Executive function (EF) is the cognitive process framework that directs an activity within the prefrontal cortex part of the brain. It has three components, which include inhibition, working memory (WM) and shifting that contribute to EF’s performance (Best & Miller 2010). These EF components are independent in their functions; however, they exhibit substantial interrelation with one another. For instance, inhibition is the foundational base of executive function and when a child inhibits a response, the brain requires a little WM to produce an alternative feedback. WM functions as a storage place for a behavior in the brain before it is manipulated into an activity (Best & Miller 2010). Similarly, shifting refers to the aptitude of changing from one activity to another and it requires inhibition and working memory to perform effectively. Therefore, although the components are regarded to be independent, but they still require each other for performance.
Executive function contains prominent models, such as working memory, self-regulatory and problem-solving models. The working memory model stores information in different systems in the brain with the aid of central executive part. It separates visual and audio information and stores them in the subsystems (Smith & Thelen, 2003). Self-regulatory model on the other hand, manages the emotional responses and changes human behavioral response in the brain. Problem-solving model presents a problem to the brain, identifies a solution and evaluates the results of the brain responses. When a chess game has pieces randomly arranged, chess experts are not better than non-chess players in recalling the moves. This suggests after inhibiting information, the working memory stores the information. Also, the A-not-B error which can be illustrated with a ten month infant who is presented with a simple object-hiding task. If a toy is hidden from the kid at point A for several times he eventually figures out the position of the toy showing the existence of problem solving model. Self-regulatory is simply noticed by change of behavior response; for instance, if the toy is removed from point A to B, the infant will try to reach out to point A at first but will realize the toy is not there anymore.
Best, J. & Miller, P. (2010). A developmental perspective on executive function. Child development. 81(6): 1641-1660
Smith, L. & Thelen, E. (2003). Development as a dynamic system. Trends in cognitive sciences. Elsevier. 7(8): 343-348