Integration of Skill Application and Attention Regulation Training to Improve Goal-Directed Cognitive Functioning
Improvement of cognitive function is of great value to many aspects of society. However, identifying robust procedures for training cognitive processes with generalizable benefits remains elusive. Here we present a novel attention regulation training paradigm that incorporates skill application in multiple learning environments. We hypothesized that our training procedure would enhance goal-oriented cognitive function and cognitive control mechanisms. We evaluated training effects using both computerized assessments and self-report questionnaires designed to probe cognitive control in everyday life. We tested for specificity of training effects by employing multiple active control conditions and for generalizability by using assessments that were significantly different from the training tasks as well as a set of secondary self-report questionnaires to explore the extent of far transfer. Training substantially improved performance on multiple tasks that involve goal-oriented cognitive functioning and cognitive control, and these gains were often specific to the group that received attention regulation training and also applied learned skills in varied environments.