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Sample records for selective attention task

  1. Nonstrategic Contributions to Putatively Strategic Effects in Selective Attention Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Risko, Evan F.; Blais, Chris; Stolz, Jennifer A.; Besner, Derek

    2008-01-01

    Proportion compatible manipulations are often used to index strategic processes in selective attention tasks. Here, a subtle confound in proportion compatible manipulations is considered. Specifically, as the proportion of compatible trials increases, the ratio of complete repetitions and complete alternations to partial repetitions increases on…

  2. Stroop tasks reveal abnormal selective attention among psychopathic offenders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hiatt, Kristina D; Schmitt, William A; Newman, Joseph P

    2004-01-01

    Selective attention among offenders with psychopathy was investigated using 3 Stroop paradigms: a standard color-word (CW) Stroop, a picture-word (PW) Stroop, and a color-word Stroop in which the word and color were spatially separated (separated CW). Consistent with "overselective" attention, offenders with psychopathy displayed reduced Stroop interference on the separated CW and PW tasks relative to offenders who were not psychopathic. However, offenders with psychopathy displayed normal Stroop interference on the standard CW Stroop. Further, the reduced interference of offenders with psychopathy on the separated CW Stroop was accompanied by normal facilitation. These findings suggest a circumscribed attentional deficit in psychopathy that hinders the use of unattended information that is (a) not integrated with deliberately attended information and (b) not compatible with current goal-directed behavior. ((c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)

  3. Interhemispheric interaction expands attentional capacity in an auditory selective attention task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scalf, Paige E; Banich, Marie T; Erickson, Andrew B

    2009-04-01

    Previous work from our laboratory indicates that interhemispheric interaction (IHI) functionally increases the attentional capacity available to support performance on visual tasks (Banich in The asymmetrical brain, pp 261-302, 2003). Because manipulations of both computational complexity and selection demand alter the benefits of IHI to task performance, we argue that IHI may be a general strategy for meeting increases in attentional demand. Other researchers, however, have suggested that the apparent benefits of IHI to attentional capacity are an epiphenomenon of the organization of the visual system (Fecteau and Enns in Neuropsychologia 43:1412-1428, 2005; Marsolek et al. in Neuropsychologia 40:1983-1999, 2002). In the current experiment, we investigate whether IHI increases attentional capacity outside the visual system by manipulating the selection demands of an auditory temporal pattern-matching task. We find that IHI expands attentional capacity in the auditory system. This suggests that the benefits of requiring IHI derive from a functional increase in attentional capacity rather than the organization of a specific sensory modality.

  4. Selective effects of cholinergic modulation on task performance during selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Furey, Maura L; Pietrini, Pietro; Haxby, James V; Drevets, Wayne C

    2008-03-01

    The cholinergic neurotransmitter system is critically linked to cognitive functions including attention. The current studies were designed to evaluate the effect of a cholinergic agonist and an antagonist on performance during a selective visual attention task where the inherent salience of attended/unattended stimuli was modulated. Two randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover studies were performed, one (n=9) with the anticholinesterase physostigmine (1.0 mg/h), and the other (n=30) with the anticholinergic scopolamine (0.4 mc/kg). During the task, two double-exposure pictures of faces and houses were presented side by side. Subjects were cued to attend to either the face or the house component of the stimuli, and were instructed to perform a matching task with the two exemplars from the attended category. The cue changed every 4-7 trials to instruct subjects to shift attention from one stimulus component to the other. During placebo in both studies, reaction time (RT) associated with the first trial following a cued shift in attention was longer than RT associated with later trials (pattention to houses condition (pattention to faces. Scopolamine increased RT relative to placebo selectively during trials greater than one (pattention to faces condition (pselective attention (ie trials greater than 1). Moreover, effects of cholinergic manipulation depend on the selective attention condition (ie faces vs houses), which may suggest that cholinergic activity interacts with stimulus salience. The findings are discussed within the context of the role of acetylcholine both in stimulus processing and stimulus salience, and in establishing attention biases through top-down and bottom-up mechanisms of attention.

  5. Brain activity during divided and selective attention to auditory and visual sentence comprehension tasks

    OpenAIRE

    Moisala, Mona; Salmela, Viljami; Salo, Emma; Carlson, Synnove; Vuontela, Virve; Salonen, Oili; Alho, Kimmo

    2015-01-01

    Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we measured brain activity of human participants while they performed a sentence congruence judgment task in either the visual or auditory modality separately, or in both modalities simultaneously. Significant performance decrements were observed when attention was divided between the two modalities compared with when one modality was selectively attended. Compared with selective attention (i.e., single tasking), divided attention (i.e., dua...

  6. Brain activity during divided and selective attention to auditory and visual sentence comprehension tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moisala, Mona; Salmela, Viljami; Salo, Emma; Carlson, Synnöve; Vuontela, Virve; Salonen, Oili; Alho, Kimmo

    2015-01-01

    Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we measured brain activity of human participants while they performed a sentence congruence judgment task in either the visual or auditory modality separately, or in both modalities simultaneously. Significant performance decrements were observed when attention was divided between the two modalities compared with when one modality was selectively attended. Compared with selective attention (i.e., single tasking), divided attention (i.e., dual-tasking) did not recruit additional cortical regions, but resulted in increased activity in medial and lateral frontal regions which were also activated by the component tasks when performed separately. Areas involved in semantic language processing were revealed predominantly in the left lateral prefrontal cortex by contrasting incongruent with congruent sentences. These areas also showed significant activity increases during divided attention in relation to selective attention. In the sensory cortices, no crossmodal inhibition was observed during divided attention when compared with selective attention to one modality. Our results suggest that the observed performance decrements during dual-tasking are due to interference of the two tasks because they utilize the same part of the cortex. Moreover, semantic dual-tasking did not appear to recruit additional brain areas in comparison with single tasking, and no crossmodal inhibition was observed during intermodal divided attention.

  7. Brain activity during divided and selective attention to auditory and visual sentence comprehension tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moisala, Mona; Salmela, Viljami; Salo, Emma; Carlson, Synnöve; Vuontela, Virve; Salonen, Oili; Alho, Kimmo

    2015-01-01

    Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we measured brain activity of human participants while they performed a sentence congruence judgment task in either the visual or auditory modality separately, or in both modalities simultaneously. Significant performance decrements were observed when attention was divided between the two modalities compared with when one modality was selectively attended. Compared with selective attention (i.e., single tasking), divided attention (i.e., dual-tasking) did not recruit additional cortical regions, but resulted in increased activity in medial and lateral frontal regions which were also activated by the component tasks when performed separately. Areas involved in semantic language processing were revealed predominantly in the left lateral prefrontal cortex by contrasting incongruent with congruent sentences. These areas also showed significant activity increases during divided attention in relation to selective attention. In the sensory cortices, no crossmodal inhibition was observed during divided attention when compared with selective attention to one modality. Our results suggest that the observed performance decrements during dual-tasking are due to interference of the two tasks because they utilize the same part of the cortex. Moreover, semantic dual-tasking did not appear to recruit additional brain areas in comparison with single tasking, and no crossmodal inhibition was observed during intermodal divided attention. PMID:25745395

  8. Beyond time and space: The effect of a lateralized sustained attention task and brain stimulation on spatial and selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shalev, Nir; De Wandel, Linde; Dockree, Paul; Demeyere, Nele; Chechlacz, Magdalena

    2017-10-03

    The Theory of Visual Attention (TVA) provides a mathematical formalisation of the "biased competition" account of visual attention. Applying this model to individual performance in a free recall task allows the estimation of 5 independent attentional parameters: visual short-term memory (VSTM) capacity, speed of information processing, perceptual threshold of visual detection; attentional weights representing spatial distribution of attention (spatial bias), and the top-down selectivity index. While the TVA focuses on selection in space, complementary accounts of attention describe how attention is maintained over time, and how temporal processes interact with selection. A growing body of evidence indicates that different facets of attention interact and share common neural substrates. The aim of the current study was to modulate a spatial attentional bias via transfer effects, based on a mechanistic understanding of the interplay between spatial, selective and temporal aspects of attention. Specifically, we examined here: (i) whether a single administration of a lateralized sustained attention task could prime spatial orienting and lead to transferable changes in attentional weights (assigned to the left vs right hemi-field) and/or other attentional parameters assessed within the framework of TVA (Experiment 1); (ii) whether the effects of such spatial-priming on TVA parameters could be further enhanced by bi-parietal high frequency transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) (Experiment 2). Our results demonstrate that spatial attentional bias, as assessed within the TVA framework, was primed by sustaining attention towards the right hemi-field, but this spatial-priming effect did not occur when sustaining attention towards the left. Furthermore, we show that bi-parietal high-frequency tRNS combined with the rightward spatial-priming resulted in an increased attentional selectivity. To conclude, we present a novel, theory-driven method for attentional modulation

  9. Selective visual attention and motivation: the consequences of value learning in an attentional blink task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raymond, Jane E; O'Brien, Jennifer L

    2009-08-01

    Learning to associate the probability and value of behavioral outcomes with specific stimuli (value learning) is essential for rational decision making. However, in demanding cognitive conditions, access to learned values might be constrained by limited attentional capacity. We measured recognition of briefly presented faces seen previously in a value-learning task involving monetary wins and losses; the recognition task was performed both with and without constraints on available attention. Regardless of available attention, recognition was substantially enhanced for motivationally salient stimuli (i.e., stimuli highly predictive of outcomes), compared with equally familiar stimuli that had weak or no motivational salience, and this effect was found regardless of valence (win or loss). However, when attention was constrained (because stimuli were presented during an attentional blink, AB), valence determined recognition; win-associated faces showed no AB, but all other faces showed large ABs. Motivational salience acts independently of attention to modulate simple perceptual decisions, but when attention is limited, visual processing is biased in favor of reward-associated stimuli.

