Failure to understand the true range of potential accurate responses is one way that we underestimate human intelligence, and underestimate the decision making that our brains constantly perform. Developmental change in the temporal dynamics of neuronal activity also contributes to developmental differences in cognitive flexibility.  Two subcategories of cognitive flexibility are task switching and cognitive shifting, depending on whether the change happens unconsciously or consciously, respectively. One component of EF is CF. the word RED would be printed in yellow), and requires participants to name the ink colors while ignoring the conflicting color names.  Typically, three-year-old children are able to sort cards based on a single dimension, but are unable to switch to sort the cards based on a second dimension. Aged nonhuman primates also exhibit cognitive flexibility deficits when tested in a conceptual set-shifting task similar to the Wisconsin card sorting test (Moore et al., 2006). Alternatively, researchers with an interest in numerical cognition did use the task-switching paradigm to examine the relation across arithmetic operations (e.g., in what way do different arithmetic operations interfere or facilitate each other; see next section) (e.g., Miller & Paredes, 1990; Zbrodoff & Logan, 1986). (Sprio, Feltovich, Jacobson & Coulson, 1991). This is seen, for example, when brain frontal metabolic activity is measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during tasks that depend on frontal lobe function. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to transition thoughts between multiple concepts or perspectives. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts or to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.  Studies conducted with people of various ages and with particular deficits have further informed how cognitive flexibility develops and changes within the brain. Some people’s frontal cortices are “poorly tuned” such that they require more metabolic effort, reflecting more neural activity merely to perform at the same level. One possible explanation for the apparent association between nonverbal communication and performance on some verbal measures is that some verbal tests employ visual stimuli. " This guideline is the essence of cognitive flexibility, and a teaching style focused on promoting it has been seen to foster understanding especially in disciplines where information is complex and nonlinear. I would like to believe (and this is an admission that what I am saying next is speculative) that sometimes cortical “inefficiency” is a manifestation of alternative patterns of cognition – including more rigid and more flexible patterns – and that such alternative patterns may be invaluable under different circumstances than represented by a particular test, or perhaps any test devised. It is a dimension of executive functioning, which is considered to be impaired in many people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Inflexibility is most consistently observed in TD children under 3, with increases in shifting abilities occurring between 3 and 5 years. This demonstrates an increase in cognitive flexibility between the ages of seven and eleven. color of object), and be unable to focus on both aspects (i.e. Regions associated with cognitive flexibility such as the PFC and PC atrophy, or shrink, with age, but also show greater task-related activation in older individuals when compared to younger individuals. For example, let’s reconsider the Red version of the Stroop test. In order to resolve this conflict, they must first detect it. Or perhaps it is because round covers fit whichever way one orients them, thus making it simpler to replace them. The definition of cognitive flexibility is in the word itself – it is a flexible way of thinking. Other terms for and components of cognitive flexibility include mental flexibility, mental set shifting, Neurobiological effects of physical exercise § Cognitive control and memory, "Cognitive flexibility theory: implications for teaching and teacher education", "Neural predictors of moment-to-moment fluctuations in cognitive flexibility", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "Intelligence and cognitive flexibility: Fluid intelligence correlates with feature "unbinding" across perception and action", "Performance enhancement with low stress and anxiety modulated by cognitive flexibility", Current Directions in Psychological Science, "Automatic shifts of attention in the Dimensional Change Card Sort Task: Subtle changes in task materials lead to flexible switching", "Two mechanisms for task switching in the prefrontal cortex", "Common and distinct mechanisms of cognitive flexibility in prefrontal cortex", Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, "Neural substrates of cognitive inflexibility after chronic cocaine exposure", "Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control", "Common Core State Standards Initiative Standards-Setting Criteria", "DOOM'd to switch: superior cognitive flexibility in players of first person shooter games", "Shooter video games improve mental flexibility", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cognitive_flexibility&oldid=992756419, All Wikipedia articles written in American English, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 December 2020, at 22:53. For example, when individuals are better able to shift their thinking from situation to situation they will focus less on stressors within these situations.. It also refers to the ability to process multiple concepts simultaneously such as the color and shape of an object or perspectives of republicans and democrats. These regions include the prefrontal cortex (PFC), basal ganglia, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and posterior parietal cortex (PPC). To produce objective and reliable data on cognition across many different types of populations, we require simple, standardized tests.  