Abstract

Objective: Recent studies indicate that processing speed deficits form the basis for deficits of other higher order cognitive abilities. Therefore, improvements in auditory processing speed will likely positively impact multiple areas of cognition, including verbal learning and memory, working memory, and executive functions. This study examines the effect of a computerized training program to improve processing speed in adults with a TBI. Method: Twenty adults (mean age = 43.33, SD = 14.4) with a mild, moderate, or severe TBI were assigned to an experimental (n = 10) or control group (n = 10), and were matched on age and level of education. All participants underwent a baseline and follow-up neuropsychological testing. The neuropsychological battery assessed processing speed, executive functions, verbal memory, visual memory, working memory, and attention. Participants assigned to the experimental group underwent 40 hours of a structured computerized cognitive training with six separate training modules (Brain Fitness Program, Posit Science) over 10–12 weeks. Results: The results demonstrated that the experimental group had significant improvement on measures of auditory and visual processing speed (d = .89 and .56, respectively), set-shifting (d = .76), following verbal directions (d = .47), and non-verbal reasoning correct responses and reaction time (d = .44 and .50, respectively). Conclusion(s): The computerized neuroplasticity training program demonstrated moderate to large effect sizes in the changes in performance from pre- and post-intervention assessments in the experimental group compared to control group. As expected, the majority of the improvement was on measures of verbal skills due to the nature of the intervention.