What Exactly Is Executive Function?

Executive Function is a “self-management system of the brain” (FOOTNOTE BELOW). It is a set of skills that allow people to control their behavior and direct it toward longer-term goals, rather than doing what is automatic or easiest to accomplish.

While we aren’t born with these skills, we are born with the potential to develop these capacities. If the skills that control our impulses, help us stay focused, and/or manage our work aren’t fully developed, “scaffolding”, the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard recommends “the provision of a safe and predictable environment” that helps break tasks into smaller chunks, control impulses (e.g. to use your phone or avoid starting work) and/or focus.1 The provision of such an environment is the central mission of The StudyPro.

1. “What Is Executive Function? And How Does It Relate to Child Development?”, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard, 2019.

Frequently Asked Questions about Executive Function


Executive Function 101 – Prepared by The National Center for Learning Disabilities
How do I know if my child has executive function issues? – The Child Mind Institute
A Guide to Executive Function – Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child
Meet executive function: How to learn in the age of information overload – The Brookings Institution
Activities and Programs That Improve Children’s Executive Functions – NIH
The skills students need to be succeessful in college and the workforce – Ryan Wexelblatt, MSS, LSW

Study Skills