Because addition and multiplication networks are interrelated in memory, the earlier learned additions would need to be inhibited to prevent interference with the learning of the multiplications (e.g., inhibiting 5 as an answer when learning 2 × 3). Then, in the critical trial and while the child is watching, the object is hidden in Location B, a second location within easy reach of child. Researchers in the field advocate a teaching style that incorporates group problem-solving activities and demands higher-level thought. In this paradigm, participants are required to alternate between two or more tasks. Ezekiel, Bosma, and Morton (2013) tested whether the functional integration of lateral prefrontal cortex with other brain regions involved in cognitive control is associated with developmental change in cognitive flexibility. If this would be the case, how would the local switch cost in arithmetic and nonarithmetic domains predict more general performances in mathematics? Participants were presented with stimuli that varied in color or direction (e.g., blue fish pointing left) and were given a cue (e.g., “color,” “direction”) indicating the relevant dimension. In addition, because the switch cost seems to be affected by task familiarity, different patterns of results can be obtained through development (e.g., Ellefson et al., 2006). Next, students discuss the problem with the teacher and amongst themselves, asking questions. We are able to discover genes, neurotransmitters and drugs that modulate these processes. What is the brain doing that it appears to be inefficient? Or, we want to assess the cognitive flexibility of a job applicant. The difficulty of assessing cognitive flexibility is well illustrated by the inflexibility of some of the tasks that have been designed to test it. 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. In this measure, there are three types of cards in the deck. 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. A developmental explanation was provided. This indicates greater functional integration of lateral prefrontal cortex with other brain regions involved in cognitive control with age, which may contribute to developmental differences in cognitive flexibility. It is a generic answer, but so is the acceptable answer “blue”. In the DCCS, children are presented with a pair of target cards depicting two-dimensional objects (e.g., red star, blue circle) and asked to sort a set of bivalent cards (e.g., red circle, blue star) by one rule (e.g., sort by shape) and then switch to sort by another rule (e.g., sort by color). Individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), an intermediate stage between normal aging-related memory changes and Alzheimer's disease, exhibit even further impairment in cognitive flexibility (Ballesteros et al., 2013). Shifting, or cognitive flexibility, is described as the ability to refocus attention to relevant stimuli (Diamond, 2006) and also simultaneously consider conflicting representations of information in order to execute goal-directed behavior (Jacques & Zelazo, 2005). In order to resolve this conflict, they must first detect it. Once that rule is learned, the rule changes and rats need to respond to a particular side for a food reward (regardless of the light; bottom). The key finding was that there was greater coactivation of lateral prefrontal cortex and other regions involved in cognitive control (including anterior cingulate and inferior parietal cortex) in adults than in children. One possible explanation for the apparent association between nonverbal communication and performance on some verbal measures is that some verbal tests employ visual stimuli. Cognitive Flexibility and Control is the ability to change what you are thinking about, how you are thinking about it and even what you think about it – in other words, the ability to change your mind. [23] The basal ganglia is active during response selection and the PPC, along with the inferior frontal junction are active during representation and updating of task sets called domain general switching. For example, is there anything really wrong with the response: “one-syllable word”? Typically, children between ages nine and eleven demonstrate the cognitive flexibility needed for this test.[3][17]. 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. Another outstanding issue is whether switch costs associated with arithmetic operations are completely confounded with switch costs between other types of information. For example, individuals with nonverbal learning disability are typically characterized both by affect recognition deficits (Dimitrovsky, Spector, & Levy-Shiff, 2000; Dimitrovsky, Spector, Levy-Shiff, & Vakil, 1998) and by visual–spatial deficits (Forrest, 2004; Worling, Humphries, & Tannock, 1999). [25], 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. There are cognitive tasks and self-report questionnaires for this, like the disexecutive questionnaire (DEX), which is best suited for clinical populations. Surprisingly, Ellefson et al. found that 3- to 5-year-old children who passed the DCCS exhibited smaller N2 amplitudes than did children who failed the DCCS. 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). [9] 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. Fig. But persisting, staying the course, being unbending and unyielding, that is also psychological flexibility. Rhesus monkeys exhibit impaired attentional set shifting starting in middle-age, when examined using a conceptual set-shifting task (Moore et al., 2006); this finding suggests that impaired cognitive flexibility may occur early in this primate model. Behavioral flexibility can be assessed with the set-shifting task. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts or to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. 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). Sara N. Burke, Thomas C. Foster, in Handbook of Clinical Neurology, 2019. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to transition thoughts between multiple concepts or perspectives. Cognitive Flexibility Theory. 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”. Cognitive flexibility can be seen from a variety of viewpoints. Is the relation between the switch cost and the arithmetic operation the same depending on the type of transition made? Being able to switch your way of thinking, change your mind, or simultaneously think of multiple concepts at once are examples of cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility is highly related with a number of these abilities, including inhibition, planning and working memory. The mechanisms underlying cognitive flexibility have been explored extensively using various methods. The Wisconsin card sorting task, which requires individuals to adapt to new rules, shows that normal aging decreases cognitive flexibility in humans (Boone et al., 1993). We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. The aging brain undergoes physical and functional changes including a decline in processing speed, central sensory functioning, white matter integrity, and brain volume. In forming these questions, students are actively brainstorming and recalling prior knowledge. 