Set Your Goal: Engaging Go/No-Go Active Learning

Depression and anxiety are the largest contributors to disease and disability, affecting around 300 million people. This research study aims to reduce depression and/or anxiety symptoms by improving decision making skills. Most of us avoid unpleasant activities, even if this avoidance interferes with our goals. This type of avoidance is a common method of coping in adults with depression and/or anxiety, and can lead to worsened symptoms Current treatments only work for about half of the individuals in the U.S. with depression or anxiety. The goal of this study is to test a new treatment that reduces your avoidance so that you can focus on your goals. By focusing on and achieving goals through improved decision making, the aim is to help you recover from your depression or anxiety.


Around 300 million people are affected by depression and anxiety, the two largest contributors to disease and disability. The goal of this study is to reduce symptoms of anxiety and/or depression in participants through improved decision making skills. It is assumed many people avoid unpleasant activities, even if the activity interferes with reaching their goals. It’s common to avoid things to cope with anxiety/depression, but avoidance can make symptoms worse. Current treatments only assist around half of adults in the United States with anxiety and/or depression. This study aims to reduce avoidance so participants can focus on goals. If improved decision making could help them focus on and achieve goals, their anxiety and/or depression symptoms are expected to be reduced.

Study information:

Participation includes 11 weekly visits to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The first 2 visits are assessments and a brain scan. Visits 3 through 11 are training sessions. The first training visit involves a psychiatric interview, questionnaires, and a computer task. The second training visit involves completing the computer task while in an MRI machine. The rest of the training visits are hour-long psychotherapy intervention training sessions. At the third, sixth, and ninth visit, participants complete progress evaluations after the training sessions. All study visits are paid. Participants can receive up to $586 for participating in the study.


The sponsor of this study is the Northwestern University Jen and Ruth Davee Award. The telephone number for Go/No-Go Active Learning is (312) 503-9338.

Inclusion Criteria:

Individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 can participate in the study. Participants are required to be a United States citizen, proficient in English, and currently experiencing symptoms of depression. Study participants must attend in person at Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders, located at 676 N St. Clair Street Arkes Pavilion, Suite 1000 Chicago, IL, 60611.

Exclusion Criteria:

Participants cannot be pregnant or currently in therapy.