The Transfer of Cognitive Speed of Processing Training to Older Adults' Driving Mobility Across 5 Years

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2016 Jan;71(1):87-97. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbv022. Epub 2015 Apr 15.


Objectives: Multilevel models assessed the effects of cognitive speed of processing training (SPT) on older adults' self-reported driving using intention-to-treat (ITT, randomization to training or control conditions) and dosage (treatment-received via number of training sessions) analyses across 5 years.

Method: Participants randomized to SPT (n = 598) were compared with those randomized to either the no-contact control (n = 598) or memory training, which served as an active control (n = 610). Driving mobility (frequency, exposure, and space) was assessed over time.

Results: No significant effects were found within the ITT analyses. However, number of SPT sessions did affect driving mobility outcomes. In the full sample (N = 1,806), higher SPT doses were associated with maintained driving frequency as compared with both control groups, but no effects were found for driving exposure or space. Subsample analyses (n = 315) revealed that persons at-risk for mobility declines (i.e., poor initial processing speed) who received additional booster SPT sessions reported greater maintenance of both driving frequency and exposure over time as compared with the no-contact and active control groups.

Discussion: These results and prior research indicate that cognitive SPT transfers to prolonged driving mobility among older adults. Future research should investigate the mechanisms behind transfer effects to real-world activities, such as driving.

Keywords: Cognitive training; Divided attention; Driving mobility; Speed of processing training; Training transfer; UFOV..

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Aged
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Cognition*
  • Education / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Reaction Time*
  • Self-Control