Objective: To review the literature on effects of attention and cognitive training on attentional functioning in schizophrenic patients.
Method: Relevant efficacy studies were identified by literature searches (in Medline, Current Contents, Psyclit, and Psyndex databases) and through the reference lists of key papers.
Results: Re-examination of findings from nine methodologically adequate studies using computer-based or non-computer-based training procedures provided inconsistent results. On 16 of 35 outcome measures significant performance improvements were observed from pre-treatment to post-treatment but on the majority of the applied measures no performance improvement could be determined. In general, treatment effect sizes but also power of tests were low. For nearly all the outcome measures for which differential training effects were reported there also exist contradictory outcome results.
Conclusion: There is inconclusive evidence that attention training is effective in schizophrenia. Longitudinal efficacy studies are needed in which different aspects of attention are systematically exercised and assessed.