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. Recent reviews of cognitive flexibility have identified a distributed network of frontoparietal regions involved in flexible switching, including high-level cortical association areas (vlPFC, dlPFC, anterior cingulate, and right anterior insula), the premotor cortex, the inferior and superior parietal cortices, the inferior temporal cortex, the occipital cortex, and subcortical structures such as the caudate and thalamus (Dajani and Uddin, 2015). This demonstrates an increase in cognitive flexibility between the ages of seven and eleven. Cognitive flexibility relates to a number of areas including learning theory, psychology, and neurophysiology. Researchers have agreed that the A-not-B task is a simple task that effectively measures cognitive flexibility during infancy. Cognitive flexibility has also been shown to be related to one's ability to cope in particular situations. [16] However, cognitive flexibility has been shown to be a broad concept that can be studied with all different ages and situations. We probably have little understanding of what algorithms a person is running in order to solve problems but we can at least determine what parts of the brain are activated during cognitive tasks, thus isolating the locations of the circuits involved. Juveniles with Anorexia nervosa have marked decreases in set-shifting abilities, possibly associated with incomplete maturation of prefrontal cortices associated with malnutrition. The ability to shift behavior in response to such extradimensional cues depends on the lateral PFC in primates (Moore et al., 2009) and the mPFC in rats (Birrell and Brown, 2000), and this facility is usually differentiated from simple reversal learning, which depends on the orbital PFC (McAlonan and Brown, 2003). both color and kind of object). Despite some disagreement in the literature about how to operationally define the term, one commonality is that cognitive flexibility is a component of executive functioning. As expected, children showed asymmetrical switch costs with larger switching costs for additions than for subtractions (i.e., the switch cost is more important when switching from subtractions to additions than the opposite). For example, those with obsessive–compulsive disorder experience difficulty shifting their attentional focus as well as inhibiting motor responses. [11] Executive functioning includes other aspects of cognition, including inhibition, memory, emotional stability, planning, and organization. There are certain phrases you can learn to help you focus on improving … (Sprio, Feltovich, Jacobson & Coulson, 1991). [9][12], The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) is used to determine an individual's competence in abstract reasoning, and the ability to change problem-solving strategies when needed. And so on. Campbell and Arbuthnott (2010) more closely investigated the nature of the switch cost mixing additions and multiplications. In pure blocks, additions were solved faster than multiplications. One component of EF is CF. [28] 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. Given that solving additions is easier than solving subtractions, higher global and local switch costs were expected for additions compared with subtractions. 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. Elizabeth Will, ... Lisa A. Daunhauer, in International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, 2014. 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. If we think about the rats driving … [4] A crucial aim of education is to help students learn as well as appropriately apply and adapt what they have learned to novel situations. [1] Researchers have more specifically described cognitive flexibility as the capacity to shift or switch one's thinking and attention between different tasks or operations typically in response to a change in rules or demands. This applicant is “creative”. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. An alternative educational approach informed by cognitive flexibility is hypertext, which is frequently computer-supported instruction. These regions include the prefrontal cortex (PFC), basal ganglia, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and posterior parietal cortex (PPC). Their study aimed to separate the neural processes involved in two aspects of rule use, remembering the rules and switching between rules. Moreover, it refers to simultaneously considering multiple aspects of thought at once, whether they be two aspects of a specific object, or many aspects of a complex situation. Examining the trait under the guise of "mental flexibility", Dutch researchers observed that players of first-person shooter games (e.g. However, children continue to respond to conflict relatively well into middle childhood. 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). Imagine this: The school sends out class schedules right before the new school year. In mixed blocks, however, the reverse pattern was observed with faster multiplications than additions. However, five-year-old children are able to sort cards based on one dimension and can then switch to sorting cards on a second dimension. 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. We covet cognitive flexibility, but do not do well at encouraging it or assessing it. Fortunately, cognitive flexibility can actually be a fun future-ready skill to develop in the classroom. 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). In this test, a rat is first trained to respond to a cue light for a food reward (top), regardless of the location of the light. The neural basis of cognitive flexibility has been studied during many periods of development, including early childhood. So all well and good. However, the actual cognitive cost associated with this switch is unclear. Most other changes are irrelevant (represent noise) and should be ignored. 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. 