Executive control functions are those mental functions that coordinate thoughts and behavior.

A well known questionnaire to measure these is the DEX, but it is not entirely clear whether the DEX can be used here in the PsyToolkit library (due to copyright). But there is a good alternative, namely the webexec questionnaire (Buchanan et al., 2010).

The webexec consists of 6 Likert-type questions, each scored on 4 point scale (1 to 4). To calculate the total score, the scores of these items are summed. Thus, scores on the webexec can vary between 6 and 24 points.

In the original study of Buchanan and colleagues with 417 participants, the mean score was 11.25 points. The sample included 186 participants cannabis users, and the cannabis users reported more executive problems (the more frequently people used cannabis, the higher the score).

Click here to watch an interesting news summary of a scientific study of the relation between cannabis use and the frontal lobe.

Run the demo

It seems that the webexec can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Buchanan et al., 2010).


This is implemented as a scale question.

There are advantages and disadvantages to present this as a scale item. You could easily recode this into 6 radio questions, which might make it easier for people who are challenged by too much information on one screen. Note that in the origincal study, these questions were presented on one page with a drop-down menu for each item.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: problems
- no problems experienced
- a few problems experienced
- more than a few problems experienced
- a great many problems experienced

l: webexec
t: scale problems
o: width 50%
q: Please answer all the questions below as best you can.<br>
Your answers will be confidential, and no information about your<br>
identity will be requested or recorded.<br>
If you change your mind about taking part in this research, please feel free to stop at any time.<br>
Please rate the extent to which you have problems in the following areas by picking the appropriate option<br>.
- Do you find it difficult to keep your attention on a particular task?
- Do you find yourself having problems concentrating on a task?
- Do you have difficulty carrying out more than one task at a time?
- Do you tend to “lose” your train of thoughts?
- Do you have difficulty seeing through something that you have started?
- Do you find yourself acting on “impulse”?

l: score
t: set
- sum $webexec

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your score on the webexec is: {$score}<br>
You can read more on the PsyToolkit page about the meaning of this score.


  • Buchanan, T., Heffernan, T. M., Parrott, A. C., Ling, J., Rodgers, J., & Scholey, A. B. (2010). A short self-report measure of problems with executive function suitable for administration via the Internet. Behavior Research Methods, 42, 709-714.