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MCAT Psychology – Executive Function

  • by Kerry Goldstein
  • Mar 10, 2015
  • MCAT Blog, MCAT Psychology, MCAT Question of the Day

As a result of substance abuse throughout adolescence, a young adult suffers from a number of psychological symptoms reflecting diminished executive functioning. Which of the following are likely true of this patient?

I. Pathological changes to the prefrontal cortex.
II. Increased susceptibility to auditory hallucinations.
III. Reduced behavioral impulse control.

A) I only
B) III only
C) I and III only
D) II and III only

 

Explanation

A) I only
B) III only
C) I and III only
D) II and III only

Executive functioning, or the ability to formulate and stick to long term plans, exercise judgment and impulse control with respect to those plans, is controlled primarily by the prefrontal cortex. In a patient with diminished executive functioning, both (I) and (III) would likely be seen. Thus, (C) is the right answer.

II: The prefrontal cortex is not part of the auditory processing pathway. Thus there is no reason why a patient with diminished executive functioning would likely have auditory hallucinations.

 

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