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. Cognitive control and (cognitive) flexibility play an important role in an individual’s ability to adapt to continuously changing environments. Activation of the dorsolateral PFC has been shown during resolution of interference of irrelevant task sets. For example, in one study (Badre and Wagner, 2006) event-related fMRI was performed during a task-switching paradigm (i.e., the participants were required to switch between two simple cognitive tasks). Cognitive flexibility also involves the ability to apply previously acquired knowledge in a new way. In particular, in children, activity at the onset of each trial appeared to be driven by the activity from the previous trial. Age-related deficits in cognitive flexibility have been identified in rodents by assessing reversal learning; in these studies impaired cognitive flexibility has been associated with changes in the prefrontal cortex (Schoenbaum et al., 2006). An example of contingency change would be the number of trials it takes to shift from responding to a rewarded light cue, regardless of its position (left or right port), to responding to a rewarded position (now the right port only) regardless of the presence or absence of the previously rewarded light cue. This is reflected in the integration of cognitive flexibility into educational policy regarding academic guidelines and expectations. the elderly, who face cognitive decline) and is therefore socially relevant. This carryover in neural activity may slow children’s responses and lead them to make errors on trials in which the rule has changed. However, this interpretation has been questioned, as the association between affect recognition deficits and poor test performance on verbal measures has been observed even after intelligence and educational background have been accounted for (Suchy, Rau, Whittaker, Eastvold, & Strassberg, 2009). https://www.ldatschool.ca/.../executive-functions/eight-pillars/cognitive-flexibility Because cognitive flexibility is a complex EF skill and closely related to working memory and inhibition (Garon et al., 2008; Miyake et al., 2000; Zelazo et al., 2003), identifying difficulties in this construct for individuals with DS is essential for targeting successful goal-directed behavior. Additionally, activations in the cerebellum were found to be related to set-shifting. Cognitive flexibility — the ability to use different thinking strategies and mental frameworks. By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. Keywords: individual, team, sport, cognitive flexibility 1. Kids who struggle with flexible thinking often have trouble coping with change. In the A-not-B task, children are shown an object hidden at Location A within their reach, and are then prompted to search for the object at Location A, where they find it. When one is able to reason fluidly, they are in turn more likely to be cognitively flexible. Magnusson, B.L. In animal models, cognitive flexibility generally refers to the ability to switch a behavioral response according to the context of a situation (Scott, 1962 ). (2006) suggested that the level of task familiarity changes throughout development for arithmetic operations, possibly influencing the switch cost (e.g., Meuter & Allport, 1999; Yeung & Monsell, 2003). [1] Cognitive flexibility is usually described as one of the executive functions. Moreover, it refers to simultaneously considering multiple aspects of thought at once, whether they be two aspects of a specific object, or many aspects of a complex situation. Cognitive flexibility and other executive function skills are crucial to success both in classroom settings and life. yellow animals, yellow foods, blue animals and blue foods). The detection of conflict, indexed by activation in anterior cingulate cortex, can initiate the recruitment of lateral prefrontal regions and permit performance adjustments (e.g., Botvinick, Braver, Barch, Carter, & Cohen, 2001; MacDonald, Cohen, & Carter, 2000; Ridderinkhof, van den Wildenberg, Wijnen, & Burle, 2004). [36] 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. These changes include declines in expression of NMDA and kainate-type ionotropic glutamate receptors, as well as impaired dopaminergic function (Nicolle and Baxter, 2003; Mizoguchi et al., 2010). Brain activation was recorded at left vlPFC areas as well as inferior parietal cortex, suggesting that the left vlPFC cortex resolves the conflict during task switching to facilitate flexible performance. Many of us just stay in the mill pond or go farther down the rabbit hole rather than stepping back and trying to sway things in a more interesting direction. 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). From: Handbook of Behavioral Neuroscience, 2016, K.R. In general, researchers in the field focus on development of cognitive flexibility between the ages of three and five. [6] For example, when sorting cards based on specific rules, children are considered cognitively flexible if they are able to successfully switch from sorting cards based on the color of the object to sorting based on the type of object on the card. Finally, an asymmetrical switch cost is typically observed in task-switching paradigms when the two tasks involve unequal levels of difficulty. Yana Suchy, James A Holdnack, in WAIS-IV, WMS-IV, and ACS, 2013. Flexible thinking is the ability to quickly switch gears and find new ways to solve problems. For example, Ellefson et al. 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. Cognitive flexibility theory is especially formulated to support the use of interactive technology (e.g., videodisc, hypertext). Cognitive flexibility varies during the lifespan of an individual. More specifically, local switch costs are measured by comparing the performance in AA and BB transitions (task-repetition trials) with the performance in BA and AB transitions (task-switch trials) in a mixed block such as AABBAABB (e.g., Kiesel et al., 2010; Kray & Lindenberger, 2000; Mayr, 2001; Vandierendonck et al., 2010). The "word card," displays the names of colors printed in black and white ink, which participants are again asked name as quickly as possible. Brim, in Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, 2014. 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. Here, both children and young adults showed the typical asymmetrical switch costs. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts or to think about multiple concepts simultaneously. 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. 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. Incongruent trials ), certain conditions such as obsessive–compulsive disorder experience difficulty their... Important role in an inability to adapt behavior to changing demands 3, with WCST... Same value when switching between task rules, as with the hidden object Location! Been created to enhance `` brain fitness '', Dutch researchers observed that players of shooter! And unyielding, that is also psychological flexibility will include that component operations... Somewhat surprisingly, to the best of our knowledge, such as disorder. 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