Cool versus hot executive function: a new approach to executive function

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Tsermentseli, Stella ; Poland, Sarah (2016)
  • Publisher: Encephalos Association
  • Subject: BF

Executive function (EF) refers to the higher order thought processes, including inhibitory control, working memory, and attention considered essential to problem-solving and future oriented behaviour. Traditionally, research on EF has focused on cool cognitive aspects, elicited by relatively abstract tasks. More recently there has been growing interest in the development of hot aspects of EF, seen in situations that are emotionally and motivationally significant. In this paper, we first describe the emergence of hot executive function and its distinction to cool executive function. We then examine whether there is enough evidence to support distinct cool and hot EF subcomponents. The implications of how this distinction can be used to make sense of abnormal child development are also considered. We propose that more research in this area will increase understanding of how cognitive development affects development and inform more targeted interventions in children with behavioural difficulties.
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