  10. Enhancement of selective attention by tDCS: interaction with interference in a Sternberg task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gladwin, T.E.; den Uyl, T.E.; Fregni, F.F.; Wiers, R.W.

    2012-01-01

    Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) enhances performance on working memory tasks. However, such effects may be dependent on modulation of specific aspects of working memory. We therefore tested the hypothesis that tDCS improves selective attention in the context of a Sternberg task.

  11. The control of attentional target selection in a colour/colour conjunction task

    OpenAIRE

    Berggren, Nick; Eimer, Martin

    2016-01-01

    To investigate the time course of attentional object selection processes in visual search tasks where targets are defined by a combination of features from the same dimension, we measured the N2pc component as an electrophysiological marker of attentional object selection during colour/colour conjunction search. In Experiment 1, participants searched for targets defined by a combination of two colours, while ignoring distractor objects that matched only one of these colours. Reliable N2pc com...

  12. Selective attention to task-irrelevant emotional distractors is unaffected by the perceptual load associated with a foreground task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hindi Attar, Catherine; Müller, Matthias M

    2012-01-01

    A number of studies have shown that emotionally arousing stimuli are preferentially processed in the human brain. Whether or not this preference persists under increased perceptual load associated with a task at hand remains an open question. Here we manipulated two possible determinants of the attentional selection process, perceptual load associated with a foreground task and the emotional valence of concurrently presented task-irrelevant distractors. As a direct measure of sustained attentional resource allocation in early visual cortex we used steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) elicited by distinct flicker frequencies of task and distractor stimuli. Subjects either performed a detection (low load) or discrimination (high load) task at a centrally presented symbol stream that flickered at 8.6 Hz while task-irrelevant neutral or unpleasant pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) flickered at a frequency of 12 Hz in the background of the stream. As reflected in target detection rates and SSVEP amplitudes to both task and distractor stimuli, unpleasant relative to neutral background pictures more strongly withdrew processing resources from the foreground task. Importantly, this finding was unaffected by the factor 'load' which turned out to be a weak modulator of attentional processing in human visual cortex.

  13. Selective attention to task-irrelevant emotional distractors is unaffected by the perceptual load associated with a foreground task.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Catherine Hindi Attar

    Full Text Available A number of studies have shown that emotionally arousing stimuli are preferentially processed in the human brain. Whether or not this preference persists under increased perceptual load associated with a task at hand remains an open question. Here we manipulated two possible determinants of the attentional selection process, perceptual load associated with a foreground task and the emotional valence of concurrently presented task-irrelevant distractors. As a direct measure of sustained attentional resource allocation in early visual cortex we used steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs elicited by distinct flicker frequencies of task and distractor stimuli. Subjects either performed a detection (low load or discrimination (high load task at a centrally presented symbol stream that flickered at 8.6 Hz while task-irrelevant neutral or unpleasant pictures from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS flickered at a frequency of 12 Hz in the background of the stream. As reflected in target detection rates and SSVEP amplitudes to both task and distractor stimuli, unpleasant relative to neutral background pictures more strongly withdrew processing resources from the foreground task. Importantly, this finding was unaffected by the factor 'load' which turned out to be a weak modulator of attentional processing in human visual cortex.

  14. Demographic Variables and Selective, Sustained Attention and Planning through Cognitive Tasks among Healthy Adults

    OpenAIRE

    Afsaneh Zarghi; Zali; A; Tehranidost; M; Mohammad Reza Zarindast; Ashrafi; F; Doroodgar; Khodadadi

    2011-01-01

    Introduction: Cognitive tasks are considered to be applicable and appropriate in assessing cognitive domains. The purpose of our study is to determine the relationship existence between variables of age, sex and education with selective, sustained attention and planning abilities by means of computerized cognitive tasks among healthy adults. Methods: A cross-sectional study was implemented during 6 months from June to November, 2010 on 84 healthy adults (42 male and 42 female). The whole part...

  15. Sex differences in the Simon task help to interpret sex differences in selective attention

    OpenAIRE

    Stoet, Gijsbert

    2016-01-01

    In the last decade, a number of studies have reported sex differences in selective attention, but a unified explanation for these effects is still missing. This study aims to better understand these differences and put them in an evolutionary psychological context. 418 adult participants performed a computer-based Simon task, in which they responded to the direction of a left or right pointing arrow appearing left or right from a fixation point. Women were more strongly influenced by task-irr...

  16. The control of attentional target selection in a colour/colour conjunction task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berggren, Nick; Eimer, Martin

    2016-11-01

    To investigate the time course of attentional object selection processes in visual search tasks where targets are defined by a combination of features from the same dimension, we measured the N2pc component as an electrophysiological marker of attentional object selection during colour/colour conjunction search. In Experiment 1, participants searched for targets defined by a combination of two colours, while ignoring distractor objects that matched only one of these colours. Reliable N2pc components were triggered by targets and also by partially matching distractors, even when these distractors were accompanied by a target in the same display. The target N2pc was initially equal in size to the sum of the two N2pc components to the two different types of partially matching distractors and became superadditive from approximately 250 ms after search display onset. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the superadditivity of the target N2pc was not due to a selective disengagement of attention from task-irrelevant partially matching distractors. These results indicate that attention was initially deployed separately and in parallel to all target-matching colours, before attentional allocation processes became sensitive to the presence of both matching colours within the same object. They suggest that attention can be controlled simultaneously and independently by multiple features from the same dimension and that feature-guided attentional selection processes operate in parallel for different target-matching objects in the visual field.

  17. Interference and Inhibition in Tasks of Selective Attention by Persons with and without Mental Retardation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Merrill, Edward C.

    2006-01-01

    Persons with mental retardation often exhibit greater interference in visual selective attention tasks than do persons matched with them on CA. My goal here was to evaluate whether differences in distractor interference between persons with and without mental retardation may be related to differences in negative priming. Fifteen participants with…

  18. Deficits of spatial and task-related attentional selection in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Redel, P; Bublak, P; Sorg, C; Kurz, A; Förstl, H; Müller, H J; Schneider, W X; Perneczky, R; Finke, K

    2012-01-01

    Visual selective attention was assessed with a partial-report task in patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and healthy elderly controls. Based on Bundesen's "theory of visual attention" (TVA), two parameters were derived: top-down control of attentional selection, representing task-related attentional weighting for prioritizing relevant visual objects, and spatial distribution of attentional weights across the left and the right hemifield. Compared with controls, MCI patients showed significantly reduced top-down controlled selection, which was further deteriorated in AD subjects. Moreover, attentional weighting was significantly unbalanced across hemifields in MCI and tended to be more lateralized in AD. Across MCI and AD patients, carriers of the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele (ApoE4) displayed a leftward spatial bias, which was the more pronounced the younger the ApoE4-positive patients and the earlier disease onset. These results indicate that impaired top-down control may be linked to early dysfunction of fronto-parietal networks. An early temporo-parietal interhemispheric asymmetry might cause a pathological spatial bias which is associated with ApoE4 genotype and may therefore function as early cognitive marker of upcoming AD. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  19. Task switching in video game players: Benefits of selective attention but not resistance to proactive interference.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karle, James W; Watter, Scott; Shedden, Judith M

    2010-05-01

    Research into the perceptual and cognitive effects of playing video games is an area of increasing interest for many investigators. Over the past decade, expert video game players (VGPs) have been shown to display superior performance compared to non-video game players (nVGPs) on a range of visuospatial and attentional tasks. A benefit of video game expertise has recently been shown for task switching, suggesting that VGPs also have superior cognitive control abilities compared to nVGPs. In two experiments, we examined which aspects of task switching performance this VGP benefit may be localized to. With minimal trial-to-trial interference from minimally overlapping task set rules, VGPs demonstrated a task switching benefit compared to nVGPs. However, this benefit disappeared when proactive interference between tasks was increased, with substantial stimulus and response overlap in task set rules. We suggest that VGPs have no generalized benefit in task switching-related cognitive control processes compared to nVGPs, with switch cost reductions due instead to a specific benefit in controlling selective attention. Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Contributions of Sensory Coding and Attentional Control to Individual Differences in Performance in Spatial Auditory Selective Attention Tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dai, Lengshi; Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara G

    2016-01-01

    Listeners with normal hearing thresholds (NHTs) differ in their ability to steer attention to whatever sound source is important. This ability depends on top-down executive control, which modulates the sensory representation of sound in the cortex. Yet, this sensory representation also depends on the coding fidelity of the peripheral auditory system. Both of these factors may thus contribute to the individual differences in performance. We designed a selective auditory attention paradigm in which we could simultaneously measure envelope following responses (EFRs, reflecting peripheral coding), onset event-related potentials (ERPs) from the scalp (reflecting cortical responses to sound) and behavioral scores. We performed two experiments that varied stimulus conditions to alter the degree to which performance might be limited due to fine stimulus details vs. due to control of attentional focus. Consistent with past work, in both experiments we find that attention strongly modulates cortical ERPs. Importantly, in Experiment I, where coding fidelity limits the task, individual behavioral performance correlates with subcortical coding strength (derived by computing how the EFR is degraded for fully masked tones compared to partially masked tones); however, in this experiment, the effects of attention on cortical ERPs were unrelated to individual subject performance. In contrast, in Experiment II, where sensory cues for segregation are robust (and thus less of a limiting factor on task performance), inter-subject behavioral differences correlate with subcortical coding strength. In addition, after factoring out the influence of subcortical coding strength, behavioral differences are also correlated with the strength of attentional modulation of ERPs. These results support the hypothesis that behavioral abilities amongst listeners with NHTs can arise due to both subcortical coding differences and differences in attentional control, depending on stimulus characteristics

  1. Contributions of sensory coding and attentional control to individual differences in performance in spatial auditory selective attention tasks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lengshi Dai

