Executive dysfunction has been associated with a range of disorders, and is generally attributed to structural or functional frontal pathology. Besides, genetic influences tend to explain most of the phenotypic correlations between common EFs and other cognitive and clinical constructs throughout the life span.
Method: This systematic review provides an overview of the EFs and associated components of EFs with inferences from brain, behavior and genetics. Electronic databases were searched for this study. A total of 53 articles met the inclusion criteria (published between 2019 and 2021) and were reviewed.
Results: Recent advances in neuroimaging technologies have allowed ever more detailed studies of the human brain. The combination of neuroimaging techniques with genetics may provide a more sensitive measure of the influence of genetic variants on cognitive function than behavioral measures alone.
Conclusion: These studies demonstrate that EFs are associated with a range of pathologies, collection of cognitive abilities and development of behavioral skills, and based on these results, professionals should consider the role of EFs in interventions.


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