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Prog Brain Res. 2013;207:175-207. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-63327-9.00006-0.

Fast ForWord®: the birth of the neurocognitive training revolution.

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  • 1Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Newark, NJ, USA. Electronic address:


In 1996, I cofounded Scientific Learning Corporation (SLC) with Drs Michael Merzenich, William Jenkins, and Steve Miller. I coined the term "Cogniceutical" to describe the new type of company we envisioned. SLC was the first company cofounded by academic scientists with the mission of building neurocognitive interventions. Fast ForWord® is the registered trade name of the platform SLC built to translate basic neuroplasticity-based training research into clinical and educational products. Fast ForWord® was the first cognitive neurotherapeutic intervention, the first to be individually adaptive in real time, the first "brain fitness" program that collected data over the Internet, and the first to use computer gaming technologies to change brains and enhance human potential. We included lofty goals in our first business plan for SLC. These included: using neuroplasticity-based training to improve language, literacy, and other academic skills; helping seniors maintain and recover function; helping people learn English as a second language; helping patient populations with neurological or mental disorders. SLC's first focus became improving language and literacy. Mike, Bill, Steve, and I began this journey together in 1994 with a laboratory-based research study that included seven children. To date, over two million children in 46 countries have used Fast ForWord® products. On any given school day, approximately 60,000 children log in to train on 1 of 10 Fast ForWord Language, Literacy, or Reading programs. We did not know at the time that we were creating what became a "disruptive innovation." This chapter chronicles this transformational journey.

© 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Fast ForWord®:; Scientific Learning Corporation; autism; dyslexia; language; language-learning impairments; literacy; neurocognitive training; neuroplasticity-based training; reading; video games

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