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Ways to Improve Executive Functions in Preschool Children & Why that is Important

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Adele Diamond, Ph.D., University of British Columbia

The brain does not recognize the same sharp division between cognitive, emotional, social, and motoric functioning that we impose in our thinking. Our reasoning, self-control, mental alertness and mental flexibility (that is, "executive functions" and "self-regulation") are better when we are not stressed, lonely, or out of shape. Imaginative social play, sports, and the arts each address all these aspects of the human being—cognitive, emotional, social, and physical—and evidence is emerging that these activities enhance executive functions and academic outcomes. There’s a reason why dance, play, storytelling, art, and music have continued to be part of the human condition for tens of thousands of years and are found ubiquitously in every culture.

Diamond Presentation Slides (PDF - 1.37 MB)

Biosketch for Adele Diamond, Ph.D.

Dr. Adele Diamond is the Canada Research Chair Tier 1 Professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience in the Psychiatry Department at UBC. Her work integrates developmental, cognitive, neuroscience, and molecular genetic approaches. Indeed, she is one of the pioneers of the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience. Her research changed medical guidelines for the treatment of PKU (phenylketonuria) and for the inattentive type of ADHD. Her recent work, including a paper in the journal, Science, is affecting early education practices worldwide. She created and organizes a popular biennial conference on "Brain Development and Learning Conference," for doctors, teachers, parents, and others.

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Last Reviewed: 11/30/2012
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