Exploring Targeted Cognitive Training for Clinical Disorders

Research on the treatment of mental disorders often centers on understanding which treatments work. But knowing that a treatment is effective doesn’t necessarily tell us why the treatment works. A better understanding of the precise mechanisms that contribute to behavioral and emotional disorders, and of how treatments effect change, can help enhance current treatments and spur the development of new intervention and prevention approaches.

In a  published in the January 2015 issue of Clinical Psychological Science, guest editor Lisa Onken has brought together articles that encourage renewed attention to mechanism, examining intervention research focused on the cognitive training for behavioral and emotional disorders.

“We now have a few hundred evidence-based treatments, but our understanding of the mechanisms of action remains to be elaborated, with very few exceptions,” writes journal editor Alan Kazdin.”The series that Lisa Onken has developed provides studies that approach understanding disorders, treatments, and mechanisms in different ways. The diversity of the research shows the range of options available and needed to understand clinical dysfunction, treatment effects, and their interrelations.”

Taken together, says Onken, the research presented in the special series “is both scientifically meaningful, by providing knowledge about mechanisms, and at the same time especially practical, by laying the foundation for developing interventions that have the potential for relatively easy implementation.”


Clinical Psychological Science 

Special Series: Targeted Training of Cognitive Processes for Behavioral and Emotional Disorders


Editor’s Introduction to the Special Series

Alan E. Kazdin


Cognitive Training: Targeting Cognitive Processes in the Development of Behavioral Interventions

Lisa S. Onken


Altering the Cognitive-Affective Dysfunctions of Psychopathic and Externalizing Offender Subtypes With Cognitive Remediation

Arielle R. Baskin-Sommers, John J. Curtin, and Joseph P. Newman


The Attentional Bias Modification Approach to Anxiety Intervention

Colin MacLeod and Patrick J. F. Clarke


Individual Differences in Response to Prediction Bias Training

Amanda Collier and Greg J. Siegle


Positive Imagery-Based Cognitive Bias Modification as a Web-Based Treatment Tool for Depressed Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Simon E. Blackwell, Michael Browning, Andrew Mathews, Arnaud Pictet, James Welch, Jim Davies, Peter Watson, John R. Geddes, and Emily A. Holmes


Can Cognitive Bias Modification of Interpretations Training Alter Mood States in Children and Adolescents? A Reanalysis of Data From Six Studies

Jennifer Y. F. Lau and Victoria Pile


Cognitive Bias Modification for Interpretation in Major Depression: Effects on Memory and Stress Reactivity

Jutta Joormann, Christian E. Waugh, and Ian H. Gotlib


Warren K. Bickel, Amanda J. Quisenberry, Lara Moody, and A. George Wilson

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