Children’s executive functions and evidence-based activities that improve them: An interview with Adele Diamond, Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver – Episode #52

 Executive functions (EFs) are a critical factor in determining people’s success in school and on the job, as well as their mental and physical health. Moreover, the core executive functions (self-control, working memory and cognitive flexibility) form the foundation for higher-order executive functions, such as reasoning, problem solving, and planning. Importantly, research shows that executive functions can be improved, including for young children, which can bring a lifetime of benefits.

To learn more, we’re joined by one of the leading experts, Adele Diamond (@DrAdeleDiamond). She’s a Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and one of the founders of the field of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. She earned her B.A. from Swarthmore College and her Ph.D. from Harvard.

Because this interview is longer (30 min) than most, here are links to specific segments if you prefer:

  • Why inhibitory control is important, click here.
  • Why working memory is important, click here.
  • Why cognitive flexibility is important, click here.
  • Strategies to strengthen exec functions in children, click here.
  • Implications of the research for education policy and practice, click here.

Further reading:

  • Dr. Diamond’s survey article on activities and programs that improve children’s executive functions.
  • study (referenced in the interview) by Terrie Moffit et. al that draws on data from over 1,000 children born in one city in a single year and tracked until age 32.