Flexibility is key to human intelligence – the framestorm method grows this ability

A new theory, published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, suggests that flexibility is key to human intelligence. University of Illinois psychology professor Aron Barbey says that the brain’s dynamic properties are the best predictors of intelligence in the human brain. It points to the importance of how the brain is wired and how that wiring shifts in response to changing intellectual demands.

For me, having created the brain-based reframing method called Framestorm – which powerfully pushes cognitive flexibility to new levels – this research is highly interesting. Generally, it is a recognised that cognitive flexibility is among the most wanted human abilities in the 21st century, but Barbey’s research makes the case that it is indeed innate to (the development of) human intelligence

Barbey distinguishes between “crystallized intelligence” which involves robust connections (often-used pathways in the brain) and “fluid intelligence” which involves “weaker, more transient pathways and connections that are formed when the brain tackles unique or unusual problems”.

The Framestorm method systematically and playfully develops fluid intelligence. It draws upon 10 neurological principles and consists of “The Five Fingers of Framestorm” with 50 various perspectives/questions. Usually, four to five perspectives are drawn upon in a session that can last 10-30 minutes (or more) and where it is more common than not that participants reach as many as 30, 50 or even 80 reframings of a challenge/situation/relationship.

Some of these perspectives are indeed cognitively (but constructively) disruptive and participants in my Framestorm courses and beyond describe how they can literally feel that their brain is being stretched in new ways when exploring a challenge/situation/relationship from such various and odd angles. I also call the method a 360 degrees mindset brainstorm and you can read more about it here. It is a powerful way to disrupt our “normal thinking”.

You can read the article – “Flexibility is at the heart of human intelligence” – here.

Should you be among the leaders who are bright, brave and visionary enough to want to invest in bringing cognitive flexibility to your organization boosting your results as well as your human interaction and processes, feel free to connect via anette@anetteprehn.com or +45 60 70 60 22

Sociologist (MA) Anette Prehn is a prolific keynote speaker, trainer, and bestselling non-fiction author, who has inspired hundreds of thousands across the planet, since establishing her business in 2005.

Anette Prehn is on a mission to make neuroscience available to all, i.e. easy to understand, remember and apply. She has worked in the field of NeuroLeadership since 2009 and has taught the rules of the brain to leaders and employees since, thus strengthening their leadership, learning, habit change, cognitive flexibility, and mental health.

Highly skilled at explaining complex ideas in down-to-earth and accessible language, and impossible to pigeonhole, Anette Prehn has developed techniques that make it easy for people to turn their brain into an ally rather than an opponent. The Framestorm® method, that is patented and trademarked, teaches people to flip and widen their perspective, thus paving the way for innovation, emotion regulation and making the most of whatever life throws at you.


In 2018-2019, Anette chaired The National Stress Panel, established by six Danish cabinet ministers. The panel comprised 10 experts and was tasked with identifying 12 actions to radically influence the stress level experienced in Denmark in recent years as well as to engage the Danish public in understanding what stress is and does and how mental health can be strengthened.

Her clients include Maersk, GN Group, Grundfos, Danfoss, Siemens, Bosch, Ericsson, Roche, Lego, Novo Nordic, Man Diesel and Turbo, Nordea, Danske Bank, 40+ Danish municipalities and 100+ educational institutions and schools.

She has written more than 20 books and mini books, among these "BrainSmart Leadership" and "Play Your Brain". 

Throughout these many years, her clients have been powerfully inspired to apply neuroscience to work situations, but they have also asked her::

“How do I more specifically apply the logics of the brain to parenting?” and “I can see my kids gaining from knowing this as well. What’s the best way to introduce them to these tools?”

Being the mother of two and the stepmother of two, those questions got Anette Prehn going.

She therefore started adding to her portfolio how parents, teachers and nursery nurses can become more BrainSmart, thus nuturing environments that help kids learn, thrive and regulate emotions relevantly.

In her Brain Friends series, she is sharing with children and teenagers how to strike up a friendship with their brain rather than being at the receiving end of its impulses and habits. 

Contact Anette by email: