The Computerized Progressive Attention Training (CPAT) program (Shalev, Tsal, & Mevorach, 2007)
The four comprehensive training tasks are based on expansions and modifications of various tasks that have extensively been investigated in the attention literature and are known to uniquely reflect the various attention functions. The four training tasks included the Computerized Continuous Performance Task (CCPT; based on Rosvold, Mirsky, Sarason, Bransome, & Beck, 1956), which was designed to improve the function of Sustained Attention, the Conjunctive Search Task (based on Treisman & Gelade, 1980), which was designed to improve the function of Selective Attention, the Combined Orinenting and Flanker Task (based on Eriksen & Eriksen, 1974 and Posner, Snyder, & Davidson, 1980), which was designed to improve the function of Orienting Attention and the task switching Stroop-like Task (based on Navon, 1977), which was designed to improve the function of Executive Attention in particular and the Executive Functions in general. Snapshots of the training tasks are presented below.
Each attention training session should include approximately eight blocks from different training tasks. Numbers of blocks will vary across participants primarily due to age differences and severity of symptoms. Every block contains 40 trials, except for blocks in the CCPT (which train sustained attention) that consist of either 80 trials or60 trials depending on the level of difficulty. Participants will advance in levels of difficulty according to prespecified criteria based on fixed-accuracy and individually adjusted reaction time (RT). Participants will receive an auditory feedback (beep) when an error will be committed and on-line positive visual feedbacks on RT performance. These feedbacks are translated into points that are presented on the screen at the end of each block.
The training program should be carried out over a period of several weeks consisting of at least 18 one-hour sessions. Each participant should be supervised by a skilled research assistant during the entire session. During each session participants will perform a selection of tasks and within each task participants will advance in the levels of difficulty according to their personal gradual progress, expressed in accuracy and speed performance.
After completing the training program the assessment tools will be administered again along with a selection of academic skills and behavioral rating scales (that will be administered also at base-line (pre-training).
Snapshots from the training tasks
In this task the child has to respond only when the target – a red car – appears in one of the two target locations (within one of the squares). Target trials are infrequent (30% or less). At this level of frequency (which is one of the higher levels) many distractors may appear not only in the target locations but also in other locations. Note that in this case the red car is presented outside of the squares which means it is a distractor and the child has to ignore it.
In this task the child has to decide whether the display includes a target (which is an orange quiditch on a broom with open arms). Since this is a high level of difficulties the visual load is high (many items presented on a noisy background) which poses a high demand of selective attention.
In this task 5-item chain is presented in the visual field. One of the five items is signaled by two arrow heads and the child has to discriminate the selected item (in this case the signaled item may be either 3 or 7). As the level of difficulty increases, the distance between the items decreases, the number of possible locations increases and the duration of presentation decreases.
In this task the kids are ask to decide whether the global configuration of the hierarchical figure forms a smiley face (level 1). As level of difficulty increases elements of working memory and task switching are inserted to the task which make the task extremely challenging tapping different aspects of executive functions.
Kolodny, T., Ashkenazi, Y., Farhi, M., & Shalev, L. (2017). Computerized Progressive Attention Training (CPAT) vs. Active Control in Adults with ADHD. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement . DOI: 10.1007/s41465-017-0056-x
Muller Spaniol, M., Shalev, L., Kossyvaki, L., & Mevorach, C. (2017). Attention training in Autism as a potential approach to improving academic performance. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders DOI 10.1007/s10803-017-3371-2
Shalev, L., Kataev, N., & Mevorach, C. (2016). Training of cognitive control in developmental disorders: Pitfalls and promises. In by R. Schiff & M. Joshi (Eds), Handbook of interventions in learning disabilities, Springer Publishers.
Shalev, L., Tsal Y., & Mevorach C. (2007). Brief Report – Computerized progressive attentional training (CPAT) program: Effective direct intervention for children with ADHD. Child Neuropsychology 13,382-388