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Listeners with normal hearing thresholds differ in their ability to steer attention to whatever sound source is important. This ability depends on top-down executive control, which modulates the sensory representation of sound in cortex. Yet, this sensory representation also depends on the coding fidelity of the peripheral auditory system. Both of these factors may thus contribute to the individual differences in performance. We designed a selective auditory attention paradigm in which we could simultaneously measure envelope following responses (EFRs, reflecting peripheral coding, onset event-related potentials from the scalp (ERPs, reflecting cortical responses to sound, and behavioral scores. We performed two experiments that varied stimulus conditions to alter the degree to which performance might be limited due to fine stimulus details vs. due to control of attentional focus. Consistent with past work, in both experiments we find that attention strongly modulates cortical ERPs. Importantly, in Experiment I, where coding fidelity limits the task, individual behavioral performance correlates with subcortical coding strength (derived by computing how the EFR is degraded for fully masked tones compared to partially masked tones; however, in this experiment, the effects of attention on cortical ERPs were unrelated to individual subject performance. In contrast, in Experiment II, where sensory cues for segregation are robust (and thus less of a limiting factor on task performance, inter-subject behavioral differences correlate with subcortical coding strength. In addition, after factoring out the influence of subcortical coding strength, behavioral differences are also correlated with the strength of attentional modulation of ERPs. These results support the hypothesis that behavioral abilities amongst listeners with normal hearing thresholds can arise due to both subcortical coding differences and differences in attentional control, depending on

  2. Spatiotemporal oscillatory dynamics of visual selective attention during a flanker task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDermott, Timothy J; Wiesman, Alex I; Proskovec, Amy L; Heinrichs-Graham, Elizabeth; Wilson, Tony W

    2017-08-01

    The flanker task is a test of visual selective attention that has been widely used to probe error monitoring, response conflict, and related constructs. However, to date, few studies have focused on the selective attention component of this task and imaged the underlying oscillatory dynamics serving task performance. In this study, 21 healthy adults successfully completed an arrow-based version of the Eriksen flanker task during magnetoencephalography (MEG). All MEG data were pre-processed and transformed into the time-frequency domain. Significant oscillatory brain responses were imaged using a beamforming approach, and voxel time series were extracted from the peak responses to identify the temporal dynamics. Across both congruent and incongruent flanker conditions, our results indicated robust decreases in alpha (9-12Hz) activity in medial and lateral occipital regions, bilateral parietal cortices, and cerebellar areas during task performance. In parallel, increases in theta (3-7Hz) oscillatory activity were detected in dorsal and ventral frontal regions, and the anterior cingulate. As per conditional effects, stronger alpha responses (i.e., greater desynchronization) were observed in parietal, occipital, and cerebellar cortices during incongruent relative to congruent trials, whereas the opposite pattern emerged for theta responses (i.e., synchronization) in the anterior cingulate, left dorsolateral prefrontal, and ventral prefrontal cortices. Interestingly, the peak latency of theta responses in these latter brain regions was significantly correlated with reaction time, and may partially explain the amplitude difference observed between congruent and incongruent trials. Lastly, whole-brain exploratory analyses implicated the frontal eye fields, right temporoparietal junction, and premotor cortices. These findings suggest that regions of both the dorsal and ventral attention networks contribute to visual selective attention processes during incongruent trials

  3. The relationship between bilingualism and selective attention in young adults: Evidence from an ambiguous figures task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chung-Fat-Yim, Ashley; Sorge, Geoff B; Bialystok, Ellen

    2017-03-01

    Previous research has shown that bilinguals outperform monolinguals on a variety of tasks that have been described as involving executive functioning, but the precise mechanism for those effects or a clear definition for "executive function" is unknown. This uncertainty has led to a number of studies for which no performance difference between monolingual and bilingual adults has been detected. One approach to clarifying these issues comes from research with children showing that bilinguals were more able than their monolingual peers to perceive both interpretations of an ambiguous figure, an ability that is more tied to a conception of selective attention than to specific components of executive function. The present study extends this notion to adults by assessing their ability to see the alternative image in an ambiguous figure. Bilinguals performed this task more efficiently than monolinguals by requiring fewer cues to identify the second image. This finding has implications for the role of selective attention in performance differences between monolinguals and bilinguals.

  4. Demographic Variables and Selective, Sustained Attention and Planning through Cognitive Tasks among Healthy Adults

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Afsaneh Zarghi

    2011-04-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: Cognitive tasks are considered to be applicable and appropriate in assessing cognitive domains. The purpose of our study is to determine the relationship existence between variables of age, sex and education with selective, sustained attention and planning abilities by means of computerized cognitive tasks among healthy adults. Methods: A cross-sectional study was implemented during 6 months from June to November, 2010 on 84 healthy adults (42 male and 42 female. The whole participants performed computerized CPT, STROOP and TOL tests after being content and trained. Results: The obtained data indicate that there is a significant correlation coefficient between age, sex and education variables (p<0.05. Discussion: The above-mentioned tests can be used to assess selective, sustained attention and planning.

  5. Feature-selective Attention in Frontoparietal Cortex: Multivoxel Codes Adjust to Prioritize Task-relevant Information.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Jade; Rich, Anina N; Williams, Mark A; Woolgar, Alexandra

    2017-02-01

    Human cognition is characterized by astounding flexibility, enabling us to select appropriate information according to the objectives of our current task. A circuit of frontal and parietal brain regions, often referred to as the frontoparietal attention network or multiple-demand (MD) regions, are believed to play a fundamental role in this flexibility. There is evidence that these regions dynamically adjust their responses to selectively process information that is currently relevant for behavior, as proposed by the "adaptive coding hypothesis" [Duncan, J. An adaptive coding model of neural function in prefrontal cortex. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2, 820-829, 2001]. Could this provide a neural mechanism for feature-selective attention, the process by which we preferentially process one feature of a stimulus over another? We used multivariate pattern analysis of fMRI data during a perceptually challenging categorization task to investigate whether the representation of visual object features in the MD regions flexibly adjusts according to task relevance. Participants were trained to categorize visually similar novel objects along two orthogonal stimulus dimensions (length/orientation) and performed short alternating blocks in which only one of these dimensions was relevant. We found that multivoxel patterns of activation in the MD regions encoded the task-relevant distinctions more strongly than the task-irrelevant distinctions: The MD regions discriminated between stimuli of different lengths when length was relevant and between the same objects according to orientation when orientation was relevant. The data suggest a flexible neural system that adjusts its representation of visual objects to preferentially encode stimulus features that are currently relevant for behavior, providing a neural mechanism for feature-selective attention.

  6. The director task: A test of Theory-of-Mind use or selective attention?

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    Rubio-Fernández, Paula

    2017-08-01

    Over two decades, the director task has increasingly been employed as a test of the use of Theory of Mind in communication, first in psycholinguistics and more recently in social cognition research. A new version of this task was designed to test two independent hypotheses. First, optimal performance in the director task, as established by the standard metrics of interference, is possible by using selective attention alone, and not necessarily Theory of Mind. Second, pragmatic measures of Theory-of-Mind use can reveal that people actively represent the director's mental states, contrary to recent claims that they only use domain-general cognitive processes to perform this task. The results of this study support both hypotheses and provide a new interactive paradigm to reliably test Theory-of-Mind use in referential communication.

  7. Attention capture without awareness in a non-spatial selection task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oriet, Chris; Pandey, Mamata; Kawahara, Jun-Ichiro

    2017-02-01

    Distractors presented prior to a critical target in a rapid sequence of visually-presented items induce a lag-dependent deficit in target identification, particularly when the distractor shares a task-relevant feature of the target. Presumably, such capture of central attention is important for bringing a target into awareness. The results of the present investigation suggest that greater capture of attention by a distractor is not accompanied by greater awareness of it. Moreover, awareness tends to be limited to superficial characteristics of the target such as colour. The findings are interpreted within the context of a model that assumes sudden increases in arousal trigger selection of information for consolidation in working memory. In this conceptualization, prolonged analysis of distractor items sharing task-relevant features leads to larger target identification deficits (i.e., greater capture) but no increase in awareness. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Concurrent deployment of visual attention and response selection bottleneck in a dual-task: Electrophysiological and behavioural evidence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reimer, Christina B; Strobach, Tilo; Schubert, Torsten

    2017-12-01

    Visual attention and response selection are limited in capacity. Here, we investigated whether visual attention requires the same bottleneck mechanism as response selection in a dual-task of the psychological refractory period (PRP) paradigm. The dual-task consisted of an auditory two-choice discrimination Task 1 and a conjunction search Task 2, which were presented at variable temporal intervals (stimulus onset asynchrony, SOA). In conjunction search, visual attention is required to select items and to bind their features resulting in a serial search process around the items in the search display (i.e., set size). We measured the reaction time of the visual search task (RT2) and the N2pc, an event-related potential (ERP), which reflects lateralized visual attention processes. If the response selection processes in Task 1 influence the visual attention processes in Task 2, N2pc latency and amplitude would be delayed and attenuated at short SOA compared to long SOA. The results, however, showed that latency and amplitude were independent of SOA, indicating that visual attention was concurrently deployed to response selection. Moreover, the RT2 analysis revealed an underadditive interaction of SOA and set size. We concluded that visual attention does not require the same bottleneck mechanism as response selection in dual-tasks.

  9. Does attentional selectivity in the flanker task improve discretely or gradually?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ronald eHübner

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available An important question is whether attentional selectivity improves discretely or continuously during stimulus processing. In a recent study, Hübner, et al. (2010 found that the discrete DSTP model accounted better for flanker-task data than various continuous improvement models. However, in a subsequent study, White, et al. (2011 introduced the continuous SSP model and showed that it was superior to the DSTP model. From this result they concluded that attentional selectivity improves continuously rather than discretely. Because different stimuli and procedures were used in these two studies, though, we questioned that the superiority of the SSP model holds generally. Therefore, we fit the SSP model to Hübner et al.’s data and found that the DSTP model was again superior. A series of four experiments revealed that model superiority depends on the response-stimulus interval (RSI. Together, our results demonstrate that methodological details can be crucial for model selection, and that further comparisons between the models are needed before it can be decided whether attentional selectivity improves continuously or discretely.

