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Rev Neurol. 2005 Aug 1-15;41(3):177-86.

[A proposal for a protocol for use in the evaluation of the executive functions].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Neuropsicología y Neuropsiquiatría, Fundación Argibide, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.



Executive functions include a variety of components such as the capacity implicated in goal formulation, the faculties employed in processes planning, and the strategies used to achieve the pretended objectives. In a previous work, taking as starting basis those models which have attempted to clarify those processes implicated in executive functions, we posed an integrative model.


Starting from this model, we now propose an assessment protocol. Thus, executive functions considered as problem solving, require in generic terms, objective selection, planning, and monitoring processes (tower of Hanoi and zoo map). Each of these sub-processes operate through the working memory both with the visospatial sketch and the phonological loop. The central executive system, or attentional supervisor system (ASS), acts when there is no known solution and we must create an alternative one.


In this sense, the ASS could contain the following functions: amplification of the phonological loop and visospatial sketch capacity (Sternberg type tasks), information manipulation and actualization (n-back paradigm), information manipulation and maintenance (Wechsler Memory Scale letters and numbers), simultaneously work in two cognitive tasks (dual execution tasks), inhibition (Stroop and go-no go paradigms), and cognitive sets alternation (Wisconsin Card Sorting Test). Once this planning process has been done, we must take a decision (gambling task paradigm), being the somatic marker in charge of this process.

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