Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Information Processing Speed

  • Lawrence H. SweetEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1321


Cognitive processing speed; Processing speed


Information processing speed (IPS) is a measure of the efficiency of cognitive function. It is assessed using timed tests that typically challenge relatively simple cognitive operations. IPS is expressed in terms of reaction time, the time required to complete a series of operations, or the number of items answered correctly in a set period of time. Clinical instruments designed to assess IPS range widely from simple reaction times to more complex measures, such as the Processing Speed Index of the Wechsler Intelligence Scales.

Historical Background

IPS is one of the oldest constructs studied in psychology. The first example of systematic research on IPS was conducted by Fransisco Donders during the 1860s. Donders developed a straightforward, but revolutionary, method of calculating differences in reaction times to measure the “speed of mental processes.” He demonstrated that more complex cognitive demands resulted in...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Deluca, J., & Kalmar, J. H. (2008). Information processing speed in clinical populations. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  2. Donders, F. C. (1868). Die Schnelligkeit der psychischer Prozesse. Archiv für Anatomie und Physiologie, 657–681.Google Scholar
  3. Donders, F. C. (1969). On the speed of mental processes. Acta Psychologica, 30, 412–431.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Salthouse, T. A. (1985). A theory of cognitive aging. Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA