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Inhibitory Control Gains from Higher-order Cognitive Strategy Training

A young female student is studying while looking at the tablet. Child. Kid. Youth.

Brain and Cognition

Michael A. Motes, Jacquelyn F. Gamino, Sandra B. Chapman, Neena K. Rao, Mandy J. Maguire, Matthew R. Brier, Michael A. Kraut and John Hart Jr.

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This study examined the ability for cognitive training aimed at improving critical thinking and reasoning to improve inhibitory control, a basic, but essential executive function. The cognitive training program, Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Tactics (SMART™) was administered during regular school hours and consisted of ten sessions over a one-month period. Evidence was gathered from EEG scans to measure students’ performance before and after training. This suggests that training higher-order executive functions can strengthen the basic executive function of inhibitory control. Strengthening inhibition has the potential to facilitate learning and problem-solving across a range of domains. 

Figure 8 displays the differences in pre-and post-test results from both the controls and those who completed the SMART training. The suggested mechanism for increased inhibitory control in the SMART condition is a generalized engagement in deeper semantic processing.

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Jacquelyn Gamino, PhD

Director of Adolescent Reasoning Initiative Assistant Research Professor

Sandra Bond Chapman, PhD

Chief Director Dee Wyly Distinguished Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Co-Leader, The BrainHealth Project