Journal of Cognitive Enhancement

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 2–29 | Cite as

Improving Methodological Standards in Behavioral Interventions for Cognitive Enhancement

  • C. Shawn GreenEmail author
  • Daphne Bavelier
  • Arthur F. Kramer
  • Sophia Vinogradov
  • Ulrich Ansorge
  • Karlene K. Ball
  • Ulrike Bingel
  • Jason M. Chein
  • Lorenza S. Colzato
  • Jerri D. Edwards
  • Andrea Facoetti
  • Adam Gazzaley
  • Susan E. Gathercole
  • Paolo Ghisletta
  • Simone Gori
  • Isabela Granic
  • Charles H. Hillman
  • Bernhard Hommel
  • Susanne M. Jaeggi
  • Philipp Kanske
  • Julia Karbach
  • Alan Kingstone
  • Matthias Kliegel
  • Torkel Klingberg
  • Simone Kühn
  • Dennis M. Levi
  • Richard E. Mayer
  • Anne Collins McLaughlin
  • Danielle S. McNamara
  • Martha Clare Morris
  • Mor Nahum
  • Nora S. Newcombe
  • Rogerio Panizzutti
  • Ruchika Shaurya Prakash
  • Albert Rizzo
  • Torsten Schubert
  • Aaron R. Seitz
  • Sarah J. Short
  • Ilina Singh
  • James D. Slotta
  • Tilo Strobach
  • Michael S. C. Thomas
  • Elizabeth Tipton
  • Xin Tong
  • Haley A. Vlach
  • Julie Loebach Wetherell
  • Anna Wexler
  • Claudia M. Witt


There is substantial interest in the possibility that cognitive skills can be improved by dedicated behavioral training. Yet despite the large amount of work being conducted in this domain, there is not an explicit and widely agreed upon consensus around the best methodological practices. This document seeks to fill this gap. We start from the perspective that there are many types of studies that are important in this domain—e.g., feasibility, mechanistic, efficacy, and effectiveness. These studies have fundamentally different goals, and, as such, the best-practice methods to meet those goals will also differ. We thus make suggestions in topics ranging from the design and implementation of control groups, to reporting of results, to dissemination and communication, taking the perspective that the best practices are not necessarily uniform across all study types. We also explicitly recognize and discuss the fact that there are methodological issues around which we currently lack the theoretical and/or empirical foundation to determine best practices (e.g., as pertains to assessing participant expectations). For these, we suggest important routes forward, including greater interdisciplinary collaboration with individuals from domains that face related concerns. Our hope is that these recommendations will greatly increase the rate at which science in this domain advances.


