The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial is a randomized, controlled, single-masked trial designed to determine whether cognitive training interventions (memory, reasoning, and speed of information processing), which have previously been found to be successful at improving mental abilities under laboratory or small-scale field conditions, can affect cognitively based measures of daily functioning. Enrollment began during 1998; 2-year follow-up will be completed by January 2002. Primary outcomes focus on measures of cognitively demanding everyday functioning, including financial management, food preparation, medication use, and driving. Secondary outcomes include health-related quality of life, mobility, and health-service utilization. Trial participants (n = 2832) are aged 65 and over, and at entry into the trial, did not have significant cognitive, physical, or functional decline. Because of its size and the carefully developed rigor, ACTIVE may serve as a guide for future behavioral medicine trials of this nature.