Gwakkamole, A Game to Train Inhibitory Control

Icon of Gwakkamole, A Game to Train Inhibitory Control.

Gwakkamolé is a game designed to train inhibitory control, a subskill of executive functions. Inhibition involves controlling your attention, thoughts or behaviors to stop from doing something that you are primed to do, because of a habit or external lure, in order to achieve a goal.

In this game, players need to quickly smash avocados that have no hat or that tip their hat, but avoid smashing avocados with spiky hats or with electrified hats. To do this, children must avoid the tendency to smash everything that appears, which requires them to use inhibition.

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All You Can ET is part of SMART Suite, a set of games to train executive functions (also including All You Can ET and CrushStations) that has been developed by the CREATE lab at New York University in collaboration with researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara and The Graduate Center, CUNY. Published, peer-reviewed research with hundreds of students has validated the efficacy of SMART Suite for training executive functions (see bibliography), including the Handbook of Game-Based Learning.


Homer, B. D., Plass, J. L., Raffaele, C., Ober, T. M., & Ali, A. (2018). Improving high school students’ executive functions through digital game play. Computers & Education, 117, 50-58.

Homer, B.D., Ober, T.M., Rose, M.C., MacNamara, A.P., Mayer, R. & Plass, J.L. (2019). Speed Versus Accuracy: Implications of Adolescents’ Neurocognitive Developments in a Digital Game to Train Executive Functions, Mind, Brain & Education, 13(1), 41-52.

Homer, B.D., Plass, J.L., Rose, M.C., MacNamara, A.P., Pawar, S., & Ober, T.M. (2019). Activating adolescents’ “hot” executive functions in a digital game to train cognitive skills: The effects of age and prior abilities. Cognitive Development, 49, 20-32.

Ober, T. M., Brooks, P. J., Plass, J. L., & Homer, B. D. (2019). Distinguishing Direct and Indirect Effects of Executive Functions on Reading Comprehension in Adolescents. Reading Psychology, 40(6), 551–581.

Parong, J., Mayer, R. E., Fiorella, L., MacNamara, A., Homer, B. D., & Plass, J. L. (2017). Learning executive function skills by playing focused video games. Contemporary Educational Psychology51, 141-151.

Plass, J. L., Homer, B. D., Pawar, S., Brenner, C., & MacNamara, A.P. (2019). The effect of adaptive difficulty adjustment on the effectiveness of a game to develop executive function skills for learners of different ages. Cognitive Development, 49, 56-67.

Plass, J.L, Homer, B.D., Pawar, S., & Tam, F. (2018). Connecting Theory and Design Through Research: Cognitive Skills Training Games. In S. Göbel et al. (Eds.): Joint Conference on Serious Games 2018, pp. 1–14, 2018. Spring Nature, Switzerland.

Plass, J.L., Homer, B.D., MacNamara, A.P., Ober, T., Rose, M.C., Hovey, C.M., Pawar, S., & Olsen, A. (2019). Emotional Design for Digital Games for Learning: The Affective Quality of Expression, Color, Shape, and Dimensionality of Game Characters, Learning and Instruction.

Plass, J.L., Mayer, R. & Homer, B.D. (Eds.) (2020) Handbook of Game-based Learning. MIT Press.

Sirin, S., Plass, J.L., Homer, B.D., Vatanartiran, S. & Tsai, T. (2018). Digital game-based education for Syrian refugee children: Project Hope. Vulnerable Children & Youth Studies, 13(1), 7-18. doi: 10.1080/17450128.2017.1412551

Vacca, R. Bromley, M., Leyrer, J., Sprung, M., & Homer, B.D. (2014). Designing Games for Emotional Health. In Schrier, K. (Ed), Learning, Education, and Games (pp. 123-142). ETC Press.

2 thoughts on “Gwakkamole, A Game to Train Inhibitory Control

  1. Pingback: All You Can ET, A game to train Cognitive Flexibility - Gedankenspiele

  2. Pingback: CrushStations, a Game to Train Working Memory - Gedankenspiele

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