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, 14 (3), 582-90

Differential Effects of Reasoning and Speed Training in Children

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Differential Effects of Reasoning and Speed Training in Children

Allyson P Mackey et al. Dev Sci.

Abstract

The goal of this study was to determine whether intensive training can ameliorate cognitive skills in children. Children aged 7 to 9 from low socioeconomic backgrounds participated in one of two cognitive training programs for 60 minutes/day and 2 days/week, for a total of 8 weeks. Both training programs consisted of commercially available computerized and non-computerized games. Reasoning training emphasized planning and relational integration; speed training emphasized rapid visual detection and rapid motor responses. Standard assessments of reasoning ability - the Test of Non-Verbal Intelligence (TONI-3) and cognitive speed (Coding B from WISC IV) - were administered to all children before and after training. Neither group was exposed to these standardized tests during training. Children in the reasoning group improved substantially on TONI (Cohen's d = 1.51), exhibiting an average increase of 10 points in Performance IQ, but did not improve on Coding. By contrast, children in the speed group improved substantially on Coding (d = 1.15), but did not improve on TONI. Counter to widespread belief, these results indicate that both fluid reasoning and processing speed are modifiable by training.

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