Executive Function & Social Development:
What's the connection?


Executive Function skills are consistently associated with social development. Individuals with better Executive Function skills are better able to understand someone else’s perspective and beliefs, as well as predict the behavior of others in a social setting. One form of social cognition associated with Executive Function is called Theory of Mind. Having a developed ‘Theory of Mind’ means having an understanding that people have their own thoughts, beliefs, emotions, opinions, and their own mental states, that may or may not align with reality or with someone else’s.

There is an implied connection between a preschooler’s ability to demonstrate their Theory of Mind and the development of executive functioning skills. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics states that much like early Executive Function skills, healthy early childhood social-emotional development is essential for educational readiness, social well-being, and preventive mental health.

“Theory of mind” is the understanding that peoples’ actions are caused by idiosyncratic mental states like beliefs, desires, and intentions.

  1. Wellman, H. M. (1990). The Child ‘s Theory of Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Executive Function plays an integral role in the formation of these essential social development skills:

Focus in the classroom
Transitions between changing activities
Cooperation with other children
Mental well-being

Improving Social Development skills through improved Executive Function

Through quality resource development, expert partnerships, and award-winning design, Reflection Sciences developed the MEFS App™ to address school-readiness issues and social development in children.

Expert Partnerships

Reflection Sciences is partnered with Conscious Discipline, a leading provider social-emotional learning curriculum to the Pre-K audience in the U.S. and throughout the world. Beginning in mid-2019, visitors to the Conscious Discipline website will have access to the MEFS App™ and MEFS App training. Conscious Discipline users who integrate the MEFS App into their instruction will soon receive specific Conscious Discipline intervention activities tied to their student’s Executive Function development and performance on the MEFS App.

Award-Winning Design

Reflection Sciences, Inc. was named one of six exemplars in the Assessment Work Group’s third Annual Design Challenge for Social Emotional Learning (SEL). This initiative works with a goal of sparking the creation and adoption of innovative direct assessments in order to support effective instruction and positive student development. More information on this will be added soon!

Improve Social Development skills through improved Executive Function.