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 sidewalk), 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, 20 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.
  • Two imaging studies led by scientists at Northwestern University showed that training with a set of BrainHQ’s auditory exercises could reverse negative trends in the brain: one recorded faster neural timing and precision and the other saw a better balance of speech representation in the brain. Both showed that these brain changes were accompanied by changes in how well the people could process sound and hear in noisy environments.
  • Dozens of other studies (listed in other categories) have shown that such improvements in processing speed have several 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


“Effects of cognitive training interventions with older adults: A randomized controlled trial”
Published in: Journal of the American Medical Association
Lead author: Karlene Ball, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
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“Long-term effects of cognitive training on everyday functional outcomes in older adults”
Published in: Journal of the American Medical Association
Lead author: Sherry L. Willis, PhD, University of Washington
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“Ten-year effects of the ACTIVE cognitive training trial on cognition and everyday functioning in older adults”
Published in: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Lead author: George W. Rebok, PhD, Johns Hopkins University
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“Speed of processing training in the ACTIVE study: How much is needed and who benefits?”
Published in: Journal of Aging and Health
Lead author: Karlene Ball, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
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“Age and visual search: Expanding the useful field of view”
Published in: Journal of the Optical Society of America A
Lead author: Karlene Ball, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
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“Reversal of age-related neural timing delays with training”
Published in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Lead Author: Samira Anderson, PhD, Northwestern University
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“Partial maintenance of auditory-based cognitive training benefits in older adults”
Published in: Neuropsychologia
Lead Author: Samira Anderson, PhD, Northwestern University
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“The Accelerate Study: The longitudinal effect of speed of processing training on cognitive performance of older adults”
Published in: Rehabilitation Psychology
Lead author: David Vance, PhD, MGS, University of Alabama at Birmingham
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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”
Published in: BMJ Open
Lead author: Fredric D. Wolinsky, PhD, University of Iowa
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“A randomized controlled trial of cognitive training using a visual speed of processing intervention in middle aged and older adults”
Published in: PLoS One
Lead author: Fredric D. Wolinsky, PhD, University of Iowa
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“Video game training to improve selective visual attention in older adults”
Published in: Computers in Human Behavior
Lead author: Patricia Belchior, PhD, McGill University
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“Advanced cognitive training for breast cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial”
Published in: Breast Cancer Research and Treatment
Lead author: Diane Von Ah, PhD, Indiana University School of Nursing
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“Randomized trial of cognitive speed of processing training in Parkinson disease”
Published in: Neurology
Lead author: Jerri Edwards, PhD, University of South Florida
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“Cognitive speed of processing training in older adults with visual impairments”
Published in: Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics
Lead author: Amanda F. Elliott, University of South Florida
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“Computerized auditory cognitive training to improve cognition and functional outcomes in patients with heart failure: Results of a pilot study”
Published in: Heart & Lung
Lead Author: Ponrathi Athilingam, PhD, ACNP, MCH, FAANP, University of South Florida
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“Speed of processing training with middle-age and older adults with HIV: A pilot study”
Published in: Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Lead Author: David Vance, PhD, MGS, University of Alabama at Birmingham
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“Effects of cognitive speed of processing training among older adults with heart failure”
Published in: Journal of Aging and Health
Lead Author: Michelle Ellis, MA, University of South Florida
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“Predictors of improvement following speed of processing training in middle-aged and older adults with HIV: A pilot study”
Published in: Journal of Neuroscience Nursing
Lead Author: Jaspreet Kaur, MA, University of Alabama at Birmingham
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“Computerized auditory cognitive training to improve cognition and functional outcomes in patients with heart failure: Results of a pilot study”
Published in: Heart & Lung: The Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Lead Author: Maya Guglin, MD, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
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“A randomized study of cognitive remediation for forensic and mental health patients with schizophrenia”
Published in: Journal of Psychiatric Research
Lead Author: Peter F. Buckley, MD, Georgia Regents University
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“Does targeted cognitive training reduce educational disparities in cognitive function among cognitively normal older adults? ”
Published in: Int J Geriatr Psychiatry
Lead Author: Frederick Unverzagt, PhD, Indiana University
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