Cognitive enhancement Behavioral intervention methodology 



National Science Foundation (DRL-1641280) to Dr C. Shawn Green; Office of Naval Research grant to Dr. Daphne Bavelier.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The following authors have declared conflict(s) of interest. Bavelier is a founding partner and on the scientific advisory board of Akili Interactive, Boston; Vinogradov is a consultant for Posit Science Corp, Alkermes, Inc., and Mindstrong, Inc.; Ball owns stock in the Visual Awareness Research Group (formerly Visual Awareness, Inc.) and Posit Science, Inc., the companies that market the Useful Field of View Test and speed of processing training software (now the Double Decision exercise in BrainHQ), and is a member of the Posit Science Scientific Advisory Board; Gazzaley is a co-founder, scientific advisor, and BOD member for Akili Interactive Lab and has several patents filed at UCSF for video game enhancement technologies; Jaeggi has an indirect financial interest in the MIND Research Institute, Irvine, CA, whose interests are related to this work; Levi is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of NovaSight; Morris is on the scientific advisory boards of Neurotrack and of the AARP Global Council on Brain Health; Nahum is a paid consultant for Posit Science; Panizzutti is the founder of NeuroForma LTDA, a company with a financial interest in computerized cognitive training; Seitz is a founder and stakeholder in Carrot Neurotechnology, a company that sells a vision brain game called ULTIMEYES. The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Shawn Green
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daphne Bavelier
    • 2
  • Arthur F. Kramer
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sophia Vinogradov
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Ulrich Ansorge
    • 8
  • Karlene K. Ball
    • 9
  • Ulrike Bingel
    • 10
  • Jason M. Chein
    • 11
  • Lorenza S. Colzato
    • 12
    • 13
  • Jerri D. Edwards
    • 14
  • Andrea Facoetti
    • 15
  • Adam Gazzaley
    • 16
  • Susan E. Gathercole
    • 17
  • Paolo Ghisletta
    • 18
    • 19
    • 20
  • Simone Gori
    • 21
  • Isabela Granic
    • 22
  • Charles H. Hillman
    • 23
  • Bernhard Hommel
    • 24
  • Susanne M. Jaeggi
    • 25
  • Philipp Kanske
    • 26
  • Julia Karbach
    • 27
    • 28
  • Alan Kingstone
    • 29
  • Matthias Kliegel
    • 30
  • Torkel Klingberg
    • 31
  • Simone Kühn
    • 32
  • Dennis M. Levi
    • 33
  • Richard E. Mayer
    • 34
  • Anne Collins McLaughlin
    • 35
  • Danielle S. McNamara
    • 36
  • Martha Clare Morris
    • 37
  • Mor Nahum
    • 38
  • Nora S. Newcombe
    • 39
  • Rogerio Panizzutti
    • 40
    • 41
  • Ruchika Shaurya Prakash
    • 42
  • Albert Rizzo
    • 43
  • Torsten Schubert
    • 44
  • Aaron R. Seitz
    • 45
  • Sarah J. Short
    • 46
  • Ilina Singh
    • 47
  • James D. Slotta
    • 48
  • Tilo Strobach
    • 49
  • Michael S. C. Thomas
    • 50
  • Elizabeth Tipton
    • 51
    • 52
  • Xin Tong
    • 53
  • Haley A. Vlach
    • 54
  • Julie Loebach Wetherell
    • 55
    • 56
  • Anna Wexler
    • 57
  • Claudia M. Witt
    • 58
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.Psychology and Education Sciences (FPSE) & Campus BiotechUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Beckman InstituteUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  6. 6.University of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolisUSA
  7. 7.University of Minnesota PhysiciansMinneapolisUSA
  8. 8.Faculty of PsychologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  9. 9.Center for Research on Applied Gerontology & Department of PsychologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA
  10. 10.Department of NeurologyUniversity Hospital Essen, University Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany
  11. 11.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  12. 12.Cognitive Psychology Unit & Leiden Institute for Brain and CognitionLeiden UniversityLeidenNetherlands
  13. 13.Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of PsychologyRuhr University BochumBochumGermany
  14. 14.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeurosciencesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  15. 15.Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of General PsychologyUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  16. 16.Departments of Neurology, Physiology & PsychiatryUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  17. 17.MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences UnitUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland
  18. 18.Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  19. 19.Swiss Distance Learning UniversityBrigSwitzerland
  20. 20.Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES – Overcoming vulnerability: Life course perspectivesUniversity of Lausanne, Laussane, Switzerland; University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  21. 21.Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of BergamoBergamoItaly
  22. 22.Behavioural Science InstituteRadboud UniversityNijmegenNetherlands
  23. 23.Department of Psychology & Department of Physical Therapy, Movement & Rehabilitation SciencesNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA
  24. 24.Institute of PsychologyLeiden UniversityLeidenNetherlands
  25. 25.School of Education and School of Social Sciences, Department of Cognitive SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  26. 26.Faculty of Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Behavioral NeuroscienceTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany
  27. 27.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandauGermany
  28. 28.Center for Research on Individual Development and Adaptive Education of Children at Risk (IDeA)FrankfurtGermany
  29. 29.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  30. 30.Department of Psychology & Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Gerontology and VulnerabilityUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  31. 31.Department of NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetSolnaSweden
  32. 32.Clinic for Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity Clinic Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  33. 33.School of Optometry & Graduate Group in Vision ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  34. 34.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA
  35. 35.Department of PsychologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  36. 36.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  37. 37.Rush Institute for Healthy AgingRush UniversityChicagoUSA
  38. 38.School of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of MedicineHebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  39. 39.Department of PsychologyTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  40. 40.Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas & Instituto de PsiquiatriaUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  41. 41.Global Brain Health InstituteTrinity College DublinDublinIreland
  42. 42.Department of PsychologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  43. 43.Institute for Creative TechnologiesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  44. 44.Institute of PsychologyMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany
  45. 45.Department of Psychology & Brain Game CenterUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  46. 46.Department of Educational Psychology & Center for Healthy MindsUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  47. 47.Department of Psychiatry and Wellcome Centre for Ethics and the HumanitiesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  48. 48.Department of Curriculum, Teaching and LearningBoston CollegeChestnut HillUSA
  49. 49.Department of PsychologyMedical School HamburgHamburgGermany
  50. 50.Centre for Educational Neuroscience, Department of Psychological SciencesBirkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK
  51. 51.Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  52. 52.Department of Statistics and Institute for Policy ResearchNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  53. 53.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  54. 54.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  55. 55.VA San Diego Healthcare SystemSan DiegoUSA
  56. 56.University of California-San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  57. 57.Department of Medical Ethics & Health PolicyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  58. 58.Institute for Complementary and Integrative MedicineUniversity Hospital and University of ZurichZürichSwitzerland

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