Cognitive Neuroscience

The definition of the “executive function”

Executive function is the theorized cognitive function in psychology that is in charge of and deal with the cognitive processes (Lux, 2007). The cognitive functions are normally being performed by the frontal and the prefrontal lobe of the brain. Moreover the executive function involves cognitive processes including working memory, attention, planning, verbal reasoning, problem solving, mental flexibility, inhibition, multi-tasking, monitoring of actions and initiation (Banich, 2011). Executive functions are critical in managing several latest conditions away from the realm of the psychosomatic progressions which could just be explicated on via sets of manners.

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The definition perseveration and why is it considered to be executive function deficit

Perseveration is the process of repeating certain responses, for example, word phrase or gesticulation regardless of the lack or termination of the stimulus (Banich, 2011). Perseveration is usually brought about by brain damages as a result of injury or any other organic disorder. Perseveration has been linked to the lack of inhibition though the relationship has not been fully verified. The reason why perseveration is considered to be executive function deficit is because of the memory dysfunction or the problem with the working memory.

The definition of OCD and why is it considered an executive function deficit

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is the apprehension disorder attributed to invasive thoughts resulting from repetitive behaviors, apprehension, uneasiness worry or fear (Lux, 2007). OCDs have problems associated with regulation of behavior and impulsive control as well as the inability to maintain the cognitive set (Lux, 2007). That is they suffer from the impairment that is related to the orbitofrontal cortex.

The contribution of Phineas Gage in studying the correlation amid the executive functions and the frontal lobe

Basically, Phineas Gage materialized to be recognized as the rail-road member of staff, whose frontal lobe or a component of his intellect was disengaged by the railing prickle in the fiscal 1800s (Ratiu et al., 2004). Gage brain damage left other sensory parts functioning though later he completely lost his executive functions. In fact, the component of the intellectual frontal lobe which was broken directed a majority of the executive functions not excluding awareness and the running of remembrance (Banich, 2011). It could easily be deduced from the Gage behavior that the part of the brain, frontal and prefrontal lobe, that was damaged controlled the executive functions.

The executive function that Wisconsin Card sort task investigates

The WCST is used to test executive functions such as the organized searching, strategic planning, utilization of environmental feedback, behavior direction to attain particular goals as well as modulating the impulse responding (Monchi et al, 2001). A variety of cognitive functioning for instance awareness, image processing along with the running of the recollection establish the thriving achievement of the assessment. The Wisconsin Card sort task tests the ability to demonstrate flexibility in the face of changing schedule of reinforcement.

The differences between controlled and automatic processing

Normally controlled processing does not require much attention. Moreover, it completes without much attention. Also, automatic processing is at times parallel to the control processing. The automatic processing normally comes through extensive practice or repetition of actions such as learning to talk, walk or drive. Furthermore automatic processing has been found to suppress thoughts (Banich, 2011). On the other hand, controlled processing needs much attention as well as conscious control. An example of control processing includes driving the car for the first time.

The relationship between working memory and the executive function

Working memory is the system that dynamically stores information in the brain to perform tasks that are both verbal and non verbal (Banich, 2011). These tasks include comprehension as well as reasoning and make the information more available for further processing. These tasks of working memory always need active goal oriented monitoring (Banich, 2011). The total sum of information which might be held on to and sustained by the running memory is actually restricted despite the fact that its competence may be augmented via breaking apart. Often, the running memory entails the cognitive progressions for example the awareness along with the executive short-range memory direct which proffers transitory clearance, amalgamation, repossession as well as assimilation of information.

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Sequencing as an essential component of executive functions

Sequencing is the orderly presentation of facts and ideas in an orderly logical manner. People suffering from mental impairment normally present its facts and ideas in a disorganized and illogical order. Sequencing is important part of executive function since it provides ways through which executive functions can be measured (Banich, 2011). In most cases, damage to the orbitofrontal cortex leads to the impairment of the executive functions that is relating to sequencing.

The difference between orbitofrontal cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in relation to executive functions

The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex dubbed DL-PFC is the highest cortical area with the role of regulation motor planning and organization. Besides, it has the accountability of assimilating both the mnemonic and sensory information above and beyond the cerebral events and functional regulation (Banich, 2011). Moreover, it includes the working memory. Nevertheless, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex does not completely responsible for the executive functions (Banich, 2011). Rather, the executive functions need other cortical and sub cortical connections which DL-PFC is related. On the other hand orbitofrontal cortex is responsible for sensory integration and decision making processes. Damage to orbitofrontal cortex causes disruptive and varying emotional behavior.

The error-related negativity and its usefulness in understanding executive functions

An error-related negativity (ERN) is accentuated negative signal that starts immediately an inaccurate motor-response begins. ERN is thought to be generated from the anterior cingulated cortex (ACC) part of the brain (Banich, 2011). To some extent the DL-PFC is also believed to be involved in the generation of ERN. ERN is highly exhibited to motivation. In other words it is highly pronounced in motivated and intent individuals. Individuals diagnosed with OCD normally exhibit high ERN deflations with prolonged latency and prolonged amplitude. Also, it has been found that people who are absent minded have greater levels of ERN.


Banich, M. (2011). Cognitive neuroscience. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing.

Lux, W., E. (2007). A neuropsychiatric perspective on traumatic brain injury. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 44(7), pp.951-962.

Monchi, O., Petrides, M., Petre, V., Worsley, K. & Dagher, A. (2001). Wisconsin card sorting revisited: Distinct neural circuits participating in different stages of the task identified by event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. The Journal of Neuroscience, 21(19), pp.7733-7741.

Ratiu, P., Talos, I.F., Haker, S., Lieberman, D. & Everett, P. (2004). Case report: The tale of Phineas Gage, digitally premastered. Journal of Neurotrauma, 21(5), pp.637-643.

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