  10. Sex differences in the Simon task help to interpret sex differences in selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoet, Gijsbert

    2017-05-01

    In the last decade, a number of studies have reported sex differences in selective attention, but a unified explanation for these effects is still missing. This study aims to better understand these differences and put them in an evolutionary psychological context. 418 adult participants performed a computer-based Simon task, in which they responded to the direction of a left or right pointing arrow appearing left or right from a fixation point. Women were more strongly influenced by task-irrelevant spatial information than men (i.e., the Simon effect was larger in women, Cohen's d = 0.39). Further, the analysis of sex differences in behavioral adjustment to errors revealed that women slow down more than men following mistakes (d = 0.53). Based on the combined results of previous studies and the current data, it is proposed that sex differences in selective attention are caused by underlying sex differences in core abilities, such as spatial or verbal cognition.

  11. Impaired distractor inhibition on a selective attention task in unmedicated, depressed subjects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacQueen, G M; Tipper, S P; Young, L T; Joffe, R T; Levitt, A J

    2000-05-01

    Impaired distractor inhibition may contribute to the selective attention deficits observed in depressed patients, but studies to date have not tested the distractor inhibition theory against the possibility that processes such as transient memory review processes may account for the observed deficits. A negative priming paradigm can dissociate inhibition from such a potentially confounding process called object review. The negative priming task also isolates features of the distractor such as colour and location for independent examination. A computerized negative priming task was used in which colour, identification and location features of a stimulus and distractor were systematically manipulated across successive prime and probe trials. Thirty-two unmedicated subjects with DSM-IV diagnoses of non-psychotic unipolar depression were compared with 32 age, sex and IQ matched controls. Depressed subjects had reduced levels of negative priming for conditions where the colour feature of the stimulus was repeated across prime and probe trials but not when identity or location was the repeated feature. When both the colour and location feature were the repeated feature across trials, facilitation in response was apparent. The pattern of results supports studies that found reduced distractor inhibition in depressed subjects, and suggests that object review is intact in these subjects. Greater impairment in negative priming for colour versus location suggests that subjects may have greater impairment in the visual stream associated with processing colour features.

  12. The comparison of Selective Attention Deficit in Dual Task Performance in Elderly Alzheimer Patients and Healthy Elderly Individuals

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. m. Azadian

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available The purpose of this study was to compare selective attention deficit in elderly Alzheimer patients and healthy elderly individuals using the dual task. Therefore, 23 subjects (11 females and 12 males age 62 to 81 years; 13 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD and 10 healthy elderly subjects (EHI with normal cognitive function participated in this study. people with Alzheimer's disease. healthy people was selected through some neurologist identified Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire (SPMSQ. After obtaining the average number of correct counting of months of the year in both simple and difficult cognitive task the overall error (E or Root Mean Squared Error (RMSE, and variable error (VE were calculated for the tracking task. Then each person performed 10 tasks simultaneously (under Dual-task in both simple and difficult mode. Analysis of variance in cognitive tasks showed that there was a significant interaction between task difficulty and risk of AD (p0.05. In other words, at dual conditions of tracking task, accuracy and consistency of both groups was equally reduced, which was most prominent in difficult conditions. This decrease indicates increased interference at response level due to defects in the mechanisms of selective attention in dual cognitive and tracking tasks and both groups.

  13. Use of Multichannel Near Infrared Spectroscopy to Study Relationships Between Brain Regions and Neurocognitive Tasks of Selective/Divided Attention and 2-Back Working Memory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tomita, Nozomi; Imai, Shoji; Kanayama, Yusuke; Kawashima, Issaku; Kumano, Hiroaki

    2017-06-01

    While dichotic listening (DL) was originally intended to measure bottom-up selective attention, it has also become a tool for measuring top-down selective attention. This study investigated the brain regions related to top-down selective and divided attention DL tasks and a 2-back task using alphanumeric and Japanese numeric sounds. Thirty-six healthy participants underwent near-infrared spectroscopy scanning while performing a top-down selective attentional DL task, a top-down divided attentional DL task, and a 2-back task. Pearson's correlations were calculated to show relationships between oxy-Hb concentration in each brain region and the score of each cognitive task. Different brain regions were activated during the DL and 2-back tasks. Brain regions activated in the top-down selective attention DL task were the left inferior prefrontal gyrus and left pars opercularis. The left temporopolar area was activated in the top-down divided attention DL task, and the left frontopolar area and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were activated in the 2-back task. As further evidence for the finding that each task measured different cognitive and brain area functions, neither the percentages of correct answers for the three tasks nor the response times for the selective attentional task and the divided attentional task were correlated to one another. Thus, the DL and 2-back tasks used in this study can assess multiple areas of cognitive, brain-related dysfunction to explore their relationship to different psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.

  14. A few of my favorite things: circumscribed interests in autism are not accompanied by increased attentional salience on a personalized selective attention task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parsons, Owen E; Bayliss, Andrew P; Remington, Anna

    2017-01-01

    Autistic individuals commonly show circumscribed or "special" interests: areas of obsessive interest in a specific category. The present study investigated what impact these interests have on attention, an aspect of autistic cognition often reported as altered. In neurotypical individuals, interest and expertise have been shown to result in an automatic attentional priority for related items. Here, we examine whether this change in salience is also seen in autism. Adolescents and young adults with and without autism performed a personalized selective attention task assessing the level of attentional priority afforded to images related to the participant's specific interests. In addition, participants performed a similar task with generic images in order to isolate any effects of interest and expertise. Crucially, all autistic and non-autistic individuals recruited for this study held a strong passion or interest. As such, any differences in attention could not be solely attributed to differing prevalence of interests in the two groups. In both tasks, participants were asked to perform a central target-detection task while ignoring irrelevant distractors (related or unrelated to their interests). The level of distractor interference under various task conditions was taken as an indication of attentional priority. Neurotypical individuals showed the predicted attentional priority for the circumscribed interest images but not generic items, reflecting the impact of their interest and expertise. Contrary to predictions, autistic individuals did not show this priority: processing the interest-related stimuli only when task demands were low. Attention to images unrelated to circumscribed interests was equivalent in the two groups. These results suggest that despite autistic individuals holding an intense interest in a particular class of stimuli, there may be a reduced impact of this prior experience and expertise on attentional processing. The implications of this

  15. More insight into the interplay of response selection and visual attention in dual-tasks: masked visual search and response selection are performed in parallel.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reimer, Christina B; Schubert, Torsten

    2017-09-15

    Both response selection and visual attention are limited in capacity. According to the central bottleneck model, the response selection processes of two tasks in a dual-task situation are performed sequentially. In conjunction search, visual attention is required to select the items and to bind their features (e.g., color and form), which results in a serial search process. Search time increases as items are added to the search display (i.e., set size effect). When the search display is masked, visual attention deployment is restricted to a brief period of time and target detection decreases as a function of set size. Here, we investigated whether response selection and visual attention (i.e., feature binding) rely on a common or on distinct capacity limitations. In four dual-task experiments, participants completed an auditory Task 1 and a conjunction search Task 2 that were presented with an experimentally modulated temporal interval between them (Stimulus Onset Asynchrony, SOA). In Experiment 1, Task 1 was a two-choice discrimination task and the conjunction search display was not masked. In Experiment 2, the response selection difficulty in Task 1 was increased to a four-choice discrimination and the search task was the same as in Experiment 1. We applied the locus-of-slack method in both experiments to analyze conjunction search time, that is, we compared the set size effects across SOAs. Similar set size effects across SOAs (i.e., additive effects of SOA and set size) would indicate sequential processing of response selection and visual attention. However, a significantly smaller set size effect at short SOA compared to long SOA (i.e., underadditive interaction of SOA and set size) would indicate parallel processing of response selection and visual attention. In both experiments, we found underadditive interactions of SOA and set size. In Experiments 3 and 4, the conjunction search display in Task 2 was masked. Task 1 was the same as in Experiments 1 and 2

  16. Human performance across decision making, selective attention, and working memory tasks: Experimental data and computer simulations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Stocco

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available This article describes the data analyzed in the paper “Individual differences in the Simon effect are underpinned by differences in the competitive dynamics in the basal ganglia: An experimental verification and a computational model” (Stocco et al., 2017 [1]. The data includes behavioral results from participants performing three cognitive tasks (Probabilistic Stimulus Selection (Frank et al., 2004 [2], Simon task (Craft and Simon, 1970 [3], and Automated Operation Span (Unsworth et al., 2005 [4], as well as simulationed traces generated by a computational neurocognitive model that accounts for individual variations in human performance across the tasks. The experimental data encompasses individual data files (in both preprocessed and native output format as well as group-level summary files. The simulation data includes the entire model code, the results of a full-grid search of the model's parameter space, and the code used to partition the model space and parallelize the simulations. Finally, the repository includes the R scripts used to carry out the statistical analyses reported in the original paper.

