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Diamond hypothesized that at least part of the answer was increasing levels of dopamine in PFC. Researchers and clinicians working on inborn errors of metabolism had noticed that children well-treated for phenylketonuria (PKU) seemed to show selective EF deficits, but no one could imagine a mechanism that could explain that, so reports of such deficits were largely ignored. But how to study the role of dopamine in modulating PFC cognitive functions (executive functions [EFs]) in humans early in life? Neuropharmacologists studying the mesocortical dopamine system in rats had shown that if there is only a modest reduction in the dopamine precursor, tyrosine, PFC is selectively affected.

She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and was recently recognized as one the 15 most influential neuroscientists alive today. Diamond is at the forefront of research on executive functions and on the brains prefrontal cortex on which they depend. Diamond has given invited addresses all across North America and abroad (including in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia [Bali & Java], Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, and the UK [England, Scotland, & Wales]) to audiences ranging from neurologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, & neuropsychologists, educators, developmental psychologists, & early childcare providers, lawyers, administrators, & policymakers, cognitive scientists & neuroscientists, psychoanalysts, clinical psychologists, rehabilitation therapists, school psychologists, social workers, & parents, and to visual artists, musicians, & dancers.

Executive functions include 'thinking outside the box' (cognitive flexibility), mentally relating ideas and facts (working memory), and giving considered responses rather than impulsive ones, resisting temptations and staying focused (inhibitory control, including selective attention). Her many awards include an honorary doctorate () from Ben-Gurion University, the Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society, named a Woman of Distinction by the YWCA, and named one of the 2000 Outstanding Women of the 20th Century. Diamonds lab integrates developmental, cognitive science, neuroscience, and molecular genetic methods to study prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the most complex cognitive abilities ('executive functions' [EFs]) that rely on PFC and interrelated brain regions. In 2012 alone, she gave 40 invited addresses worldwide including in Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and throughout North America. In 2015, she gave 34 invited addresses worldwide including in Chile, Germany, Indonesia, (Bali & Java), Israel, Mexico, Spain, Thailand, and throughout North America.

Even though PFC is very immature early in life and takes a very long time to develop, it can already subserve elementary versions of the highest cognitive functions during the first year of life.

Diamond went on to facilitate many of the earliest collaborations between developmental and cognitive scientists, on the one hand, and neuroscientists on the other.

Recently we have turned our attention to the possible roles of music, dance, storytelling, traditional martial arts, positive sports, yoga, mindfulness, and even circus for improving executive functions, academic outcomes and mental and physical health.