Higher-order cognitive training effects on processing speed–related neural activity: a randomized trial

Michael A. Motes, Uma S. Yezhuvath, Sina Aslan, Jeffrey S. Spence, Bart Rypma, Sandra B. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Higher-order cognitive training has shown to enhance performance in older adults, but the neural mechanisms underlying performance enhancement have yet to be fully disambiguated. This randomized trial examined changes in processing speed and processing speed–related neural activity in older participants (57–71 years of age) who underwent cognitive training (CT, N = 12) compared with wait-listed (WLC, N = 15) or exercise-training active (AC, N = 14) controls. The cognitive training taught cognitive control functions of strategic attention, integrative reasoning, and innovation over 12 weeks. All 3 groups worked through a functional magnetic resonance imaging processing speed task during 3 sessions (baseline, mid-training, and post-training). Although all groups showed faster reaction times (RTs) across sessions, the CT group showed a significant increase, and the WLC and AC groups showed significant decreases across sessions in the association between RT and BOLD signal change within the left prefrontal cortex (PFC). Thus, cognitive training led to a change in processing speed–related neural activity where faster processing speed was associated with reduced PFC activation, fitting previously identified neural efficiency profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Aging
  • Cognitive training
  • DSVT
  • Exercise
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Processing speed
  • Reasoning
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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