A cognitive training intervention improves modality-specific attention in a randomized controlled trial of healthy older adults

Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Apr;32(4):655-68. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.04.013. Epub 2009 May 9.


Age-related deficits in cognitive and sensory function can result in increased distraction from background sensory stimuli. This randomized controlled trial investigated the effects of a cognitive training intervention aimed at helping healthy older adults suppress irrelevant auditory and visual stimuli. Sixty-six participants received 8 weeks of either the modality-specific attention training program or an educational lecture control program. Participants who completed the intervention program had larger improvements in modality-specific selective attention following training than controls. These improvements also correlated with reductions in bimodal integration during selective attention. Further, the intervention group showed larger improvements than the control group in non-trained domains such as processing speed and dual-task completion, demonstrating the utility of modality-specific attention training for improving cognitive function in healthy older adults.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention*
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests