The ACTIVE Study

With 2,832 participants, the ACTIVE Study is the largest study on cognitive training ever performed. Funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the National Institute on Aging, the Indiana University School of Medicine, Penn State University, and others, the ACTIVE study proves that healthy older adults can make significant cognitive improvements with appropriate cognitive training and practice. It also demonstrates that the Posit Science training in BrainHQ drives improvements that are significantly better than other types of cognitive exercise.

Study Goals

The ACTIVE study was designed to compare three different types of cognitive training: one that focused on memory, one that targeted reasoning, and BrainHQ training that exercised speed of processing. The study was conducted at six sites across the United States, and all of the participants were healthy adults aged 65 or older. Researchers followed participants for ten years to evaluate the long-term effects of training.

The BrainHQ Training: Double Decision (Road Tour)

The speed-of-processing training that ACTIVE study participants used was an earlier version of the BrainHQ exercise Double Decision (previously called Road Tour). In Double Decision, the user has to spot a target in the middle of the screen while simultaneously noticing a target in the periphery—even when they flash on screen very briefly. Over time, the brain speeds up, and is able to process the targets more and more quickly.

To make sure Double Decision retained all the scientific accuracy of the original exercise used in the ACTIVE study, our science team worked hand-in-hand with the original developers of the exercise. Read more about Double Decision or go to BrainHQ to try it now.

Superior Results from Posit Science Training

All three types of cognitive training tested in the ACTIVE study resulted in cognitive improvements after the initial training period, but participants who used the BrainHQ exercise experienced the best results overall. According to the study, 87% of the participants who used BrainHQ’s Double Decision showed increases in cognitive ability, while 74% of participants who used reasoning training and 26% of those who used memory training showed improvements. The Double Decision training also reduced the risk of serious decline in health-related quality of life by 35%, and reduced the risk of decline in people’s abilities to perform instrumental tasks of daily living.

News on Brain Training and Dementia

"Speed training" in ACTIVE trial cuts the long-term risk of dementia nearly in half. Learn more.

Lasting Effects

At both 5-year and 10-year follow-ups, ACTIVE study participants who used the BrainHQ training continued to show measurable cognitive improvements, even without additional training. It not only helped people improve their speed of processing, but also helped them perform everyday tasks—such as shopping and handling finances—more easily and effectively.

Only in BrainHQ

The only computerized cognitive training exercise used in the ACTIVE study was Double Decision, now found in BrainHQ. This exercise is not available in any other cognitive training program. In fact, one of the most interesting results from the ACTIVE study is that different cognitive training interventions work differently, and some work better than other. BrainHQ is the only commercially available brain training program that has been shown by the ACTIVE study results to improve cognitive function, sustain quality of life and functional independence, and deliver results that last over time.

Accessing Double Decision

You can use all the Double Decision content that the ACTIVE participants used on BrainHQ. If you’re already a BrainHQ subscriber, start now. Otherwise, you’ll have to subscribe to BrainHQ to access the exercise.

Study Results

  • Large improvements in cognitive abilities
  • 35.6% reduction in risk of serious health-related quality of life decline 
  • Effects that last 10+ years without further training

The ACTIVE Study Design

  • Multi-center
  • Prospective
  • Randomized
  • Controlled
  • Single-blind