Brain Dynamics Underlying Cognitive Flexibility across the Lifespan

Lauren Kupis, Zachary T. Goodman, Salome Kornfeld, Stephanie Hoang, Celia Romero, Bryce Dirks, Joseph Dehoney, Catie Chang, R. Nathan Spreng, Jason S. Nomi, Lucina Q. Uddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neural mechanisms contributing to flexible cognition and behavior and how they change with development and aging are incompletely understood. The current study explored intrinsic brain dynamics across the lifespan using resting-state fMRI data (n = 601, 6-85 years) and examined the interactions between age and brain dynamics among three neurocognitive networks (midcingulo-insular network, M-CIN; medial frontoparietal network, M-FPN; and lateral frontoparietal network, L-FPN) in relation to behavioral measures of cognitive flexibility. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed brain dynamics among a brain state characterized by co-activation of the L-FPN and M-FPN, and brain state transitions, moderated the relationship between quadratic effects of age and cognitive flexibility as measured by scores on the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) test. Furthermore, simple slope analyses of significant interactions revealed children and older adults were more likely to exhibit brain dynamic patterns associated with poorer cognitive flexibility compared with younger adults. Our findings link changes in cognitive flexibility observed with age with the underlying brain dynamics supporting these changes. Preventative and intervention measures should prioritize targeting these networks with cognitive flexibility training to promote optimal outcomes across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5263-5274
Number of pages12
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • aging
  • central executive network
  • default mode network
  • executive function
  • salience network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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