Does attention training work? A selective meta-analysis to explore the effects of attention training and moderators

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The main goals of this selective meta-analysis on the populations of ADHD, learning difficulties and typically developing individuals were (a) to determine whether attention can be improved by attention training programs, (b) to examine whether attention training effects transfer to other outcomes (i.e., academic and cognitive skills), and (c) to identify moderators of the attention training effects on attention. A meta-analysis of 15 studies with 113 effect sizes found a significant, medium-sized training effect on attention, Hedges g=.25, 95%CI [.02,.47] and the effects of attention training significantly transferred to non-trained tasks (academic and cognitive skills), Hedges g=.24, 95%CI [.01,.47]. Moderation analyses indicated that attention training is more effective for improving attention when the training is adaptive and is more effective for younger individuals and for individuals with ADHD. Also, attention training seems more effective for improving attention when it targets the orienting attention network. The implications of these findings with respect to attention training are discussed.

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