Taking time to plan


Background: Previous studies show that MS patients take longer than healthy controls
to plan their solutions to Tower of London (TOL) problems but yield
conflicting results regarding the quality of their solutions. 

Objective: The
present study evaluated performance under untimed or timed conditions to
assess the possibility that differences in planning ability only occur
when restrictions in solution times are imposed. 

Methods: MS patients (n = 39)
and healthy controls (n = 43) completed a computerized version of the
TOL under one of two conditions. In the untimed condition, participants
were allowed as much time as needed on each problem. In the timed
condition, limits were imposed on solution times and time remaining was
displayed with each problem. 

Results: Patients exhibited longer planning times
than controls, and the disparity between groups increased with problem
difficulty. Planning performance depended upon condition. In the untimed
condition, patients and controls performed equally well. When solution
times were restricted, however, patients solved fewer problems than
controls. MS patients’ planning ability is intact when permitted
sufficient time to formulate the required plan. 

Conclusion: Deficiencies in planning
are only evident when time is restricted, and, therefore, are more
accurately considered a relative consequence of disease-related problems
in information processing speed. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1-8).

This study looked at the time to do a problem solving test and when given unlimited time MSers did just as well as non-MSers, but when there was a time restriction, MSers were slower. So make sure you give yourself extra time.

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