Mental flexibility is the ability to switch between different thoughts and actions. Mental flexibility is considered part of executive funcions, which are the general mental functions that help us to cordinate thought and action.

There are cognitive tasks and self-report questionnaires for this, like the disexecutive questionnaire (DEX), which is best suited for clinical populations. The CFS is in the original paper not listed as a measure of executive functions, but one can argue that it matches the same purpose.

The average score on the CFS among university students is around 55 points. There was no statistically significant differences between men and women on this scale.

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It seems that the CFS can be used for research, but you need to acknowledge the authors and their research paper when writing about it (Martin & Rubin, 1995).


A basic scale question with some items reverse scored.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: agree
- {score=6} strongly agree
- {score=5} agree
- {score=4} slightly agree
- {score=3} slightly disagree
- {score=2} disagree
- {score=1} strongly disagree

l: cfs
t: scale agree
o: width 50%
o: random
q: The following statements deal with your beliefs and feelings about your own behavior.<br>
Read each statement and respond by selecting how much you agree or disagree with each statement.
- I can communicate an idea in many different ways.
- {reverse} I avoid new and unusual situations.
- {reverse} I feel like I never get to make decisions.
- I can find workable solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
- {reverse} I seldom have choices when deciding how to behave.
- I am willing to work at creative solutions to problems.
- In any given situation, I am able to act appropriately.
- My behavior is a result of conscious decisions that I make.
- I have many possible ways of behaving in any given situation.
- {reverse} I have difficulty using my knowledge on a given topic in real life situations.
- I am willing to listen and consider alternatives for handling a problem.
- I have the self-confidence necessary to try different ways of behaving

l: score
t: set
- sum $cfs

l: feedback
t: info
q: Your feedback on the cognitive flexibility scale is {$score}.<br>
The average score among students is (around) 55 points.


  • Martin, M. M. & Rubin, R.B. (1995). A new measure of cognitive flexibility. Psychological Reports, 76, 623-626. (Download here).