Measuring Processing Speed Deficits in Multiple Sclerosis: A Comparison of Reaction Time and Rapid Serial Processing
Hughes, Abbey Jean
University of Kansas
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Research has suggested that information processing speed is the primary cognitive deficit associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). The present study featured a comparison of three paper-based and computer-based neuropsychological tests designed to measure processing speed. We found that the Simple Reaction Time subtest of the Computerized Test of Information Processing, and the combined scores for the word reading and color naming subtests of the computerized Stroop, were the most effective measures for differentiating MS patients from healthy controls in terms of processing speed. These measures also demonstrated the least susceptibility to practice effects, and the least reliance on possibly confounding cognitive processes (e.g., memory). Findings from this research will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the cognitive processes affected by MS, and will justify the use of computerized versions of these tests in future research.