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Good news week: speed up…

June 21, 2010

I am nearing completion of the various exercises in Posit Science’s Insight Program: I have finished two exercises and have done over 40 hours training. In each exercise a number of discrete items on the computer screen has to be identified or recalled, sometimes matching, sometimes moving in space with a long inspection time, others flashed quickly where all you can do is follow a hunch, sometimes items are masked (disappearing and reappearing) sometimes they appear in my broader field of view outside of direct focus.

A central theme.

I am being trained in

  • visual acuity
  • working memory,
  • expanding my UFOV,
  • divided attention,

but above all there seems to be one theme going through all the exercises that tells me, (or trains me) to

  • SPEED UP AND GET A MOVE ON!

The slowing of information processing speed in the brains of “oldies” (like me)  has been a prominent idea in the scientific literature with some strong empirical support. This slowing down is considered to play an important part in how we may function as we get older.

The good news for older people: individual differences

We must remember, however, that there are marked individual differences in human cognitive ageing . It is good to be reminded that some cognitive capabilities are well retained in older people. Examples are vocabulary, some number skills, and general knowledge.

However in the same way as our physical function, such as grip strength is reduced as we age, so may our reasoning, some aspects of memory, executive functions, and speed of information processing. It seems that when one area starts the rest follows….

Information processing speed: keep it going
Information processing speed is considered by some scientists to have a special role in understanding what happens as we age. If speed of information processing slows down, then perhaps other cognitive functions deteriorate too. Their interdependence with intact speed of processing may be necessary for their efficiency.

More good news for older people

An interesting study in 2002 using 963 older participants from a longitudinal study in Amsterdam, showed that short-term learning or practice gains in processing speed are positively associated with long-term developmental changes in processing speed in the elderly.

So get a move on! I have found plenty of opportunity for developing speed of processing with both Posit Science programs….

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