  17. Human performance across decision making, selective attention, and working memory tasks: Experimental data and computer simulations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stocco, Andrea; Yamasaki, Brianna L; Prat, Chantel S

    2018-04-01

    This article describes the data analyzed in the paper "Individual differences in the Simon effect are underpinned by differences in the competitive dynamics in the basal ganglia: An experimental verification and a computational model" (Stocco et al., 2017) [1]. The data includes behavioral results from participants performing three cognitive tasks (Probabilistic Stimulus Selection (Frank et al., 2004) [2], Simon task (Craft and Simon, 1970) [3], and Automated Operation Span (Unsworth et al., 2005) [4]), as well as simulationed traces generated by a computational neurocognitive model that accounts for individual variations in human performance across the tasks. The experimental data encompasses individual data files (in both preprocessed and native output format) as well as group-level summary files. The simulation data includes the entire model code, the results of a full-grid search of the model's parameter space, and the code used to partition the model space and parallelize the simulations. Finally, the repository includes the R scripts used to carry out the statistical analyses reported in the original paper.

  18. Selective attention and avoidance on a pictorial cueing task during stress in clinically anxious and depressed participants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ellenbogen, Mark A; Schwartzman, Alex E

    2009-02-01

    Although it is well established that attentional biases exist in anxious populations, the specific components of visual orienting towards and away from emotional stimuli are not well delineated. The present study was designed to examine these processes. We used a modified spatial cueing task to assess the speed of engagement and disengagement from supraliminal and masked pictorial cues depicting threat, dysphoria, or neutral content in 36 clinically anxious, 41 depressed and 41 control participants. Participants were randomly assigned to a stress or neutral condition. During stress, anxious participants were slow to disengage from masked left hemifield pictures depicting threat or dysphoria, but were quick to disengage from supraliminal threat pictures. Information processing in anxious participants during stress was characterized by early selective attention of emotional stimuli, occurring prior to full conscious awareness, followed by effortful avoidance of threat. Depressed participants were distinct from the anxious group, displaying selective attention for stimuli depicting dysphoria, but not threat, during the neutral condition. In sum, attentional biases in clinical populations are associated with difficulties in the disengagement component of visual orienting. Further, a vigilant-avoidant pattern of attentional bias may represent a strategic attempt to compensate for the early activation of a fear response.

  19. Classification effects of real and imaginary movement selective attention tasks on a P300-based brain-computer interface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salvaris, Mathew; Sepulveda, Francisco

    2010-10-01

    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) rely on various electroencephalography methodologies that allow the user to convey their desired control to the machine. Common approaches include the use of event-related potentials (ERPs) such as the P300 and modulation of the beta and mu rhythms. All of these methods have their benefits and drawbacks. In this paper, three different selective attention tasks were tested in conjunction with a P300-based protocol (i.e. the standard counting of target stimuli as well as the conduction of real and imaginary movements in sync with the target stimuli). The three tasks were performed by a total of 10 participants, with the majority (7 out of 10) of the participants having never before participated in imaginary movement BCI experiments. Channels and methods used were optimized for the P300 ERP and no sensory-motor rhythms were explicitly used. The classifier used was a simple Fisher's linear discriminant. Results were encouraging, showing that on average the imaginary movement achieved a P300 versus No-P300 classification accuracy of 84.53%. In comparison, mental counting, the standard selective attention task used in previous studies, achieved 78.9% and real movement 90.3%. Furthermore, multiple trial classification results were recorded and compared, with real movement reaching 99.5% accuracy after four trials (12.8 s), imaginary movement reaching 99.5% accuracy after five trials (16 s) and counting reaching 98.2% accuracy after ten trials (32 s).

  20. Chronic cannabis use and ERP correlates of visual selective attention during the performance of a flanker go/nogo task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicholls, Clare; Bruno, Raimondo; Matthews, Allison

    2015-09-01

    The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between chronic cannabis use and visual selective attention by examining event-related potentials (ERPs) during the performance of a flanker go/nogo task. Male participants were 15 chronic cannabis users (minimum two years use, at least once per week) and 15 drug naive controls. Cannabis users showed longer reaction times compared to controls with equivalent accuracy. Cannabis users also showed a reduction in the N2 'nogo effect' at frontal sites, particularly for incongruent stimuli, and particularly in the right hemisphere. This suggests differences between chronic cannabis users and controls in terms of inhibitory processing within the executive control network, and may implicate the right inferior frontal cortex. There was also preliminary evidence for differences in early selective attention, with controls but not cannabis users showing modulation of N1 amplitude by flanker congruency. Further investigation is required to examine the potential reversibility of these residual effects after long-term abstinence and to examine the role of early selective attention mechanisms in more detail. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Influence of acute high-intensity aerobic interval exercise bout on selective attention and short-term memory tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alves, Christiano R R; Tessaro, Victor H; Teixeira, Luis A C; Murakava, Karina; Roschel, Hamilton; Gualano, Bruno; Takito, Monica Y

    2014-02-01

    Acute moderate intensity continuous aerobic exercise can improve specific cognitive functions, such as short-term memory and selective attention. Moreover, high-intensity interval training (HIT) has been recently proposed as a time-efficient alternative to traditional cardiorespiratory exercise. However, considering previous speculations that the exercise intensity affects cognition in a U-shaped fashion, it was hypothesized that a HIT session may impair cognitive performance. Therefore, this study assessed the effects of an acute HIT session on selective attention and short-term memory tasks. 22 healthy middle-aged individuals (M age = 53.7 yr.) engaged in both (1) a HIT session, 10 1 min. cycling bouts at the intensity corresponding to 80% of the reserve heart rate interspersed by 1 min. active pauses cycling at 60% of the reserve heart rate and (2) a control session, consisting of an active condition with low-intensity active stretching exercise. Before and after each experimental session, cognitive performance was assessed by the Victoria Version of the Stroop test (a selective attention test) and the Digit Span test (a short-term memory test). Following the HIT session, the time to complete the Stroop "Color word" test was significantly lower when compared with that of the control session. The performances in the other subtasks of the Stroop test as well as in the Digit Span test were not significantly different. A HIT session can improve cognitive function.

  2. Neural signals of selective attention are modulated by subjective preferences and buying decisions in a virtual shopping task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goto, Nobuhiko; Mushtaq, Faisal; Shee, Dexter; Lim, Xue Li; Mortazavi, Matin; Watabe, Motoki; Schaefer, Alexandre

    2017-09-01

    We investigated whether well-known neural markers of selective attention to motivationally-relevant stimuli were modulated by variations in subjective preference towards consumer goods in a virtual shopping task. Specifically, participants viewed and rated pictures of various goods on the extent to which they wanted each item, which they could potentially purchase afterwards. Using the event-related potentials (ERP) method, we found that variations in subjective preferences for consumer goods strongly modulated positive slow waves (PSW) from 800 to 3000 milliseconds after stimulus onset. We also found that subjective preferences modulated the N200 and the late positive potential (LPP). In addition, we found that both PSW and LPP were modulated by subsequent buying decisions. Overall, these findings show that well-known brain event-related potentials reflecting selective attention processes can reliably index preferences to consumer goods in a shopping environment. Based on a large body of previous research, we suggest that early ERPs (e.g. the N200) to consumer goods could be indicative of preferences driven by unconditional and automatic processes, whereas later ERPs such as the LPP and the PSW could reflect preferences built upon more elaborative and conscious cognitive processes. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. Selective Attention and Attention Switching: Towards a Unified Developmental Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanania, Rima; Smith, Linda B.

    2010-01-01

    We review and relate two literatures on the development of attention in children: one concerning flexible attention switching and the other concerning selective attention. The first is a growing literature on preschool children's performances in an attention-switching task indicating that children become more flexible in their attentional control…

  4. Neuro-Oscillatory Mechanisms of Intersensory Selective Attention and Task Switching in School-Aged Children, Adolescents and Young Adults

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murphy, Jeremy W.; Foxe, John J.; Molholm, Sophie

    2016-01-01

    The ability to attend to one among multiple sources of information is central to everyday functioning. Just as central is the ability to switch attention among competing inputs as the task at hand changes. Such processes develop surprisingly slowly, such that even into adolescence, we remain slower and more error prone at switching among tasks…

  5. Active listening impairs visual perception and selectivity: an ERP study of auditory dual-task costs on visual attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gherri, Elena; Eimer, Martin

    2011-04-01

    The ability to drive safely is disrupted by cell phone conversations, and this has been attributed to a diversion of attention from the visual environment. We employed behavioral and ERP measures to study whether the attentive processing of spoken messages is, in itself, sufficient to produce visual-attentional deficits. Participants searched for visual targets defined by a unique feature (Experiment 1) or feature conjunction (Experiment 2), and simultaneously listened to narrated text passages that had to be recalled later (encoding condition), or heard backward-played speech sounds that could be ignored (control condition). Responses to targets were slower in the encoding condition, and ERPs revealed that the visual processing of search arrays and the attentional selection of target stimuli were less efficient in the encoding relative to the control condition. Results demonstrate that the attentional processing of visual information is impaired when concurrent spoken messages are encoded and maintained, in line with cross-modal links in selective attention, but inconsistent with the view that attentional resources are modality-specific. The distraction of visual attention by active listening could contribute to the adverse effects of cell phone use on driving performance.

  6. Visuospatial selective attention in chickens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sridharan, Devarajan; Ramamurthy, Deepa L; Schwarz, Jason S; Knudsen, Eric I

    2014-05-13

    Voluntary control of attention promotes intelligent, adaptive behaviors by enabling the selective processing of information that is most relevant for making decisions. Despite extensive research on attention in primates, the capacity for selective attention in nonprimate species has never been quantified. Here we demonstrate selective attention in chickens by applying protocols that have been used to characterize visual spatial attention in primates. Chickens were trained to localize and report the vertical position of a target in the presence of task-relevant distracters. A spatial cue, the location of which varied across individual trials, indicated the horizontal, but not vertical, position of the upcoming target. Spatial cueing improved localization performance: accuracy (d') increased and reaction times decreased in a space-specific manner. Distracters severely impaired perceptual performance, and this impairment was greatly reduced by spatial cueing. Signal detection analysis with an "indecision" model demonstrated that spatial cueing significantly increased choice certainty in localizing targets. By contrast, error-aversion certainty (certainty of not making an error) remained essentially constant across cueing protocols, target contrasts, and individuals. The results show that chickens shift spatial attention rapidly and dynamically, following principles of stimulus selection that closely parallel those documented in primates. The findings suggest that the mechanisms that control attention have been conserved through evolution, and establish chickens--a highly visual species that is easily trained and amenable to cutting-edge experimental technologies--as an attractive model for linking behavior to neural mechanisms of selective attention.

