Computerized Attention Training for Individuals With Acquired Brain Injury


Phase 1 Results N/A

Trial Description

Problems with attention are a common and debilitating consequence of brain injury. Studies show that poor attention is the number one predictor of poor cognitive functioning one year post-injury. This is due to the fact that attention is a necessary component of more complex cognitive functions such as learning & memory, multi-tasking and problem solving. In many cases, individuals may exhibit problems with spatial attention known as 'hemi-spatial neglect syndrome' or simply 'neglect'. Many studies now show that the processing machinery of the brain is plastic and remodeled throughout life by learning and experience, enabling the strengthening of cognitive skills or abilities. The investigators own research has shown that brief, daily computerized cognitive training that is sufficiently challenging, goal-directed and adaptive enables intact brain structures to restore balance in attention and compensate for disruptions in cognitive functioning.

Detailed Description

Participants will first engage in an assessment process to determine current level of cognitive function. This process consists of paper-pencil surveys and computerized tests. Following the assessment process, participants will engage in Internet browser-delivered training sessions conducted on any internet-accessible computer. These trainings can be done up to 7 times a week (once a day) or at participant's convenience (the investigators recommend 4-5 times a week). Following the completion of training, participant's cognitive function will be re-assessed. Participation is voluntary and participants may withdraw from the study at any time.



  • Tonic and Phasic Attention Training Behavioral
    Intervention Desc: The Tonic and Phasic Alertness treatment task (TAPAT) consist of two consecutive rounds of a 12-minute continuous performance task in which continually varying, rich visual (e.g., scenes, objects, faces) or auditory stimuli (tones or complex sounds) are briefly displayed and participants are required to respond via a button press when they see a non-target item (90% of trials) or withhold button-press responding when the item is a pre-determined target item (10% of trials). Presentation of the target item is non-predictive and infrequent, disallowing the development of an executive strategy. Participants simply sustain attention to the task over a prolonged period of time (tonic attention), ignoring distractions, and inhibiting the pre-potent motor response when they see a target item (phasic attention). Following the 24 minutes of TAPAT treatment participants will undergo one additional computer-based cognitive exercise, Multiple Object Tracking (MOT), for an additional 12 minutes.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: TAPAT
    Description: Computerized Tonic and Phasic Attention training consisting of visual, auditory, and spatial stimuli that requires sustained attention (24 minutes). Training is followed by a computerized cognitive exercise (12 minutes).
  • Active Comparator Behavioral
    Intervention Desc: Computer games chosen from a list of progressive visual/audiovisual games from the top-100 game list: Training duration will be similar to that of experimental training.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Active Comparator
    Description: Computerized conventional board-games that lack the therapeutic effect of the TAPAT exercises. Active control has stimulus parameters similar to the TAPAT exercises (eg. stimuli is presented on the computer, participant responses are collected, session time and improvement is measured).

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver)
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary Attention and Memory 6 months No