Similarly, in order to be cognitively flexible they must overcome centration, which is the tendency for young children to solely focus on one aspect of an object or situation. Here it is assumed that cognitive flexibility is needed in mathematical performance to support the switch between different operations like, for instance, the switch between addition and subtraction. However, the next interviewee answers, “Because round covers don’t fall into manholes when turned this way or that and land with a pointy end on the top of someone’s head”. These researchers focused on the N2 component in the event related potential, which is a negative going wave initiated in anterior cingulate cortex and measured over frontal-midline sites about 200–400-ms poststimulus (300–500 ms in children) (e.g., Botvinick et al., 2001). For example, Moriguchi and Hiraki (2009) found that young children who pass the DCCS show an increase in oxygenated hemoglobin in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex in response to the presentation of the stimuli (see also Moriguchi, Sakata, Ishibashi, & Ishikawa, 2015). In the laboratory, cognitive flexibility is typically investigated using task-switching paradigms (for a review, see Kiesel et al., 2010; Vandierendonck, Liefooghe, & Verbruggen, 2010). A synthesized research definition of cognitive flexibility is a switch in thinking, whether that is specifically based on a switch in rules or broadly based on a need to switch one’s previous beliefs or thoughts to new situations. Thus difficulties can be observed in modifying strategies during daily activities or adapting perspectives during social interactions. A synthesized research definition of cognitive flexibility is a switch in thinking, whether that is specifically based on a switch in rules or broadly based on a need to switch one's previous beliefs or thoughts to new situations. Two different types of switch costs can be identified: global and local switch costs. The Stroop Test is also known as the Color-word Naming Test. For example, has the switch cost the same value when switching between addition and subtraction as when switching between addition and multiplication?  Thus, with tasks ranging from simple to more complex, research suggests that there is a developmental continuum that spans from infancy to adulthood. A variety of assessments are appropriate for distinguishing between different levels of cognitive flexibility at different ages. So all well and good. Further indicative of the role cognitive flexibility plays in education is the argument that how students are taught greatly impacts the nature and formation of their cognitive structures, which in turn affect students' ability to store and readily access information. The neural basis of cognitive flexibility has been studied during many periods of development, including early childhood. Magnusson, B.L. What is the brain doing that it appears to be inefficient? Additionally, activations in the cerebellum were found to be related to set-shifting. However, to better understand the role of asymmetric switch costs, arithmetic tasks could be complemented with independent measures of the difficulty of each arithmetic operation separately. Brim, in Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, 2014. From: Handbook of Behavioral Neuroscience, 2016, K.R. Ezekiel et al. Young children show perseveration on shifting tasks by making consistent errors and showing difficulty in inhibiting a prepotent response (Zelazo et al., 2003). Cognitive flexibility can be seen from a variety of viewpoints. , Children can be strikingly inflexible when assessed using traditional tests of cognitive flexibility, but this does not come as a surprise considering the many cognitive processes involved in the mental flexibility, and the various developmental trajectories of such abilities. Cognitive flexibility has been described as the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. Perhaps it is a tradition. 9- to 11-year-old children, 14- to 15-year-old adolescents, and 18- to 25-year-old adults sorted bivalent stimuli (e.g., blue rabbit) on some trials and univalent stimuli (e.g., blue bar) on other trials. Next, students discuss the problem with the teacher and amongst themselves, asking questions. They argued that this finding is not because of the order of learning arithmetic operations but to the effect of asymmetrical switch costs observed in task switching. A vastly different application can be seen in the study of cognitive flexibility and video games. Yana Suchy, James A Holdnack, in WAIS-IV, WMS-IV, and ACS, 2013. Cognitive flexibility is the human ability to adapt the cognitive processing strategies to face new and unex-pected conditions in the environment (Cañas et al. We can define that certain individuals are better at performing a task than others and that two people who perform equally may be working at very different levels of intensity. , Diminished cognitive flexibility has been noted in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders such as anorexia nervosa, obsessive–compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, autism, and in a subset of people with ADHD. Cognitive flexibility and other executive function skills are crucial to success both in classroom settings and life. Cognitive flexibility is a critical executive function that can be broadly defined as the ability to adapt behaviors in response to changes in the environment. Cognitive flexibility is highly related with a number of these abilities, including inhibition, planning and working memory. We can persist with current behavioral strategies as long as these seem optimal for goal achievement, yet we can also update our strategies flexibly when the need for change has become sufficiently salient. We agree with this