Interference control requires being able to inhibit irrelevant stimulI ie shift flexibily from something you are doing and back into it in the presence of competing stimulus. Is it the same as Cognitive Flexibility? Or are they different?


Interference control is the ability to suppress irrelevant information (Gazzaniga, Ivry & Mangun, 2014). For example, ignoring the sound of the dishwasher in the other room while you are watching a TV show. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to switch between thinking about two (or more) different concepts (Scott, 1962). Cognitive flexibility is further divided into task switching (an unconscious behaviour) and cognitive switching (a conscious behaviour). Interference control and cognitive flexibility are different processes that are grouped under the wide range of functions associated with cognitive control.


Gazzaniga, M. S., Ivry, R. B., & Mangun, G. R. (2014). Cognitive Neuroscience: The biology of the mind (4th Ed.) New York: W. W. Norton & Co.

Scott, William A. (1962). Cognitive complexity and cognitive flexibility. Sociometry. American Sociological Association. 25 (4): 405–414. doi:10.2307/2785779. JSTOR 2785779.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! Would you be able to put cognitive flexability into a real life situation for me to aid understanding? Eg managing not to burn the pancakes whilIst talking to a friend (shifting attention back and forth)...would that be task switching? Is it related to working memory then (ie being able to hold information in mind so one can readily switch between tasks or concepts)? I'm interested in how these process translate to everyday life . Many thanks $\endgroup$ – Lydia Dec 24 '18 at 15:16

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