Processing Speed

Published Research on BrainHQ and Processing Speed

Perhaps the most important goal of BrainHQ training is to speed up your brain’s processing. That’s because quick, accurate processing of information that comes in through hearing, vision, and the other senses affects “higher” cognitive functions—like memory and problem solving. When the brain can’t quite keep up with the speed at which information is coming in, it makes only partial, “fuzzy” representations of that information. This has short-term and long-term effects. In the short term, it might lead you to mishear what someone said, have trouble following a conversation in a crowded place, miss a key visual detail (like a pedestrian entering the crosswalk), or misinterpret a brief facial expression. In the long term, it affects memory: your brain only has a fuzzy recording to rely on.

Several BrainHQ exercises are designed to gradually speed up visual and auditory processing. So far, 25 papers have shown that they work.

  • A large study called the IMPACT Study (led by researchers at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Southern California) showed that using six BrainHQ exercises for 40 hours led to an average increase in auditory processing speed of 135%.
  • The ACTIVE Study, one of the largest and most prestigious studies on cognitive training in adults ever conducted, saw a doubling, on average, in visual processing speed after just 10 hours of training with the BrainHQ exercise called Double Decision. Follow-ups showed that people retained some benefit of training five and even ten years later, especially if they did some short “booster” sessions on occasion.
  • An imaging study led by scientists at Northwestern University showed that training with a set of BrainHQ’s auditory exercises could improve neural timing in the brain as well as processing speed.
  • Dozens of other studies (listed in other categories) have shown that such improvements in processing speed are associated with numerous benefits in everyday life, from safer driving to a better ability to keep up with the demands of a modern busy life.


Information and citations for research on the effects of BrainHQ exercises on speed of processing

In general, these studies were conducted in cognitively healthy adults aged 65 and older, and in some cases, aged 50 and older. Remember that studies show average results, and that individual results will vary. Where published studies make reference to clinical populations, it is for informational purposes only. BrainHQ is not intended to diagnose or treat any clinical condition.


Reversal of age-related neural timing delays with training
Anderson et al. (2013)
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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Partial maintenance of auditory-based cognitive training benefits in older adults
Anderson et al. (2014)
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Effects of cognitive training interventions with older adults: A randomized controlled trial
Ball et al. (2002)
Journal of the American Medical Association
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Speed of processing training in the ACTIVE study: How much is needed and who benefits?
Ball et al. (2014)
Journal of Aging and Health
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Age and visual search: Expanding the useful field of view
Ball et al. (1988)
Journal of the Optical Society of America
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Video game training to improve selective visual attention in older adults
Belchior et al. (2014)
Computers in Human Behavior
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Computer and videogame interventions for older adults' cognitive and everyday functioning
Belchior et al. (2019)
Games for Health Journal
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Does targeted cognitive training reduce educational disparities in cognitive function among cognitively normal older adults?
Clark et al. (2015)
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
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Transfer of a speed of processing intervention to near and far cognitive functions
Edwards et al. (2002)
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The impact of speed of processing training on cognitive and everyday performance
Edwards et al. (2005)
Aging & Mental Health
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An examination of mediators of the transfer of cognitive speed of processing training to everyday functional performance
Edwards et al. (2013)
Psychology and Aging
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The efficacy of InSight cognitive training to improve Useful Field of View performance: a brief report
Edwards et al. (2015)
The Journals of Gerontology, Series B
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Cognitive speed of processing training in older adults with visual impairments
Elliott et al. (2014)
Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics
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Effect of speed of processing training on older driver screening measures
Eramudugolla et al. (2017)
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
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The ACTIVE cognitive training interventions and trajectories of performance among older adults
Eramudugolla et al. (2014)
Journal of Aging and Health
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Cognitive and neural effects of vision-based speed-of-processing training in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment: a pilot study
Lin et al. (2016)
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
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Cognitive training and selective attention in the aging brain: an electrophysiological study
O’Brien et al. (2013)
Clinical Neurophysiology
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Ten-year effects of the ACTIVE cognitive training trial on cognition and everyday functioning in older adults
Rebok et al. (2014)
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
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Speed-of-processing and driving simulator training result in improved driving performance
Roenker et al. (2003)
Human Factors
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The neural correlates of an expanded functional field of view
Scalf et al. (2007)
Journals of Gerontology, Series B
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Does self-efficacy affect responsiveness to cognitive speed of processing training?
Sharpe et al. (2014)
Journal of Aging and Health
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A cognitive training program based on principles of brain plasticity: results from the improvements in memory with plasticity-based adaptive cognitive training (IMPACT) study
Smith et al. (2009)
Journal of the American Geriatric’s Society
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The Accelerate Study: The longitudinal effect of speed of processing training on cognitive performance of older adults
Vance et al. (2007)
Rehabilitation Psychology
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Long-term effects of cognitive training on everyday functional outcomes in older adults
Willis et al. (2010)
Journal of the American Medical Association
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Interim analyses from a randomized controlled trial to improve visual processing speed in older adults: the Iowa Healthy and Active Minds Study
Wolinsky et al. (2011)
BMJ Open
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A randomized controlled trial of cognitive training using a visual speed of processing intervention in middle aged and older adults
Wolinsky et al. (2013)
PLoS One
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