Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Bonita P. Klein-Tasman

Committee Members

Han Joo Lee, Christine L. Larson, W Hobart Davies, Christopher R. Martell


Cognitive Training, Go/no-go, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, Response Inhibition, Williams Syndrome


Williams syndrome (WS) is a genetic neurodevelopmental disorder which is often accompanied by challenges such as attention difficulties, anxiety, and overfriendliness. While research is mixed, a substantial body of literature suggests that deficits in response inhibition may underlie these difficulties in WS, making response inhibition a possible focus of intervention. However, research to date has not explored interventions that may affect response inhibition in individuals with WS. A recently developed computerized response inhibition training program has shown promise at improving response inhibition in other populations, but research on computerized training for people with WS has not been conducted. The aim of this pilot study was to use a randomized controlled trial with waitlist crossover design to investigate the utility of an online training program at improving response inhibition (as measured by a Go/No-Go task) and parent report of everyday attention difficulties in children and adolescents with Williams syndrome. Results indicated that an immediate treatment effect was not present for the sample and that the treatment group did not show more error reduction than the waitlist group. Overall, improvement in clinical outcomes was not reported by parents after treatment. Error reduction on the lab-based task appeared to be related to symptom reduction at post-treatment but not at follow-up. Scores on the lab-based task three months after completion of training suggest that there may be delayed treatment effects for some participants; the degree of improvement was predicted by the degree of baseline ADHD symptomatology. Implications and future directions for the use of computerized training for individuals with WS are discussed.

Available for download on Friday, August 30, 2019