Neurocognitive training for children with and without AD/HD



Publication Details

Johnstone, S. J., Roodenrys, S., Blackman, R., Johnston, E., Loveday, K., Mantz, S. & Barratt, M. F. (2012). Neurocognitive training for children with and without AD/HD. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 4 (1), 11-23.


There is accumulating evidence that computerised cognitive training of inhibitory control and/or working memory can lead to behavioural improvement in children with AD/HD. Using a randomised waitlist control design, the present study examined the effects of combined working memory and inhibitory control training, with and without passive attention monitoring via EEG, for children with and without AD/HD. One hundred and twenty-eight children (60 children with AD/HD, 68 without AD/HD) were randomly allocated to one of three training conditions (waitlist; working memory and inhibitory control with attention monitoring; working memory and inhibitory control without attention monitoring) and completed with pre- and post-training assessments of overt behaviour (from 2 sources), trained and untrained cognitive task performance, and resting EEG activity. The two active training conditions completed 25 sessions of training at home over a 4- 5-week period. Results showed significant improvements in overt behaviour for children with AD/HD in both training conditions compared to the waitlist condition as rated by a parent and other adult. Post-training improvements in the areas of spatial working memory, ignoring distracting stimuli, and sustained attention were reported for children with AD/HD. Children without AD/HD showed behavioural improvements after training. The improvements for both groups were maintained over the 6-week period following training. The passive attention monitoring via EEG had a minor effect on training outcomes. Overall, the results suggest that combined WM/IC training can result in improved behavioural control for children with and without AD/HD.

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