Study: alertness training and visual processing speed

Can CogniPlus training improve visual processing speed in healthy adults?

Can the alertness training ALERT (CogniPlus) improve visual processing speed in healthy older adults? This is the question researched in this study. In addition, it was investigated whether the training gain can be predicted.

The study was divided into two sections. In Study 1, 75 healthy older adults participated in alertness training, active control training or no training (n = 25 each). In the course of the CogniPlus training ALERT, which is reminiscent of a video game in terms of its visual appearance, the test subjects see a motorbike from the rider's perspective. The speed of the motorbike increases with the difficulty level, which adapts to the person's performance. When an obstacle is encountered, a button must be pressed as quickly as possible. Before and after the training, the visual processing speed was measured using established psychophysical test paradigms based on the Theory of Visual Attention (TVA).

The results show an increase in visual processing speed in the group with alertness training, but not in the control groups, although visual processing speed before training did not differ significantly between the groups. In study 2, 29 healthy older adults underwent resting-state functional MRI and then participated in alertness training. Pre-training functional connectivity in the cingulo-opercular network correlated with individual training-induced changes in visual processing speed. In summary, the results suggest that alertness training improves visual processing in older adults and that functional connectivity in the cingulo-opercular network is a neural marker for predicting individual training gains.


With this study, Melanie Penning and Adriana Ruiz-Rizzo have won one of the prestigious SCHUHFRIED Science Awards 2020 and the associated €500. Would you like to submit your study for the SCHUHFRIED Science Award 2021? Here you will find all the information you need! Would you like to use tests from the Vienna Test System or CogniPlus Tranings for your research? You can apply for our Research Support here!

Penning, M. D., Ruiz-Rizzo, A. L., Redel, P., Müller, H. J., Salminen, T., Strobach, T., Behrens, S., Schubert, T., Sorg, C., & Finke, K. (2021). Alertness Training Increases Visual Processing Speed in Healthy Older Adults. Psychological Science.

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