Cognitive Flexibility and its Development


Think flexibly: How children develop the ability to "switch gears"


Flexible cognition describes our abilities to adapt to new or unpredictable situations by altering our representations, problem-solving strategies, or patterns of information-seeking. This is important for children in situations such as:
These contexts are in some degrees changing and unpredictable, and require the child to shift attention, generate changing representations, update hypotheses, etc. Nonetheless, by the time children enter school they have learned thousands of words, intended or incidental uses of many objects, appropriate ways to follow instructions (when motivated) during transitions, etc. How does the flexibility to achieve such outcomes develop?


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