Task-switching is a common cognitive task associated with attention and cognitive control. In this very interesting study, researchers examined what brain areas were associated with good task switching ability. Surprisingly, the most highly correlated area for efficient task switching was the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a region implicated in emotional and social motivation and reward.
So how might this apply to real life? Good task switchers may be better motivated to switch or better activators of their emotional and social motivational areas.
Poor task switchers may not be poor 'executives', but rather poorer at social and / or emotional motivation (for the job of task-switching, at least). It's true that some of the kids we see primarily for task-switching difficulties may have good sustained attention for activities of their own interest. The problem comes when the teacher, parent, or other outside authority, wants them to do what they want to do.
So maybe we shouldn't be too hasty about lumping 'poor transitioning' in with ADD or ADHD behaviors. Poor task switching may reflect poor general cognitive flexibility in some cases, but a different motivation or reward framework should also be considered in the differential.
Task Switching, Motivation, and VMPFC