Math 3-6

Cognitive Flexibility

Factor Connections

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How Cognitive Flexibility connects to...

Cognitive Flexibility, a component of executive functioning, is the ability to effectively adapt our behavior as we face changing environmental and task demands. Students can use these skills to transition between different activities in the classroom or to think about a concept or question from different perspectives. Cognitive Flexibility develops throughout childhood and adolescence, and this flexible and adaptive thinking has been shown to support students' thinking, learning, and math success.

Main Ideas

Cognitive Flexibility (also called "attention shifting" or "task switching") allows us to think about multiple concepts, either at the same time or while switching between them. For example, in task switching, it allows us to attend to different aspects of a task depending on a given rule (e.g., sort colorful shapes by color) and then to shift to a new rule (e.g., sort by shape).

Learn More

  • Cognitive Control: Subtopic that explores the brain's ability to select certain thoughts, responses, or goals over others and to switch between different tasks on Digital Promise's Research Map

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