How does cognitive flexibility work?

Our environment is constantly changing. Successful survival under this condition implies that human behavior has to be flexible as well. We experience different places and contexts, have to conduct different tasks in a rapid sequence and need to constantly develop and re-arrange acting strategies.

These abilities are not inherited, but develop with age and their regression forms the core of several pathologies. It is commonly held that in mammalian species the prefrontal cortex is the hub brain area accounting for the flexibility of minds (i.e. cognitive flexibility).

Since January 2022, the German Research Foundation (DFG) supports the Research Unit 5159 to elucidate how the prefrontal cortex codes specific traits of cognitive flexibility, such as decision and working memory.

We are pleased to have produced a first video for the participating institutions in which the coordinator of the consortium, Prof. Dr. Ileana Hanganu-Opatz (Hamburg), and the deputy coordinator, Prof. Dr. Ilka Diester (Freiburg), introduce the topic, aims and research program of FOR5159.

Participating institutions of the research consortium:

Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)
Universität Frankfurt
Universität Freiburg
Medizinische Universität Wien
Universität Tübingen
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Technische Universität München
Universität Frankfurt am Main
Universität Mannheim