Learning to control actions: transfer effects following a procedural cognitive control computerized training. Academic Article uri icon


  • Few studies have addressed action control training. In the current study, participants were trained over 19 days in an adaptive training task that demanded constant switching, maintenance and updating of novel action rules. Participants completed an executive functions battery before and after training that estimated processing speed, working memory updating, set-shifting, response inhibition and fluid intelligence. Participants in the training group showed greater improvement than a no-contact control group in processing speed, indicated by reduced reaction times in speeded classification tasks. No other systematic group differences were found across the different pre-post measurements. Ex-Gaussian fitting of the reaction-time distribution revealed that the reaction time reduction observed among trained participants was restricted to the right tail of the distribution, previously shown to be related to working memory. Furthermore, training effects were only found in classification tasks that required participants to maintain novel stimulus-response rules in mind, supporting the notion that the training improved working memory abilities. Training benefits were maintained in a 10-month follow-up, indicating relatively long-lasting effects. The authors conclude that training improved action-related working memory abilities.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015