literature that solving a problem like “3 + 4 − 2” unequivocally implies a switch between arithmetic operations. When one is able to reason fluidly, they are in turn more likely to be cognitively flexible. Researchers in the field advocate a teaching style that incorporates group problem-solving activities and demands higher-level thought. Cognitive control and (cognitive) flexibility play an important role in an individual’s ability to adapt to continuously changing environments. Is the relation between the switch cost and the arithmetic operation the same depending on the type of transition made? How do our minds achieve this flexibility? Lastly, the ability to simultaneously consider two aspects of an object, idea, or situation at one point in time refers to cognitive flexibility. Perhaps some of you are by now getting the idea that scientists who measure cognitive flexibility are not always very cognitively flexible, but probably that conclusion is unfair. The Cognitive Flexibility Theory relies upon the idea that learners must not only be able to manipulate the means by which knowledge and content are being represented, but also the processes that are in charge of operating those representations. Surprisingly, Ellefson et al. That is, the switch cost is larger when switching from a difficult task to an easier task than the opposite, resulting in higher switch costs for the easy task (e.g., Monsell, Yeung, & Azuma, 2000; Wylie & Allport, 2000).  A counterexample is evident in cases where such material is presented in an oversimplified manner and learners fail to transfer their knowledge to a new domain. Set shifting refers to the ability to shift back and forth between different tasks, and is considered one of the core functions of executive processes. both color and kind of object). A set switch would require switching between task rules, as with the WCST, and is considered to be the most abstract. Cognitive flexibility is a broad term generally referring to our ability to adapt flexibly to our constantly changing environment. Consequently, the question of exactly how flexibility relates to arithmetic performance remains largely unanswered. Furthermore, those who are able to be cognitively flexible have been shown to have the ability to switch between and/or simultaneously think about sounds and meanings, which increases their reading fluency and comprehension. defined as the ability to switch one’s thinking (cognition) (or train of thought) as an adaptation to the demands of stimuli The mechanisms underlying cognitive flexibility have been explored extensively using various methods. Frequently, schizophrenic patients and their well siblings show such frontal cortical inefficiency, and it can be manipulated pharmacologically, for example by augmenting dopamine. Previous cross-sectional research indicates that impairments in set shift behavior correlated with age (Fisk and Sharp, 2004); however, significant differences are not observed until the age of 65–74 or older (Robbins et al., 1998; Rhodes, 2004). Computers allow for complex data to be presented in a multidimensional and coherent format, allowing users to access that data as needed. Cognitive flexibility is required in multiple ways throughout the school day. Other research on the neural correlates of cognitive flexibility in children has focused on lateral prefrontal cortex. Juveniles with Anorexia nervosa have marked decreases in set-shifting abilities, possibly associated with incomplete maturation of prefrontal cortices associated with malnutrition. A response switch would require different response mapping, such as circle right button and square left button and vice versa. yellow animals, yellow foods, blue animals and blue foods). Do something you know how to do, but do it differently (and often). This task appears to be more difficult as research has shown that seven-year-old children were incapable of sorting cards based on the two dimensions simultaneously. However, children continue to respond to conflict relatively well into middle childhood. The answer is that these responses may be a little weird or unusual, but they are intrinsically accurate, and in fact could be called for in certain situations.  Children with autism show a slightly different profile with deficits in adjusting to changing task contingencies, while often maintaining the ability to respond in the face of competing responses. Participants solved arithmetic problems in pure blocks (containing only additions or only multiplications) and in mixed blocks (switching between additions and multiplications). First of all, it’s important to be aware that rigid behaviors are often a … The main principles of the Cognitive Flexibility Theory are: Knowledge is “context-dependent”. Cognitive flexibility has been more broadly described as the ability to adjust one's thinking from old situations to new situations as well as the ability to overcome responses or thinking that have become habitual and adapt to new situations. Lastly, a stimulus or perceptual set switch would require a simple switch between a circle and a square. The figures on the cards differ with respect to color, quantity, and shape. Cognitive definition is - of, relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering).  While further research is needed to determine the efficacy of CFH as an instructional tool, classrooms where cognitive flexibility theory is applied in this manner are hypothesized to result in students more capable of transferring knowledge across domains. Hypertext documents, therefore, include nodes – bits of information – and links, the pathways between these nodes.  