  7. Selective Attention and Attention Switching: Toward a Unified Developmental Approach

    OpenAIRE

    Hanania, Rima; Smith, Linda B.

    2010-01-01

    We review and relate two literatures on the development of attention in children: one concerning flexible attention switching and the other concerning selective attention. The first is a growing literature on preschool children’s performances in an attention switching task indicating that children become more flexible in their attentional control during the preschool years. The second literature encompasses a large and robust set of phenomena for the same developmental period that indicate a ...

  8. Selective Impairment of Auditory Selective Attention under Concurrent Cognitive Load

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dittrich, Kerstin; Stahl, Christoph

    2012-01-01

    Load theory predicts that concurrent cognitive load impairs selective attention. For visual stimuli, it has been shown that this impairment can be selective: Distraction was specifically increased when the stimulus material used in the cognitive load task matches that of the selective attention task. Here, we report four experiments that…

  9. Fitts's law in a selective reaching task: the proximity-to-hand effect of action-centered attention revisited.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Welsh, Timothy N; Zbinden, Michele

    2009-01-01

    The "proximity-to-hand" effect refers to the finding that distractors between the home position and the target cause more interference in a selective reaching movement than distractors farther from the home position. Based largely on the proximity-to-hand effect, Tipper, Lortie, and Baylis (1992) proposed that attention is distributed in an action-centered framework such that the interference caused by a specific stimulus depends on the action. The current experiments sought to determine if there is an attentional preference for stimuli closer to home or for stimuli that activate more efficiently executed actions regardless of the location. Results supported the latter hypothesis in that the greatest interference was observed when the distractor activated an action with a lower index of difficulty than the target, even though that distractor was farther from home than the target. These findings indicate that the action context mediates the influence that nontarget stimuli have on the processing of target responses.

  10. Mental rotation impairs attention shifting and short-term memory encoding: neurophysiological evidence against the response-selection bottleneck model of dual-task performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pannebakker, Merel M; Jolicœur, Pierre; van Dam, Wessel O; Band, Guido P H; Ridderinkhof, K Richard; Hommel, Bernhard

    2011-09-01

    Dual tasks and their associated delays have often been used to examine the boundaries of processing in the brain. We used the dual-task procedure and recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate how mental rotation of a first stimulus (S1) influences the shifting of visual-spatial attention to a second stimulus (S2). Visual-spatial attention was monitored by using the N2pc component of the ERP. In addition, we examined the sustained posterior contralateral negativity (SPCN) believed to index the retention of information in visual short-term memory. We found modulations of both the N2pc and the SPCN, suggesting that engaging mechanisms of mental rotation impairs the deployment of visual-spatial attention and delays the passage of a representation of S2 into visual short-term memory. Both results suggest interactions between mental rotation and visual-spatial attention in capacity-limited processing mechanisms indicating that response selection is not pivotal in dual-task delays and all three processes are likely to share a common resource like executive control. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Attentional Lapses of Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Tasks of Sustained Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gmehlin, Dennis; Fuermaier, Anselm B M; Walther, Stephan; Tucha, Lara; Koerts, Janneke; Lange, Klaus W; Tucha, Oliver; Weisbrod, Matthias; Aschenbrenner, Steffen

    2016-06-01

    Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show attentional dysfunction such as distractibility and mind-wandering, especially in lengthy tasks. However, fundamentals of dysfunction are ambiguous and relationships of neuropsychological test parameters with self-report measures of ADHD symptoms are marginal. We hypothesize that basic deficits in sustaining attention explain more complex attentional dysfunction in persons with ADHD and relate to ADHD symptoms. Attentional function was analyzed by computing ex-Gaussian parameters for 3 time Blocks in a 20 min test of sustained alertness. Changes in performance across these blocks were analyzed by comparing adult persons with ADHD (n = 24) with healthy matched controls (n = 24) and correlated with neuropsychological measures of selective and divided attention as well as self-report measures of ADHD symptoms. We found a significantly steeper increase in the number of slow responses (ex-Gaussian parameter τ) in persons with ADHD with time on task in basic sustained alertness. They also performed significantly worse in tasks of sustained selective and divided attention. However, after controlling for an increase in τ during the alertness task, significant differences between groups disappeared for divided and partly selective attention. Increases in τ in the sustained alertness task correlated significantly with self-report measures of ADHD symptoms. Our results provide evidence that very basic deficits in sustaining attention in adults with ADHD are related to infrequent slow responses (=attentional lapses), with changes over time being relevant for more complex attentional function and experienced ADHD symptoms in everyday life. © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  12. Segregating Top-Down Selective Attention from Response Inhibition in a Spatial Cueing Go/NoGo Task: An ERP and Source Localization Study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hong, Xiangfei; Wang, Yao; Sun, Junfeng; Li, Chunbo; Tong, Shanbao

    2017-08-29

    Successfully inhibiting a prepotent response tendency requires the attentional detection of signals which cue response cancellation. Although neuroimaging studies have identified important roles of stimulus-driven processing in the attentional detection, the effects of top-down control were scarcely investigated. In this study, scalp EEG was recorded from thirty-two participants during a modified Go/NoGo task, in which a spatial-cueing approach was implemented to manipulate top-down selective attention. We observed classical event-related potential components, including N2 and P3, in the attended condition of response inhibition. While in the ignored condition of response inhibition, a smaller P3 was observed and N2 was absent. The correlation between P3 and CNV during the foreperiod suggested an inhibitory role of P3 in both conditions. Furthermore, source analysis suggested that P3 generation was mainly localized to the midcingulate cortex, and the attended condition showed increased activation relative to the ignored condition in several regions, including inferior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, precentral gyrus, insula and uncus, suggesting that these regions were involved in top-down attentional control rather than inhibitory processing. Taken together, by segregating electrophysiological correlates of top-down selective attention from those of response inhibition, our findings provide new insights in understanding the neural mechanisms of response inhibition.

  13. The effects of aging on postural control and selective attention when stepping down while performing a concurrent auditory response task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsang, William W N; Lam, Nazca K Y; Lau, Kit N L; Leung, Harry C H; Tsang, Crystal M S; Lu, Xi

    2013-12-01

    To investigate the effects of aging on postural control and cognitive performance in single- and dual-tasking. A cross-sectional comparative design was conducted in a university motion analysis laboratory. Young adults (n = 30; age 21.9 ± 2.4 years) and older adults (n = 30; age 71.9 ± 6.4 years) were recruited. Postural control after stepping down was measured with and without performing a concurrent auditory response task. Measurement included: (1) reaction time and (2) error rate in performing the cognitive task; (3) total sway path and (4) total sway area after stepping down. Our findings showed that the older adults had significantly longer reaction times and higher error rates than the younger subjects in both the single-tasking and dual-tasking conditions. The older adults had significantly longer reaction times and higher error rates when dual-tasking compared with single-tasking, but the younger adults did not. The older adults demonstrated significantly less total sway path, but larger total sway area in single-leg stance after stepping down than the young adults. The older adults showed no significant change in total sway path and area between the dual-tasking and when compared with single-tasking conditions, while the younger adults showed significant decreases in sway. Older adults prioritize postural control by sacrificing cognitive performance when faced with dual-tasking.

  14. Interactions between working memory and selective attention

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    2007-01-01

    Event-related potential (ERP) was used to examine the interactions between working memory and selective attention. We combined two unrelated tasks, one requiring working memory and the other selective attention, which were performed by some undergraduates. The ERP results revealed that both congruent and incongruent stimuli in the selective attention task evoked an N400 component, reaching the peak point at around 500 ms. The N400 evoked by incongruent stimuli was more negative than that of congruent, which indicated the difference of semantic N400. Furthermore, working memory load had a significant influence on the N400 evoked by selective attention task in parietal region. And working memory load showed difference in the ERPs of working memory retrieval in central and parietal regions. The ERPs of probe under high working memory load were more positive from 350 to 550 ms post-stimulus; however, stimulus type of selective attention had no influence on working memory retrieval. The present study shows that working memory does not play a major role in the selective attention, especially in ignoring distracter, but it influences the performance of the selective attention as the background. The congruency of target and distracter in the selective attention task does not influence the working memory retrieval.

  15. Rejection Positivity Predicts Trial-to-Trial Reaction Times in an Auditory Selective Attention Task: A Computational Analysis of Inhibitory Control

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sufen eChen

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available A series of computer simulations using variants of a formal model of attention (Melara & Algom, 2003 probed the role of rejection positivity (RP, a slow-wave electroencephalographic (EEG component, in the inhibitory control of distraction. Behavioral and EEG data were recorded as participants performed auditory selective attention tasks. Simulations that modulated processes of distractor inhibition accounted well for reaction-time (RT performance, whereas those that modulated target excitation did not. A model that incorporated RP from actual EEG recordings in estimating distractor inhibition was superior in predicting changes in RT as a function of distractor salience across conditions. A model that additionally incorporated momentary fluctuations in EEG as the source of trial-to-trial variation in performance precisely predicted individual RTs within each condition. The results lend support to the linking proposition that RP controls the speed of responding to targets through the inhibitory control of distractors.

  16. Selective attention and error processing in an illusory conjunction task - An event-related brain potential study

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wijers, AA; Boksem, MAS

    2005-01-01

    We recorded event-related potentials in an illusory conjunction task, in which subjects were cued on each trial to search for a particular colored letter in a subsequently presented test array, consisting of three different letters in three different colors. In a proportion of trials the target

  17. Stroop interference and disorders of selective attention

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kingma, A.; LaHeij, W.; Fasotti, L.; Eling, P.

