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Wed, Feb 28



From Insight to Action: Executive Function, Processing Speed and Problem Solving

A presentation for Language Builders

Time & Location

Feb 28, 2024, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM CST


About the Event

 Historically, processing speed has been defined as the ability to perceive information, process it, and respond. This definition reflects the conventional computer model of processing, which disregards the predictive capabilities of the brain. According to Predictive Brain Theory, the brain predicts, compares, and learns rather than perceiving, processing, and reacting. This means that we must adapt our current processing speed interventions with students. This fundamental cognitive skill affects how efficiently we can complete tasks, learn new information, and interact with our environment. Faster processing speed allows for quicker decision-making and more fluid problem-solving, but it's not just about how fast we can think; it's also about the efficiency and accuracy of these cognitive processes.

Problem-Solving is the ability to identify, understand, and overcome challenges through a systematic process. This involves recognizing the problem, generating potential solutions, evaluating these solutions, and implementing the most effective one. Problem-solving is supported by processing speed in the rapid identification of problems and potential solutions, and by executive function in organizing, prioritizing, and executing the steps needed to resolve the issue.

Executive Function is the set of cognitive processes including working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control to simulate and engage goal-directed behavior. Executive function orchestrates the problem-solving process by allowing us to hold information in mind, switch between different perspectives, and control impulsive responses. It ensures that our problem-solving efforts are aligned with our goals and adapted to the context.

In essence, processing speed provides the groundwork for rapid and efficient cognitive activity. Problem-solving leverages this speed in conjunction with executive function to navigate complex situations effectively. Together, these cognitive components enable individuals to analyze situations quickly, devise strategic solutions, and adapt to new information or changing environments. Enhancing these skills can lead to improved academic performance, better decision-making, and more adaptive coping strategies in daily life.

In 'From Insight to Action: Executive Function, Processing Speed, and Problem Solving,' we explore the interconnected roles of processing speed, executive function, and problem-solving in cognitive performance. This lecture challenges traditional notions of processing speed, highlighting its critical role beyond mere quickness—it's about the brain's predictive abilities and the efficiency and accuracy of cognitive processes. We'll delve into how processing speed underpins our capacity for quick decision-making and fluid problem-solving, while executive function, with its core components of working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control, orchestrates these processes to simulate goal-directed behavior. 

Please email for additional information.

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