Processing speed is the amount of time it requires for an individual to take in information, process it, and respond or react to the information they were given. An individual’s processing speed affects how quickly they are able to perform everyday tasks that are automatic to them, or a novel task that requires them to actively process it. It is a fundamental cognitive skill that significantly impacts our executive functions, which are higher order thinking skills such as working memory, planning, flexible thinking, attention, and organization skills. In addition to our reaction times, processing speed influences our ability to learn. However, it is important to note that it is not equivalent to an individual’s intelligence level. Below is a diagram illustrating the building blocks needed to successfully carry out executive functions.
Examples of different types of processing speed includes:
- Visual: The amount of time it takes you to understand a document you are reading
- Auditory: Being able to understand and keep up with a conversation with a friend
- Can include other senses
|Examples of slow processing speed||Strategies to help individual||Strategies for the individual|
CogniFit. (n.d.). Processing speed: cognitive ability. CogniFit. https://www.cognifit.com/science/cognitive-skills/processing-speed
Ebaid, D., Crewther, S. G., MacCalman, K., Brown, A., & Crewther, D. P. (2017). Cognitive processing speed across the lifespan: Beyond the influence of motor speed. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9(62). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00062
Lana J. Ozen, Myra A. Fernandes, Slowing Down after a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A Strategy to Improve Cognitive Task Performance?, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, Volume 27, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 85–100, https://doi.org/10.1093/arclin/acr087
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