Transfer of a speed of processing intervention to near and far cognitive functions

Gerontology. 2002 Sep-Oct;48(5):329-40. doi: 10.1159/000065259.


Background: Evidence establishing the potential for modification of cognitive functioning in later adulthood has begun to accumulate.

Objective: The primary goal of the current study was to evaluate, among older adults, the extent to which standardized speed of processing training transfers to similar and dissimilar speeded cognitive measures as well as to other domains of cognitive functioning.

Methods: Ninety-seven older adults (mean age 73.71 years) were administered a battery of cognitive tests assessing intelligence, memory, attention, verbal fluency, visual-perceptual ability, speed of processing, and functional abilities. Forty-four of the participants received ten 1-hour sessions of speed of processing training. The remainder of participants were in a no-contact control group. Approximately 6 weeks after the pretraining assessment, all participants repeated the same battery of tests.

Results: The results revealed training effects for some speed of processing measures, including performance of instrumental activities of daily living, but no transfer to other domains of cognitive functioning.

Conclusion: Speed of processing training may enhance the speed at which older adults can perform instrumental activities of daily living.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Transfer, Psychology*
  • Verbal Learning