Executive Functioning and Problem Solving: A Bidirectional Relation

Athanasios Drigas, Maria Karyotaki


There is a bidirectional relation between one’s executive functioning abilities and problem solving skills as they are both based on self-control. “Hot” and “cold” executive functions account for individuals’ cognitive control and emotional regulation. In addition, problem solving is tied to metacognitive awareness processes, necessary for applying executive function skills in goal setting and decision making situations. Therefore, individuals’ overall cognitive flexibility and emotional regulation can promote the quality, quantity and speed of decision-making processes, such as adaptable and creative information processing as well as efficiency in setting and prioritizing goals. Moreover, individuals with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and individuals with other comorbid states, such as older adults, individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can counterbalance their cognitive control deficits through enhancing their problem solving skills. In addition, an advanced research in the bidirectional relation between executive function and problem solving skills could develop a comprehensive methodology for training and assessing self-regulatory processes.


attentional processes, cognitive control, cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation

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International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP) – eISSN: 2192-4880
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