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What is the Cognitive Fitness Framework?

Click on the image or here
to access the seminal CF2 paper from Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

CF2 is a model that informs

the development of "new generation"cognitive training programs


What it takes to sustain performance under pressure is remarkably common across many occupations, from firefighters and emergency medicine, to sport, performing arts and the military. The Cognitive Fitness Framework (CF2) was developed to assemble the key drivers of cognitive performance across these multiple domains. 

Cognitive Fitness Framework is a «thinking tool» to organise all aspects of your mental game. It was developed by sport psychologists and neuroscientists to integrate the growing evidence from brain sciences into the methods of optimising mental preparedness..


The three pillars of the performance mindset – staying calm, focused and flexible when faced with challenges and adversity – correspond to three distinct skill sets that sport and performance psychologists have worked with for decades:

. Stress Management skills to cultivate Calm

. Attention Control skills to stay Focused 

. Mental Agility to be Flexible and adapt to change


These skills are underpinned by primary cognitive capacities such as self-awareness, memory updating, task switching, impulse control, and cognitive flexibility that can now be linked to neuroscience-informed assessment and interventions.


Similar to the power, speed, flexibility and endurance elements of physical fitness, these cognitive primaries support the development of all skills, from reading, remembering and problem solving to job-specific technical skills, as well as more complex attributes such as frustration tolerance and resistance to distraction. 

Similar to physical power and endurance, cognitive fitness can be improved with deliberate practice. A systematic collection of cognitive practice routines is being developed under the construct of Cognitive Gym. They include modifications of well-known practices such as controlled breathing and imagery as well as high-tech applications such as bio/neuro-feedback and brain stimulation.


Developing cognitive fitness requires long-term investment of time and deliberate practice. Reliable, evidence-based measurement of these attributes is critical to optimising this investment by tracking the progress of its outcomes and informing decisions about any changes/adjustments to it. The CF2 offers a systematic approach to the assessment and improvement of these attributes. CF2 was introduced as a unifying conceptual toolkit for psychologists working in performance-focused applications such as sport and exercise, performing arts, military and law enforcement, acute medicine, paramedic and emergency response domains.


The CF2 aims to bring together the mental health professions focussed on psychological deficit and disfunction, and the human performance field concerned with improving psychological functioning of healthy individuals. CFF builds on the concepts of mental fitness aimed at promoting a positive and proactive notion of mental health, and military cognitive readiness reflecting a broad set of performance predictors, from trainable skills to dynamic functional states and trait-like  characteristics ranging from cognitive ability to attentional styles.

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