Typically, naming the color of the word takes longer and results in more errors when the color of the ink does not match the name of the color. These children focused on the two dimensions separately, whereas at the age of eleven, children were capable of sorting cards based on these two dimensions simultaneously. Analyses were based on areas that showed greater activity in switch blocks than repeat blocks. Under these standard conditions of the DCCS task, 3- and 5-year-old children readily sort by the first rule but only 5-year-old children flexibly switch to sort by the second rule. The fMRI results showed that children and adults both recruited brain regions that included dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, left posterior parietal cortex, and left premotor cortex on both rule representation (repeat) and rule switching (switch) trials. Kim Archambeau, Wim Gevers, in Heterogeneity of Function in Numerical Cognition, 2018. In this sense, they are better at planning, organizing, and at employing particular memory strategies. 2003). The final card type is the "color-word card", which displays the names of the colors printed in an ink of a conflicting color (e.g.  According to this definition, when sorting cards based on specific rules, children are considered cognitively flexible if they can sort cards based on the color of the objects and type of objects on the card simultaneously. But persisting, staying the course, being unbending and unyielding, that is also psychological flexibility. The behavioral results showed that participants were slower and less accurate on rule switching trials than rule representation (repeat) trials, and children were less accurate and slower than adults. Finally, an asymmetrical switch cost is typically observed in task-switching paradigms when the two tasks involve unequal levels of difficulty. Additionally, it is well recognized that deficits in nonverbal communication are sometimes associated with weaknesses in visual–spatial (i.e., right-hemisphere) functions. Building on the theoretical and empirical work outlined above, three specific hypotheses guided Study 1: H1: Cognitive inflexibility is related to heightened willingness to fight for one’s ingroup against outgroups. Improvements in conflict resolution with age may reflect the integration of prefrontal regions with other brain regions involved in cognitive control processes, as well as a reduction in “sluggish” neuronal dynamics. For example, Wendelken, Munakata, Baym, Souza, and Bunge (2012) used fMRI to probe how the temporal dynamics of neural activity are associated with rule switching. Researchers with an interest in cognitive flexibility occasionally used arithmetic operations to examine features of task switching (e.g., Baddeley, Chincotta, & Adlam, 2001; Ellefson, Shapiro, & Chater, 2006; Jersild, 1927; Rubinstein, Meyer, & Evans, 2001). Switching from one task to another task produces a certain cognitive cost. Elizabeth Will, ... Lisa A. Daunhauer, in International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, 2014. For example, is there anything really wrong with the response: “one-syllable word”? Building the Skillsets for Cognitive Flexibility Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains' fertile adolescent development stage. With age, children generally show increases in cognitive flexibility which is likely a product of the protracted development of the frontoparietal network evident in adults, with maturing synaptic connections, increased myelination and regional gray matter volume occurring from birth to mid-twenties.  Cognitive flexibility is usually described as one of the executive functions. Show Creative Examples of Cognitive Rigidity. Starting early in school, teachers may not only look for the “correct” answer, but at times punish a child who arrives at the answer by a different method. Mental flexibility is considered part of executive funcions, which are the general mental functions that help us to cordinate thought and action. inhibit color of object to focus on kind of object), they are also more cognitively flexible. Does a person presenting a large cost when switching between additions and subtractions also present a large cost when switching between other dimensions (e.g., color–shape). Other terms for and components of cognitive fl… Intermediate phenotypes encompass cognitive processes that serve as a link between the observed behavioral symptoms of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders and the brain or genetic structure (Gottesman & Gould, 2003). Another study (Lie et al., 2006) used fMRI to segregate different network components in the frontoparietal and striatal regions underlying the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Campbell and Arbuthnott (2010) more closely investigated the nature of the switch cost mixing additions and multiplications. Human studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) have revealed a variety of distinct regions of the brain that work in concert from which flexibility could be predicted reliably, including the prefrontal cortex (PFC), basal ganglia, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and posterior parietal cortex (PPC). Cognitive flexibility relates to a number of areas including learning theory, psychology, and neurophysiology. In rats, impaired set shift is prominent in advanced age (Barense et al., 2002; Nieves-Martinez et al., 2012; Beas et al., 2016; Ianov et al., 2016), and one study in mice indicated no age-related deficit in the ability to shift (Young et al., 2010).  As such, if one is able to overcome previously held beliefs or habits (when it is required for new situations) then they would be considered cognitively flexible. However, in at least some populations, deficits in nonverbal communication are associated with a much broader array of cognitive problems. Subsequent research found that children’s performance in the DCCS could be improved through training over the course of a laboratory session, which, in turn, reduces the amplitude of the N2 (Espinet, Anderson, & Zelazo, 2013). 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