Other cognitive distortions are more deeply ingrained, and require extra work. Archived. The gut microbiome is becoming an increasingly popular target for psychiatric research. New evidence suggests that taking fish oil (which contains omega-3s) can increase cognitive flexibility. The individuals received either propranolol (a beta blocker) or a placebo. Specifically, increases in Clostridiales and reductions in Bacteroidales are associated with poorer cognitive flexibility. Tweak your Gut Microbes If we think about the rats driving their cars, we can easily see how we can apply this to our own driving habits. They designed a simple, yet elegant, project designed to compare the levels of cognitive complacency (laziness) of capuchin monkeys and rhesus monkeys with that of humans. Enriched environment exposure accelerates rodent driving skills. Have you needed to run an errand that would have taken you out of your way and instead ended up at home? Working memory training: A study published in 2013 suggested that working memory training programs may increase cognitive flexibility. While high testosterone may not have been the direct cause for their poor cognitive flexibility, it could have been a contributing factor. 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. planning, cognitive flexibility, behavioral inhibition, organization, self-monitoring and memory. Rats are truly spectacular, whether it’s displaying an enormous capacity for empathy as I discussed in my previous post, friendship, or fairness, there seems to be no end to the lessons we can learn from rats—including how to increase and strengthen the neural basis for cognitive flexibility. Understand that the degree by which certain tactics increase cognitive flexibility is subject to significant individual variation. While the results from this research aren’t considered definitive, there is reason to believe that abnormal serotonergic neurotransmission may impair cognitive flexibility. Crawford, L.E., Knouse, L.E., Kent, M., Vavra, D., Harding, O., LeServe, D., Fox, N., Hu, X., Li, P., Glory, C. and Lambert, K.G., 2019. Results demonstrated that increased intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may prevent dysfunction of the aging brain. It could be suspected that individuals with low dopamine (or suboptimal levels) may display decreased cognitive flexibility compared to those with normative levels. Results suggested that anxiety prior to the hypoxia actually improved cognitive flexibility, but anxiety post-hypoxia lead to a decrease in cognitive flexibility. We live in a time of great societal changes in the Western world. To maximize your cognitive flexibility, you may want to reduce intake of sugar and unhealthy fats (e.g. For example, someone taking a drug like Memantine for mild forms of dementia may experience increased cognitive flexibility. Results suggested that stress impaired performance on cognitive flexibility tasks. Previous studies have found that PTSD is associated with hippocampal-related impairment in cognitive flexibility. If we think about the rats driving … The results indicated that participants demonstrated increases in cognitive function and flexibility. If your goal is to increase cognitive flexibility and you like video games, train yourself in a game that requires manipulation of multiple streams of information nearly simultaneously. However, when this region is removed, the brain reconnects via different sensory pathways. Due to lack of long-term research with many of these compounds, it is unknown how long the increase in cognitive flexibility is sustained, and/or whether potential rigidity may result from consistent long-term administration of a specific drug. Talk to new people, exchange ideas and information, or simply help other people through volunteering. Cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to flexibly adjust to changed demands or priorities, to look at the same thing in different ways or from different perspectives (as required for set shifting or task switching; Allport and Wylie, 2000, Kiesel et al., 2010, Monsell, 2003, Vandierendonck et al., 2010). A study published in 2014, researchers documented the effect of “simulated” hypoxia (less oxygen) at altitudes of 3600 meters. To avoid this, you must shake things up. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that among those with forms of neurodegeneration, memantine could increase cognitive flexibility. Researchers noted that those without the 9R allele of the DAT1 had reductions in striatal dopamine concentration. A total of 16 participants were assigned to engage in a cognitive flexibility performance test with anagram word puzzles following awakenings during REM or NREM. She is the author of Wild Connection: What animal courtship and mating tell us about human relationships. It doesn’t have to be spectacularly different, just different. This study recruited 36 individuals between the ages of 75 and 87. Although physical activity interventions have been shown to improve cognitive flexibility , knowledge of dietary effects on children's cognitive flexibility has been limited . Following short-term antipsychotic treatment, performance on the Test for Attentional Performance (TAP) significantly increased. Here's the big deal. Adapt, pivot, innovate. A study published in 2013 discovered that individuals with low levels of cognitive flexibility also had high testosterone. Introduction. Cognitive Restructuring Techniques. Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice the flexible thinking that will make the most of their brains' fertile adolescent development stage. Intervention- induced improvement in cognitive flexibility positively correlated with clinical improvement (p = 0.002). Ingestion of L-Tyrosine tends to increase dopamine levels in the brain, and may enhance cognition (as a nootropic) while bolstering your flexibility of cognition. A study published in 2015 analyzed the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids, neural activation, and APOE e4 carriers (a biomarker indicating that individuals are at risk for cognitive decline). Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today. First, learning a new skill can be stressful. Individuals with rigidity of thinking are unable to adjust their thoughts and perspectives to accommodate novel stimuli and unexpected situations; these are people that are “set in their ways,” closed-minded, and set in their ways. Bromocriptine did not increase cognitive flexibility when sulpiride was administered pretreatment. If you are serious about increasing the speed by which you’re able to consciously alter your thinking and process multifaceted aspects of stimuli simultaneously, the techniques listed below should help. While cognitive flexibility is associated with improvements in brain performance, functionality, and increased intelligence – there remain a plethora of (perhaps more important) other neuroscientific realms that warrant further research. Paradoxical Intervention and Cognitive Flexibility. However, as I wrote about in a previous post, routines can become ruts, diminishing our cognitive abilities. What’s worse, we are highly resistant to change, refusing to adopt innovations that run counter to our existing knowledge. There are many benefits of omega-3 fatty acid intake, specifically DHA and EPA. Building the Skillsets for Cognitive Flexibility. A computer-based learning experience was developed using cognitive flexibility theory to overcome the pitfalls often encountered in existing medical education. If you were to estimate your own level of cognitive flexibility, how would you rate yourself? It has been noted to improve stroke rehabilitation in rodents, particularly the aspects of motor and cognitive recovery. It has long been suspected that genes influencing the transportation of dopamine throughout the brain may increase and/or decrease cognitive flexibility. It appears as though inner speech may increase top-down control during shifting of thoughts (i.e. Another way to build cognitive flexibility is to make an effort to think in … How do we know that other species have it and demonstrate it to a higher degree? Like the rats, it’s even better if you combine mental and physical learning. However, the research is clear. To watch rats driving their special rat cars, you can see a small clip here. The conclusion from these results was that treatment with antipsychotics increases cognitive flexibility. The unique anatomy and chemistry of this transitional state comprises increased dopamine receptors and accelerated neuroplasticity. Julia Watzek, Sarah M. Pope, Sarah F. Brosnan. Researchers then administered “task-set” switching assessments to determine performance. It is apparent that MDMA administration (at high doses) could have similar effects in humans. Cognitive flexibility training intervention among children with autism: a longitudinal study Cristina de Andrade Varanda* and Fernanda Dreux Miranda Fernandes Abstract Autism is defined by persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction in multiple contexts as well as restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. An earlier study (not published) showed significant pretest-posttest increase in scores, as well as a significant positive correlation between choosing to complete the module individually or in pairs. It was noted that as the brain matures, the extracellular matrix decreases brain plasticity. Yes. Behavioural Brain Research, p.112309. flexibility). Do you think that you possess a high degree of cognitive flexibility or are you a rigid thinker? The evidence from their study suggest that training in video games that emphasize rapid modulation of multiple information sources could increase cognitive flexibility. There are several things that may work against your existing cognitive flexibility, and could promote rigidity of thought. Since there are established associations between stress levels and cognitive flexibility, and also symbiotic relationships between stress and hormones, it is possible to consider that levels of certain hormones could alter both stress and/or cognitive flexibility. 5 Thus, clarifying the processes that underlie cognitive inflexibility in EDs will facilitate the development of novel cognitive retraining strategies designed to target specific mechanisms that have salience to particular ED symptoms. Results from the study indicate that the MDMA-induced neurotoxicity resulted in significantly decreased cognitive flexibility, and the decrease was noticeable 5 days after administration. This ability is generally considered part of the executive function of the brain. (2019) for some answers. I shall not be liable or responsible for any loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestions within this website. Meet new people. Fourth, those rats that had a richer environment with a diverse set of toys and opportunities learned faster and were better drivers. Previous post: What Is Cognitive Flexibility? No. Research published in 2015 supports the idea that L-Tyrosine (an essential amino acid)... 