No matter what genes you are dealt at birth – your cognition can be improved throughout your life

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reports that cognitive functioning is not something fixed in an individual determined by their genes and family background, but rather a set of skills that can be practiced and improved, especially in early childhood and adolescence, but also across the entire lifespan (ref to report on our website).

Our genes do not determine us…

Your cognition is the control of your behaviour and emotions. While your genes are “fixed” for life, gene expression (how your genes make you what you are) is influenced by the environment in which you live, your lifestyle choices and ultimately by the level of positive stimulation you are given.

The capacity of your brain to change or to adapt its structure and function over a lifetime is called brain plasticity. Good brain plasticity occurs because of normal brain development, learning and experience.  Poor brain plasticity occurs through abnormal development, brain injury or illness.  Ensuring that the brain is regularly exposed to positive experiences (especially during childhood when most development occurs) will guarantee benefits from brain plasticity through positive cognitive development.

However, be careful! Brain plasticity may also have negative consequences on cognitive development. A poor lifestyle also produces plastic changes, which will have a negative impact on your cognition.

“To date, research clearly demonstrates that [cognitive] skills are not fixed. Executive function is malleable and can be demonstrably improved through prolonged, targeted practice. This aligns with what neurological research indicates about cognitive skill development and the overall plasticity of the brain. When considering interventions for real life, therefore, we must keep in mind that malleability is a double-edged sword. While interventions and environmental changes can improve executive function, a variety of conditions can also cause [cognition] to become impaired or underdeveloped.”

Executive Function Skills for Student Success, BMGF 2019

This compelling evidence suggests there is a need for investment in targeted cognitive fitness training interventions to create a path to better cognition.

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation commends MyCognition as leaders in providing a scientifically rigorous and unique approach, which combines digital cognitive assessment and a training video game, guaranteeing a tailored and engaging intervention for everyone. Our research shows 15 minutes of training per day for one to three months produces significant positive changes not only in cognitive functioning, but also in your ability to learn, your academic achievement, work performance, behaviour and wellbeing. MyCognition programmes have currently been adopted in multiple schools, communities, health facilities and businesses nationally and internationally.

To learn more about how we can start improving the learning outcomes and mental resilience across your school or workplace, or to become an Education or Wellbeing partner with MyCognition, please email

We are proud of the recognition from the Gates Foundation and look forward to sharing more news about the work we are doing across the education sector over the coming weeks. Don’t miss our next updates!

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