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Penning, Melanie D.; Ruiz-Rizzo, Adriana L.; Redel, Petra; Mueller, Hermann J.; Salminen, Tiina; Strobach, Tilo; Behrens, Simone; Schubert, Torsten; Sorg, Christian and Finke, Kathrin (2021): Alertness Training Increases Visual Processing Speed in Healthy Older Adults. In: Psychological Science, Vol. 32, No. 3: pp. 340-353

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In this study, we investigated whether alertness training in healthy older adults increases visual processing speed (VPS) and whether functional connectivity in the cingulo-opercular network predicts training gain. Using the theory of visual attention, we derived quantitative estimates of VPS before and after training. In Study 1, 75 healthy older adults participated in alertness training, active-control training, or no training (n = 25 each). A significant Group x Session interaction indicated an increase in VPS in the alertness-training group but not in the control group, despite VPS not differing significantly between groups before training. In Study 2, 29 healthy older adults underwent resting-state functional MRI and then participated in alertness training. Pretraining functional connectivity in the cingulo-opercular network correlated with the individual training-induced change in VPS. In conclusion, results indicate that alertness training improves visual processing in older adults and that functional connectivity in the cingulo-opercular network provides a neural marker for predicting individual training gain.

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