Enhancing Transdiagnostic Mechanisms of Cognitive Dyscontrol

  • End date
    May 15, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    University of California, San Diego
Updated on 15 November 2021
depressed mood
cognitive training
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors


The proposed project aims to test the cognitive and neural effects of a cognitive training in a sample of individuals seeking treatment for anxiety, depression, or traumatic stress symptoms. Participants will be randomly assigned to a high dose, low dose, or assessment only condition. Participants will be compared on cognitive performance and brain response during cognitive tasks from baseline to post-treatment.


Mood, anxiety, and traumatic stress disorders are common psychiatric conditions - affecting over 40 million U.S. adults - and are leading causes of disability worldwide. People with these conditions are commonly plagued by difficulty controlling distressing personal thoughts and memories, collectively referred to as repetitive negative thinking symptoms. Models suggest that repetitive negative thinking is driven by executive functioning deficits, such that cognitive resources are insufficient to downregulate unwanted thoughts. Executive functioning deficits could be a promising treatment target but are not typically addressed with existing interventions. The long-term goal advanced by this project is to develop effective, mechanistic cognitive training programs that can improve cognition and reduce symptoms associated with mood, anxiety, and traumatic stress disorders. The objectives of this proposal are first to determine the optimal dose of a cognitive training program designed to improve executive functioning in this population using behavioral and neural outcomes. The central hypothesis is that repeated training exercises will enhance executive functioning and will lead to a reduction of repetitive negative thinking in mood, anxiety, and traumatic stress disorders. The project will randomize participants with depression, anxiety, and/or traumatic stress disorders to one of two doses of cognitive training or a no-treatment control condition. The investigators will examine executive functioning change with cognitive task performance and functional neuroimaging assessments.

Condition Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD - Pediatric), miserable, Anxiety Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Depression (Adult and Geriatric), Depression (Treatment-Resistant), Depression (Major/Severe), depressive disorders, Anxiety Disorders (Pediatric), Depression, ANXIETY NEUROSIS, Depression (Pediatric), depressed mood, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression (Adolescent), Endogenous depression, anxiety disorder, Depressed, depressive disorder, PTSD
Treatment COGENT
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04912089
SponsorUniversity of California, San Diego
Last Modified on15 November 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

age 21-55
fluent in English
diagnosis of mood, anxiety, or traumatic stress disorder
clinically elevated repetitive negative thinking
outpatient status
-week stability if taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications

Exclusion Criteria

past year diagnosis of severe alcohol or moderate or greater substance use disorder
lifetime history of psychotic or bipolar I disorder
acute suicidality necessitating immediate clinical intervention
neurodegenerative or neurodevelopmental disorders
history of moderate or severe traumatic brain injury or other known neurological condition
sensory deficits that would preclude completing tasks
conditions unsafe for completing MRI scanning (e.g., metal in body)
currently receiving psychosocial treatment
currently receiving psychiatric pharmacotherapy, except SSRIs
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