    1996-01-01

    Fourteen patients with a right-hemisphere CVA and 8 patients with a left-hemisphere CVA were examined for selective attention deficits using a variant of the Stroop color-word task: the picture-word interference task. Experiments 1 and 2 first compared the performance of the two patient groups and a

  18. Brain activity associated with selective attention, divided attention and distraction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salo, Emma; Salmela, Viljami; Salmi, Juha; Numminen, Jussi; Alho, Kimmo

    2017-06-01

    Top-down controlled selective or divided attention to sounds and visual objects, as well as bottom-up triggered attention to auditory and visual distractors, has been widely investigated. However, no study has systematically compared brain activations related to all these types of attention. To this end, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in participants performing a tone pitch or a foveal grating orientation discrimination task, or both, distracted by novel sounds not sharing frequencies with the tones or by extrafoveal visual textures. To force focusing of attention to tones or gratings, or both, task difficulty was kept constantly high with an adaptive staircase method. A whole brain analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed fronto-parietal attention networks for both selective auditory and visual attention. A subsequent conjunction analysis indicated partial overlaps of these networks. However, like some previous studies, the present results also suggest segregation of prefrontal areas involved in the control of auditory and visual attention. The ANOVA also suggested, and another conjunction analysis confirmed, an additional activity enhancement in the left middle frontal gyrus related to divided attention supporting the role of this area in top-down integration of dual task performance. Distractors expectedly disrupted task performance. However, contrary to our expectations, activations specifically related to the distractors were found only in the auditory and visual cortices. This suggests gating of the distractors from further processing perhaps due to strictly focused attention in the current demanding discrimination tasks. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. The attention habit: how reward learning shapes attentional selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Brian A

    2016-04-01

    There is growing consensus that reward plays an important role in the control of attention. Until recently, reward was thought to influence attention indirectly by modulating task-specific motivation and its effects on voluntary control over selection. Such an account was consistent with the goal-directed (endogenous) versus stimulus-driven (exogenous) framework that had long dominated the field of attention research. Now, a different perspective is emerging. Demonstrations that previously reward-associated stimuli can automatically capture attention even when physically inconspicuous and task-irrelevant challenge previously held assumptions about attentional control. The idea that attentional selection can be value driven, reflecting a distinct and previously unrecognized control mechanism, has gained traction. Since these early demonstrations, the influence of reward learning on attention has rapidly become an area of intense investigation, sparking many new insights. The result is an emerging picture of how the reward system of the brain automatically biases information processing. Here, I review the progress that has been made in this area, synthesizing a wealth of recent evidence to provide an integrated, up-to-date account of value-driven attention and some of its broader implications. © 2015 New York Academy of Sciences.

  20. Modality-specificity of Selective Attention Networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stewart, Hannah J; Amitay, Sygal

    2015-01-01

    To establish the modality specificity and generality of selective attention networks. Forty-eight young adults completed a battery of four auditory and visual selective attention tests based upon the Attention Network framework: the visual and auditory Attention Network Tests (vANT, aANT), the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA), and the Test of Attention in Listening (TAiL). These provided independent measures for auditory and visual alerting, orienting, and conflict resolution networks. The measures were subjected to an exploratory factor analysis to assess underlying attention constructs. The analysis yielded a four-component solution. The first component comprised of a range of measures from the TEA and was labeled "general attention." The third component was labeled "auditory attention," as it only contained measures from the TAiL using pitch as the attended stimulus feature. The second and fourth components were labeled as "spatial orienting" and "spatial conflict," respectively-they were comprised of orienting and conflict resolution measures from the vANT, aANT, and TAiL attend-location task-all tasks based upon spatial judgments (e.g., the direction of a target arrow or sound location). These results do not support our a-priori hypothesis that attention networks are either modality specific or supramodal. Auditory attention separated into selectively attending to spatial and non-spatial features, with the auditory spatial attention loading onto the same factor as visual spatial attention, suggesting spatial attention is supramodal. However, since our study did not include a non-spatial measure of visual attention, further research will be required to ascertain whether non-spatial attention is modality-specific.

  1. Touchscreen Sustained Attention Task (SAT) for Rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bangasser, Debra A; Wicks, Brittany; Waxler, David E; Eck, Samantha R

    2017-09-15

    Sustained attention is the ability to monitor intermittent and unpredictable events over a prolonged period of time. This attentional process subserves other aspects of cognition and is disrupted in certain neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric, and neurodegenerative disorders. Thus, it is clinically important to identify mechanisms that impair and improve sustained attention. Such mechanisms are often first discovered using rodent models. Therefore, several behavior procedures for testing aspects of sustained attention have been developed for rodents. One, first described by McGaughy and Sarter (1995), called the sustained attention task (SAT), trains rats to distinguish between signal (i.e., brief light presentation) and non-signal trials. The signals are short and thus require careful attention to be perceived. Attentional demands can be increased further by introducing a distractor (e.g., flashing houselight). We have modified this task for touchscreen operant chambers, which are configured with a touchscreen on one wall that can present stimuli and record responses. Here we detail our protocol for SAT in touchscreen chambers. Additionally, we present standard measures of performance in male and female Sprague-Dawley rats. Comparable performance on this task in both sexes highlights its use for attention studies, especially as more researchers are including female rodents in their experimental design. Moreover, the easy implementation of SAT for the increasingly popular touchscreen chambers increases its utility.

  2. Decoding task-based attentional modulation during face categorization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chiu, Yu-Chin; Esterman, Michael; Han, Yuefeng; Rosen, Heather; Yantis, Steven

    2011-05-01

    Attention is a neurocognitive mechanism that selects task-relevant sensory or mnemonic information to achieve current behavioral goals. Attentional modulation of cortical activity has been observed when attention is directed to specific locations, features, or objects. However, little is known about how high-level categorization task set modulates perceptual representations. In the current study, observers categorized faces by gender (male vs. female) or race (Asian vs. White). Each face was perceptually ambiguous in both dimensions, such that categorization of one dimension demanded selective attention to task-relevant information within the face. We used multivoxel pattern classification to show that task-specific modulations evoke reliably distinct spatial patterns of activity within three face-selective cortical regions (right fusiform face area and bilateral occipital face areas). This result suggests that patterns of activity in these regions reflect not only stimulus-specific (i.e., faces vs. houses) responses but also task-specific (i.e., race vs. gender) attentional modulation. Furthermore, exploratory whole-brain multivoxel pattern classification (using a searchlight procedure) revealed a network of dorsal fronto-parietal regions (left middle frontal gyrus and left inferior and superior parietal lobule) that also exhibit distinct patterns for the two task sets, suggesting that these regions may represent abstract goals during high-level categorization tasks.

  3. Space-based visual attention: a marker of immature selective attention in toddlers?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rivière, James; Brisson, Julie

    2014-11-01

    Various studies suggested that attentional difficulties cause toddlers' failure in some spatial search tasks. However, attention is not a unitary construct and this study investigated two attentional mechanisms: location selection (space-based attention) and object selection (object-based attention). We investigated how toddlers' attention is distributed in the visual field during a manual search task for objects moving out of sight, namely the moving boxes task. Results show that 2.5-year-olds who failed this task allocated more attention to the location of the relevant object than to the object itself. These findings suggest that in some manual search tasks the primacy of space-based attention over object-based attention could be a marker of immature selective attention in toddlers. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  4. Selection of maintenance tasks

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Dean, B; Rombos, P [Wardrop (W.L.) and Associates Ltd., Winnipeg, MB (Canada)

    1995-10-01

    Two methodologies for maintenance task selection, Reliability Centre Maintenance (RCM) and Degradation Mode Analysis (DMA), are compared with regard to application in the nuclear industry and potential for application at CANDU nuclear power plants. RCM is the favoured one of the two methodologies. It is more thorough than DMA, is well supported within the US nuclear industry, and - with experience in application - is gaining cost effectiveness. There is interest in the use of RCM in other nations, including France and Japan, and it is already being implemented at Bruce A NGS and Bruce B NGS in Canada. DMA lags behind RCM in development and currently there is little experience to support claims of major benefits at reduced cost. Significant advantages over RCM need to be demonstrated if DMA is to gain acceptance in the nuclear industry. (author). 41 refs., 7 tabs., 8 figs.

  5. Selection of maintenance tasks

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dean, B.; Rombos, P.

