The Nature of ADHD - Part II: Executive Functioning and Self-Regulation as an Extended Phenotype


Lecture Description

In this presentation, Dr. Barkley continues to build on his theory of executive functioning as self-regulation and to explain what it means for understanding and managing ADHD. In Part I, he described the cognitive or instrumental level of executive functioning. Here he shows how this level is only the beginning of how people employ their executive functioning in daily life activities. To understanding how people use EF in daily life, he creates a multi-level model of ADHD as an extended phenotype. Phenotypes in biology do not just end at the skin but extend outward from the organism to produce effects at considerable distances across space and time from the organism into its natural ecology. Dr. Barkley adopts this view from biology and applies it to understanding human EF. He shows how with each new level of extension of the EF phenotype outward from the person, they create a greater capacity for individuals to meet demands for effective adaptive functioning, for pursuing their goals, and for seeing to their long-term welfare across increasingly longer spans of time, using increasingly more complex and lengthy chains of behavior, relying increasingly on social relationships, and utilizing cultural methods and products. This is a unique and even potentially revolutionary view of EF that provides greater insights into this unique set of human mental abilities and offers numerous clinical implications for the assessment and management of EF and, by extension, ADHD.


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