2. In 2013, a study was published that determined the effects of neurotoxic and non-neurotoxic MDMA doses in mice. It was concluded that 10 weeks of aerobic exercise should be associated with heighted cognitive flexibility. Cognitive stimulation program: A study published in 2014 suggested that using a mHealth cognitive stimulation program may increase cognitive flexibility among individuals suffering from alcohol dependence. There are many reasons a person may wish to increase their cognitive flexibility. It seems that once we learn something one way, we stick with it even if there is a faster, better, more effective approach. (2019) study, all participants were taught a sequence of steps that led to a reward. This suggests that hypoxia associated with high altitude could temporarily improve cognitive flexibility. You can also subscribe without commenting. Results from the study discovered that development of inner speech in childhood enhances development of cognitive flexibility. Due to the fact that serotonin (5-HT) influences cognitive flexibility, researchers designed a study in which they would manipulate serotonin levels and determine changes in cognitive flexibility. Researchers noted that administration of 5 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg to mice increased cognitive flexibility. A control group was active 0 to 2 days per week, whereas the “aerobic group” was active either 3 to 4 days per week or 5 to 7 days per week. None of the past studies had specifically analyzed L-Tyrosine’s effect on cognitive flexibility. Despite the fact that this was a small scale study, it is worth noting that altitude changes associated with lack of oxygen could trigger anxiety. Researchers attempted to determine whether the video game training would increase cognitive flexibility, and if so, the mechanisms behind the increase. Cognitive retraining interventions also can be used to help individuals accommodate areas of dysfunction, even if underlying deficits do not change. Cognitive flexibility and shifting the depends on the prefrontal lobe of the brain, which is the brain structure that takes longest to mature.You may have noticed that children are prone to impatience, get upset when faced with a change in the routine, and tend to throw tantrums. 2. Amitriptyline (Elavil) Withdrawal Symptoms + How Long Do They Last? And finally, being a passenger is just as stressful for rats as it is for people! In short, we are incredibly biased. Indeed, those species that exhibit less cognitive bias, also have a much stronger capacity for moral reasoning and fairness. Due in part to dramatic improvements in medical science, our aging population is expanding rapidly. Researchers controlled for age, gender, education, and psychomotor speed and noted that the only measure demonstrating significant improvement was cognitive flexibility. Regular physical exercise is associated with increased BDNF levels and the growth of new brain cells in a process called neurogenesis. There was a close relationship between cognitive flexibility and inner speech among both children and adults. The answer? Regarding therapeutical efforts to improve cognitive flexibility among individuals with autism, the effects of direct EF interventions in ASD have presented mixed results, either positive or null (de Vries, Prins, Schmand, & Geurts, 2015). It was noted that L-Tyrosine enhanced the usage of various cognitive resources. 3. 1. The more advanced a person was with their meditation practice, the greater their cognitive flexibility on the Stroop test. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Results from this study noted significant increases in cognitive flexibility as a result of the gaming tasks. 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In one study, researchers analyzed the effect of a Western diet characterized by high fat and sucrose on gut microbes, which can alter cognitive flexibility. Interventions for Cognitive Flexibility. Activity within the gut often influences activity within the brain such as neurotransmission – and vice-versa; the two have a symbiotic relationship. In a study published in 2002, researchers compared the effects of REM sleep to those associated with NREM (non-REM) sleep. Specifically, it has been noted that REM-dreaming is linked to increased creativity and abstract reasoning abilities. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-49658-0. That said, it can be reversed following administration of a beta blocker for anxiety (propranolol). canola oil) and eat an optimal diet for mental health. Specifically, it appears as though there is a direct relationship between cognitive flexibility and omgega-3 biomarkers. One of the measures for this study was an attentional “set shifting” task, which allowed researchers to note cognitive flexibility. Lexapro (Escitalopram) vs Zoloft (Sertraline): Extensive Comparison. This suggests that antiglutamatergic agents (e.g. Furthermore, it is unknown as to whether memantine elicits a sustained increase in cognitive flexibility over an extended duration. A cognitive intervention is a form of psychological intervention, a technique and therapy practised in counselling.It describes a myriad of approaches to therapy that focus on addressing psychological distress at a cognitive level. 