Cognitive and behavioural flexibility: neural mechanisms and clinical considerations

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cognitive and behavioural flexibility permit the appropriate adjustment of thoughts and behaviours in response to changing environmental demands. Brain mechanisms enabling flexibility have been examined using non-invasive neuroimaging and behavioural approaches in humans alongside pharmacological and lesion studies in animals. This work has identified large-scale functional brain networks encompassing lateral and orbital frontoparietal, midcingulo-insular and frontostriatal regions that support flexibility across the lifespan. Flexibility can be compromised in early-life neurodevelopmental disorders, clinical conditions that emerge during adolescence and late-life dementias. We critically evaluate evidence for the enhancement of flexibility through cognitive training, physical activity and bilingual experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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