Frontal Lobe/Executive Functioning

  • James G. Scott
  • Mike R. Schoenberg


The frontal lobes represent a large area, consuming approximately ­one-third of the cortical surface of the brain. This area is involved directly and indirectly across a wide spectrum of human thought, behavior and emotions. The irony of the frontal lobes may best be described as the area of the brain we know the most about but understand the least. For example, frontal lobe functioning involves simple motor skills (both gross and fine), complex motor skills, sequenced motor skills, inhibition of motor skills and automatic motor skills, and these may be the simplest of the functions of the frontal lobes. The frontal lobes also subsume what is collectively referred to as executive skills. These functions include attention, reasoning, judgment, problem solving, creativity, emotional regulation, impulse control and awareness of aspects of one’s and others’ functioning. In this chapter, we will briefly discuss the anatomy of the frontal lobes, the basic and complex functions of the frontal lobes, and the informal assessment of frontal lobe functions.


Frontal Lobe Primary Motor Cortex Frontal Lobe Function Frontal Lobe Damage Medial Frontal Lobe 
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References and Suggested Further Reading

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA

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