IQ’s Corner: How robust is the relationship between neural processing speed and cognitive abilities? – Schubert – Psychophysiology

 How robust is the relationship between neural processing speed and cognitive abilities? – Schubert – Psychophysiology – Wiley Online Library 
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/psyp.14165

Individual differences in processing speed are consistently related to individual differences in cognitive abilities, but the mechanisms through which a higher processing speed facilitates reasoning remain largely unknown. To identify these mechanisms, researchers have been using latencies of the event-related potential (ERP) to study how the speed of cognitive processes associated with specific ERP components is related to cognitive abilities. Although there is some evidence that latencies of ERP components associated with higher-order cognitive processes are related to intelligence, results are overall quite inconsistent. These inconsistencies likely result from variations in analytic procedures and little consideration of the psychometric properties of ERP latencies in relatively small sample studies. Here we used a multiverse approach to evaluate how different analytical choices regarding references, low-pass filter cutoffs, and latency measures affect the psychometric properties of P2, N2, and P3 latencies and their relations with cognitive abilities in a sample of 148 participants. Latent correlations between neural processing speed and cognitive abilities ranged from -.49 to -.78. ERP latency measures contained about equal parts of measurement error variance and systematic variance, and only about half of the systematic variance was related to cognitive abilities, whereas the other half reflected nuisance factors. We recommend addressing these problematic psychometric properties by recording EEG data from multiple tasks and modeling relations between ERP latencies and covariates in latent variable models. All in all, our results indicate that there is a substantial and robust relationship between neural processing speed and cognitive abilities when those issues are addressed

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