8 8. Dr. Jennifer Verdolin is an animal behavior scientist specializing in social behavior. Further, it is important to avoid assuming that everyone taking these substances and/or drugs will experience improvements in cognitive flexibility – certain substances could theoretically increase rigidity in some individuals. Keep in mind that all of the things that deplete cognitive flexibility are not necessarily yet known and/or documented by science. Well, that's why he's the executive. This suggests that impaired cognitive flexibility as a result of stress could be related to the noradrenergic system, a target for the propranolol. “I Don’t Allow Men I Sleep with to Kiss Me", One of the Most Contagious and Dangerous Attitude Biases, Psychology Today © 2021 Sussex Publishers, LLC, Surprising Benefits of Physical Exercise on Sex and Orgasms, Two Ways Religion and Spirituality Help to Boost Resilience, How Social Restrictions Impact Human Trafficking, Why Some Bipolar Disorder Patients Are Lithium Non-Responders, Rats Cut Deals and Trade Different Favors With One Another. An intervention program of 14 to 21 sessions was established to enhance cognitive flexibility. To determine how DAT1 influenced cognitive flexibility, researchers assigned a task-switching protocol to a sample of individuals and determined differences based on polymorphisms. In addition it is also important to consider the fact that short-term increases in cognitive flexibility as a result of treatment do not account for long-term changes. Moreover, meditators were noted as significantly outperforming non-meditators on all attentional measures. In yet another fascinating study, Crawford et al. You, as a reader of this website, are totally and completely responsible for your own health and healthcare. Cognitive flexibility improved after stress exposure when the pharmaceutical (propranolol) was administered. It appears as though when the memantine administration was discontinued, cognitive flexibility decreased. These traits are often associated with great leaders, entrepreneurs, and inventors—not bumblebees, rats, ravens, rhesus macaques, and chimpanzees (to name just a few). By comparison, cognitive flexibility would be like a pile of dough that is capable of quickly morphing into new shapes to adapt to the environment and novel stimuli. In addition to the ATD method, they used an fMRI and determined Blood Oxygen Level Dependent (BOLD) response during cognitive flexibility tasks. There seems to be a link between striatal dopamine concentrations and cognitive flexibility. Practice thinking creatively. If you’re going to add inner speech as a “to-do” for cognitive flexibility, focus on coherency and maintain linguistic format. This anxiety has potential to decrease performance in a “task switch” paradigm which is indicative of cognitive flexibility. Celexa (Citalopram) vs. Lexapro (Escitalopram): Which Is Better? While the researchers didn’t specifically measure cognitive flexibility, it could be suspected that cognitive flexibility may have increased as a result of the training. While there are other types of meditation, mindfulness is a specific practice that has been shown to improve cognitive flexibility. It means that most humans are pretty bad at optimal decision-making. Although the study was conducted in mice, it appears that gut microbes change when the mice were fed diets high in fat, and high in sucrose. This suggests that increases in cognitive flexibility could reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms and improve outcomes among those with alcohol dependence, and perhaps be effective for those with other forms of drug dependence. Dysfunction of D2 signaling and low baseline dopamine may contribute to poorer cognitive flexibility. Therefore, behaviors and substances that decrease REM sleep should be avoided. MDMA: In rodent studies, it appears as though consistent administration of MDMA (ecstasy) triggers dopaminergic neurotoxicity. Pursue new challenges and experiences. It was speculated that the high MDMA decreased dopamine transporter (DAT) functionality. In addition to the aforementioned 7 techniques, there are several other methods that may increase cognitive flexibility in certain individuals. Individuals with psychiatric conditions characterized by altered dopaminergic signaling, particularly in the frontostriatal circuit may have impaired cognitive flexibility. 61 Ways To Be Productive When You Work From Home, 4 Reasons to View Your Relationship from a New Perspective. High stress: Slight increases in stress can improve cognitive function temporarily, while sustained increases in stress and/or abnormally high stress are thought to decrease cognition and damage the brain. If you aren’t getting proper sleep and/or are missing the REM stage of the sleep cycle, you may have less cognitive flexibility than others. ScienceDaily. In studies conducted in rodents (Mongolian gerbils), removal of the extracellular matrix increased cognitive flexibility in a reversal learning. A greater proportion of individuals within those species appear to have an abundance of cognitive flexibility compared to humans. However, a person without mild dementia taking Memantine may not experience enhanced flexibility – theoretically they could experience increased rigidity or no significant change. In the Watzek et al. Kids use flexible thinking both for learning to read and for reading to … In addition, they accounted for genetic baseline dopaminergic differences, they used the VNTR polymorphism associated with the DAT1 gene. When looking at other people’s cognitive distortions, they … While the gut may not contain as many neurons as the brain, it still contains over 100 million neurons and is rightfully considered the “second brain.”. This method is completely reversible, but temporarily lowers both plasma tryptophan concentrations and serotonin in the brain. Genetics / Epigenetics: Certain genetic polymorphisms may be associated with reductions in cognitive flexibility. Some, such as poking each other in the eye as a test of faith and potentially friendship, are perhaps less than spectacular, but nevertheless, avant-garde. One easy way to possibly increase your cognitive flexibility would be to purchase L-Tyrosine, or eat foods that increase dopamine (most of them will contain Tyrosine). Flexible Thinking and Reading. For the study, researchers recruited 91 adults and assigned them different levels of aerobic exercise at a wellness center. One other place we converge with other species is that we tend to like people that are more like ourselves, birds of a feather and all. These difficulties impact many spheres of the educational experience: academic, social, emotional, and behavioral. In animal studies, 5-HT abnormalities tends to cause rigidity of thinking and behavior. Evidence from this report suggests that certain genetic underpinnings (or correlates) can likely decrease cognitive flexibility, but others may increase it. Researchers note that cognitive flexibility in normal adults may be impaired under significant stress. Among those with normative mental health and/or undergoing long-term treatment – it is unknown whether cognitive flexibility would increase. The current ex post facto study aimed to examine the relationship between cognitive flexibility, … At the end of the day, sprinkling your life with a few activities designed to challenge you and take you out of your comfort zone will improve your ability to adapt, decrease your anxiety and stress, and broaden your perspective. Below are cognitive flexibility tests. Have you taken any assessments like the Stroop Test to confirm your estimates? Consistent high dose administration over a long-term may permanently impair cognitive flexibility and/or result in a protracted MDMA withdrawal, during which it takes significantly longer to reestablish a homeostatic cognitive flexibility. Antipsychotics: Among individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, it appears as though antipsychotics may increase cognitive flexibility. Next post: L-Theanine Benefits (Scientific Research). However, the addition of a play partner to these children with PWS led to significant improvements across these domains, suggesting that interventions promoting pretend play may “increase socioemotional understanding and cognitive flexibility while decreasing rigidity and repetitive behaviors,” the researchers wrote. It should be speculated that strategic psychosurgery among individuals with cognitive rigidity may result in increased cognitive flexibility via neuroplasticity. L-Tyrosine supplementation An individual who is able to switch quickly from thinking about one concept, characteristic, or perspective to another – would be said to possess a high degree of cognitive flexibility. An intervention program of 14 to 21 sessions was established to enhance cognitive flexibility. Those with poor cognitive flexibility often have brain damage, substance abuse problems, or neurological conditions. These fatty acids help improve neurotransmission, cognitive function, and reduce inflammatory markers within the brain. A person can attain omega-3 fatty acids from a diet high in fatty fish, but most people aren’t able to consume sufficient fish for these omega-3s. My business partner plays the idealist-executive role in the op, and scores very highly in cognitive flexibility on Lumosity. For driving, that may mean drive home a different way. Various disorders such as ADHD, OCD, and substance dependence are often accompanied by rigid thinking and individuals with these disorders seriously lack cognitive flexibility. A 2014 study analyzed the effect of Amantadine on cognitive function, emotion, and reward processing among individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Various antiglutamatergic drugs such as Amantadine have been shown to decrease impulsive behaviors among those with Parkinson’s and those without Parkinson’s. Psychological flexibility might be the key to better cognitive-behavioral interventions. Amantadine) may activate certain neural mechanisms associated with increased cognitive flexibility. Do something you know how to do, but do it differently (and often). While it is unknown as to whether the disorder lead to poor cognitive flexibility or vice-versa, there is evidence that cognitive flexibility can be increased. Two subcategories of cognitive flexibility are task switching and cognitive shifting, depending on whether the change happens unconsciously or consciously, … As aging is associated with decreased cognitive functioning, the prevalence of age-related cognitive decline is an increasingly important issue. Low serotonin: Some research has suggested that 5-HT (serotonin) plays a role in cognitive flexibility. Amantadine: Individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) tend to have reductions in impulse control, which can contribute to behaviors of excess gambling, sexuality, and shopping. (2019) taught rats to drive little cars and the rats, in turn, taught the scientists quite a lot. REM sleep, also known as “rapid-eye movement” is associated with information processing across various neural networks. In rodents ( Mongolian gerbils ), removal of the gaming tasks 5-HT abnormalities tends to cause rigidity of and... 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Indeed, those rats that had a richer environment with a control group weeks and compared them a..., consistent aerobic exercise at a wellness center different sensory pathways behavior scientist specializing in social.... With the APOE e4 genetic polymorphism and administered a cognitive flexibility via neuroplasticity of executive interventions for cognitive flexibility updates!
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