Executive Functions

What They Are, How They Work, and Why They Evolved

Russell A. Barkley

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May 1, 2012
ISBN 9781462505357
Price: $85.00
244 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
November 29, 2020
ISBN 9781462545933
Price: $35.00
244 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 15, 2021
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244 Pages
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244 Pages
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“Barkley develops a new framework for thinking about executive functions by describing them through a biological evolutionary paradigm....He shines a new light on a new path to discovering more about executive functions. Although helping to answer many questions, he leaves much to be discovered, in effect tantalizing and prodding the reader to engage in future research endeavors that might bring us closer to understanding executive functions and what makes us human.”


“Barkley...a widely recognized expert, provides a fresh and original look....Barkley's account is deliberately psychological and functional rather than neuroanatomical, and provides an important reconceptualization for those working in the area of EFs. Recommended. Upper-division graduates and above.”

Choice Reviews

“Readers will find this book fascinating if they take the time to sift through Barkley's findings along with the research data. I know I did, because I have a daughter who struggles with ADHD, and this book weaves the correlation between ADHD and executive functioning (EF) in a way that no other book (to my knowledge) has done before.”

The Chronical

“With this seminal work, Barkley single-handedly initiates a paradigm shift in our understanding of executive functioning (EF). Drawing on fields as diverse as neuropsychology, neurobiology, evolutionary biology, behavioral genetics, anthropology, and philosophy, he achieves a masterful synthesis, culminating in a hierarchical model of EF development through eight stages. Of particular value, the model gives rise to ecologically valid strategies for management of EF deficits and clearly enhances our understanding of ADHD and other conditions in which executive dysfunction is prominent. Highly readable, interesting, even exciting to read, this volume will undoubtedly stimulate and guide EF research and clinical applications for decades to come.”

—Mary V. Solanto, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

“For real advances in the field of executive functioning (EF) to occur, we need, first and foremost, a clear definition of the term. Barkley has provided that clarity. He explains what executive functions are, why they are critical to our day-to-day existence, and how they affect society. He justifiably rejects psychometric assessments of executive functions, based on their lack of ecological validity, and instead proposes multilevel assessments grounded in the natural environment. As a clinician working in the real world of people with EF deficits, the fact that Barkley's theory yields logical and applicable strategies for intervention is of great significance to me.”

—Richard Guare, PhD, Director, Center for Learning and Attention Disorders, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

“Barkley has never been one to shy away from new theories and ideas. He is perhaps one of the foremost critical thinkers of our time. Executive Functions is a tour de force of creativity and wide-ranging thinking. Barkley offers a reasoned and reasonable theory to understand the emerging field of EF and its related disorders. The chapter on clinical implications is particularly important for practitioners. This book is essential reading for researchers, clinicians, and students interested in the complexities of brain-behavior relationships and human adaptation.”

—Sam Goldstein, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, University of Utah School of Medicine; Clinical Director, Neurology, Learning, and Behavior Center, Salt Lake City

“Barkley presents the best and most comprehensive and systematic overview of the field of EF to date. His coherent theory of EF has the potential to profoundly change the way EF is studied and assessed in clinical populations. In outlining the problems of how to conceptualize and assess EF—and providing compelling evidence for an extended phenotype model—he offers a desperately needed roadmap for future research. This volume should be on the bookshelf of every practicing clinical neuropsychologist, and is a 'must read' for students in neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience.”

—Ellen Braaten, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School