Processing speed (PS) is an individual cognitive ability that measures the speed with which individuals execute cognitive tasks, particularly elementary cognitive tasks. PS has been proposed to be a key cognitive component, along with working memory, and is psychologically and clinically important. Various types of speed training affect performance of untrained cognitive measures. In this article, we review studies of PS training or training involving speeded tasks and describe the methodologies along with the psychological and neuroimaging findings related to PS training. There are various types of PS (speed) training tasks. Evidence indicates that PS training can enhance performance on untrained speeded tasks. However, the extent of transfer may vary depending on the methodology. A particular type of speed training seems to affect mental health in older adults. Neuroimaging studies of speed training have shown that the effects of speed training on neural mechanisms may vary depending on the training tasks. Adaptive procedures to modulate the difficulties of training tasks based on a subject’s performance by modulating the task speed can be applied to various cognitive tasks, and these procedures can perhaps be used to develop training protocols for enhancing various cognitive functions.
About the authors
Dr. Hikaru Takeuchi is an Assistant Professor of the Smart Ageing International Research Center, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohoku University from 2010. His scientific interest is in brain mapping of neural bases and plasticities of higher cognitive functions of humans. He won The Sagisaka Memorial Award of the Gonryo Medical Foundation in 2012. His scientific output includes 13 peer reviewed original articles and two review papers as the first author as well as other 14 original articles as a co-author.
Dr. Ryuta Kawashima has been a Professor of the Department of Functional Brain Imaging, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer (IDAC), Tohoku University since 2006, and a Director of the Smart Ageing International Research Center, IDAC, Tohoku University since 2010. His scientific interest is in functional brain mapping of higher cognitive functions of humans. He has won the Prize for Science and Technology, by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2009. His scientific output includes over 200 peer reviewed papers and the 150 books.
©2012 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston
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