    1995-10-01

    Two methodologies for maintenance task selection, Reliability Centre Maintenance (RCM) and Degradation Mode Analysis (DMA), are compared with regard to application in the nuclear industry and potential for application at CANDU nuclear power plants. RCM is the favoured one of the two methodologies. It is more thorough than DMA, is well supported within the US nuclear industry, and - with experience in application - is gaining cost effectiveness. There is interest in the use of RCM in other nations, including France and Japan, and it is already being implemented at Bruce A NGS and Bruce B NGS in Canada. DMA lags behind RCM in development and currently there is little experience to support claims of major benefits at reduced cost. Significant advantages over RCM need to be demonstrated if DMA is to gain acceptance in the nuclear industry. (author). 41 refs., 7 tabs., 8 figs

  6. Domain-Specific Control of Selective Attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Szu-Hung; Yeh, Yei-Yu

    2014-01-01

    Previous research has shown that loading information on working memory affects selective attention. However, whether the load effect on selective attention is domain-general or domain-specific remains unresolved. The domain-general effect refers to the findings that load in one content (e.g. phonological) domain in working memory influences processing in another content (e.g., visuospatial) domain. Attentional control supervises selection regardless of information domain. The domain-specific effect refers to the constraint of influence only when maintenance and processing operate in the same domain. Selective attention operates in a specific content domain. This study is designed to resolve this controversy. Across three experiments, we manipulated the type of representation maintained in working memory and the type of representation upon which the participants must exert control to resolve conflict and select a target into the focus of attention. In Experiments 1a and 1b, participants maintained digits and nonverbalized objects, respectively, in working memory while selecting a target in a letter array. In Experiment 2, we presented auditory digits with a letter flanker task to exclude the involvement of resource competition within the same input modality. In Experiments 3a and 3b, we replaced the letter flanker task with an object flanker task while manipulating the memory load on object and digit representation, respectively. The results consistently showed that memory load modulated distractibility only when the stimuli of the two tasks were represented in the same domain. The magnitude of distractor interference was larger under high load than under low load, reflecting a lower efficacy of information prioritization. When the stimuli of the two tasks were represented in different domains, memory load did not modulate distractibility. Control of processing priority in selective attention demands domain-specific resources. PMID:24866977

  7. Modality-specificity of selective attention networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hannah Jamieson Stewart

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Objective: To establish the modality specificity and generality of selective attention networks. Method: Forty-eight young adults completed a battery of four auditory and visual selective attention tests based upon the Attention Network framework: the visual and auditory Attention Network Tests (vANT, aANT, the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA, and the Test of Attention in Listening (TAiL. These provided independent measures for auditory and visual alerting, orienting, and conflict resolution networks. The measures were subjected to an exploratory factor analysis to assess underlying attention constructs. Results: The analysis yielded a four-component solution. The first component comprised of a range of measures from the TEA and was labeled ‘general attention’. The third component was labeled ‘auditory attention’, as it only contained measures from the TAiL using pitch as the attended stimulus feature. The second and fourth components were labeled as ‘spatial orienting’ and ‘spatial conflict’, respectively – they were comprised of orienting and conflict resolution measures from the vANT, aANT and TAiL attend-location task – all tasks based upon spatial judgments (e.g., the direction of a target arrow or sound location. Conclusions: These results do not support our a-priori hypothesis that attention networks are either modality specific or supramodal. Auditory attention separated into selectively attending to spatial and non-spatial features, with the auditory spatial attention loading onto the same factor as visual spatial attention, suggesting spatial attention is supramodal. However, since our study did not include a non-spatial measure of visual attention, further research will be required to ascertain whether non-spatial attention is modality-specific.

  8. Selective attention without a neocortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krauzlis, Richard J; Bogadhi, Amarender R; Herman, James P; Bollimunta, Anil

    2018-05-01

    Selective attention refers to the ability to restrict neural processing and behavioral responses to a relevant subset of available stimuli, while simultaneously excluding other valid stimuli from consideration. In primates and other mammals, descriptions of this ability typically emphasize the neural processing that takes place in the cerebral neocortex. However, non-mammals such as birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, which completely lack a neocortex, also have the ability to selectively attend. In this article, we survey the behavioral evidence for selective attention in non-mammals, and review the midbrain and forebrain structures that are responsible. The ancestral forms of selective attention are presumably selective orienting behaviors, such as prey-catching and predator avoidance. These behaviors depend critically on a set of subcortical structures, including the optic tectum (OT), thalamus and striatum, that are highly conserved across vertebrate evolution. In contrast, the contributions of different pallial regions in the forebrain to selective attention have been subject to more substantial changes and reorganization. This evolutionary perspective makes plain that selective attention is not a function achieved de novo with the emergence of the neocortex, but instead is implemented by circuits accrued and modified over hundreds of millions of years, beginning well before the forebrain contained a neocortex. Determining how older subcortical circuits interact with the more recently evolved components in the neocortex will likely be crucial for understanding the complex properties of selective attention in primates and other mammals, and for identifying the etiology of attention disorders. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  9. Sustained selective attention predicts flexible switching in preschoolers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benitez, Viridiana L; Vales, Catarina; Hanania, Rima; Smith, Linda B

    2017-04-01

    Stability and flexibility are fundamental to an intelligent cognitive system. Here, we examined the relationship between stability in selective attention and explicit control of flexible attention. Preschoolers were tested on the Dimension Preference (DP) task, which measures the stability of selective attention to an implicitly primed dimension, and the Dimension Change Card Sort (DCCS) task, which measures flexible attention switching between dimensions. Children who successfully switched on the DCCS task were more likely than those who perseverated to sustain attention to the primed dimension on the DP task across trials. We propose that perseverators have less stable attention and distribute their attention between dimensions, whereas switchers can successfully stabilize attention to individual dimensions and, thus, show more enduring priming effects. Flexible attention may emerge, in part, from implicit processes that stabilize attention even in tasks not requiring switching. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  10. Attentional Lapses of Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Tasks of Sustained Attention

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gmehlin, Dennis; Fuermaier, Anselm B.M.; Walther, Stephan; Tucha, Lara; Koerts, Janneke; Lange, Klaus W.; Tucha, Oliver; Weisbrod, Matthias; Aschenbrenner, Steffen

    Adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) show attentional dysfunction such as distractibility and mind-wandering, especially in lengthy tasks. However, fundamentals of dysfunction are ambiguous and relationships of neuropsychological test parameters with self-report measures of

  11. Selective attention within the foveola.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poletti, Martina; Rucci, Michele; Carrasco, Marisa

    2017-10-01

    Efficient control of attentional resources and high-acuity vision are both fundamental for survival. Shifts in visual attention are known to covertly enhance processing at locations away from the center of gaze, where visual resolution is low. It is unknown, however, whether selective spatial attention operates where the observer is already looking-that is, within the high-acuity foveola, the small yet disproportionally important rod-free region of the retina. Using new methods for precisely controlling retinal stimulation, here we show that covert attention flexibly improves and speeds up both detection and discrimination at loci only a fraction of a degree apart within the foveola. These findings reveal a surprisingly precise control of attention and its involvement in fine spatial vision. They show that the commonly studied covert shifts of attention away from the fovea are the expression of a global mechanism that exerts its action across the entire visual field.

  12. Response terminated displays unload selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roper, Zachary J J; Vecera, Shaun P

    2013-01-01

    Perceptual load theory successfully replaced the early vs. late selection debate by appealing to adaptive control over the efficiency of selective attention. Early selection is observed unless perceptual load (p-Load) is sufficiently low to grant attentional "spill-over" to task-irrelevant stimuli. Many studies exploring load theory have used limited display durations that perhaps impose artificial limits on encoding processes. We extended the exposure duration in a classic p-Load task to alleviate temporal encoding demands that may otherwise tax mnemonic consolidation processes. If the load effect arises from perceptual demands alone, then freeing-up available mnemonic resources by extending the exposure duration should have little effect. The results of Experiment 1 falsify this prediction. We observed a reliable flanker effect under high p-Load, response-terminated displays. Next, we orthogonally manipulated exposure duration and task-relevance. Counter-intuitively, we found that the likelihood of observing the flanker effect under high p-Load resides with the duration of the task-relevant array, not the flanker itself. We propose that stimulus and encoding demands interact to produce the load effect. Our account clarifies how task parameters differentially impinge upon cognitive processes to produce attentional "spill-over" by appealing to visual short-term memory as an additional processing bottleneck when stimuli are briefly presented.

  13. Response terminated displays unload selective attention

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zachary Joseph Jackson Roper

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Perceptual load theory successfully replaced the early versus late selection debate by appealing to adaptive control over the efficiency of selective attention. Early selection is observed unless perceptual load (p-Load is sufficiently low to grant attentional ‘spill-over‘ to task-irrelevant stimuli. Many studies exploring load theory have used limited display durations that perhaps impose artificial limits on encoding processes. We extended the exposure duration in a classic p-Load task to alleviate temporal encoding demands that may otherwise tax mnemonic consolidation processes. If the load effect arises from perceptual demands alone, then freeing-up available mnemonic resources by extending the exposure duration should have little effect. The results of Experiment 1 falsify this prediction. We observed a reliable flanker effect under high p-Load, response-terminated displays. Next, we orthogonally manipulated exposure duration and task-relevance. Counter-intuitively, we found that the likelihood of observing the flanker effect under high p-Load resides with the duration of the task-relevant array, not the flanker itself. We propose that stimulus and encoding demands interact to produce the load effect. Our account clarifies how task parameters differentially impinge upon cognitive processes to produce attentional ‘spill-over’ by appealing to visual short-term memory as an additional processing bottleneck when stimuli are briefly presented.

  14. Feature-selective attention in healthy old age: a selective decline in selective attention?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quigley, Cliodhna; Müller, Matthias M

    2014-02-12

    Deficient selection against irrelevant information has been proposed to underlie age-related cognitive decline. We recently reported evidence for maintained early sensory selection when older and younger adults used spatial selective attention to perform a challenging task. Here we explored age-related differences when spatial selection is not possible and feature-selective attention must be deployed. We additionally compared the integrity of feedforward processing by exploiting the well established phenomenon of suppression of visual cortical responses attributable to interstimulus competition. Electroencephalogram was measured while older and younger human adults responded to brief occurrences of coherent motion in an attended stimulus composed of randomly moving, orientation-defined, flickering bars. Attention was directed to horizontal or vertical bars by a pretrial cue, after which two orthogonally oriented, overlapping stimuli or a single stimulus were presented. Horizontal and vertical bars flickered at different frequencies and thereby elicited separable steady-state visual-evoked potentials, which were used to examine the effect of feature-based selection and the competitive influence of a second stimulus on ongoing visual processing. Age differences were found in feature-selective attentional modulation of visual responses: older adults did not show consistent modulation of magnitude or phase. In contrast, the suppressive effect of a second stimulus was robust and comparable in magnitude across age groups, suggesting that bottom-up processing of the current stimuli is essentially unchanged in healthy old age. Thus, it seems that visual processing per se is unchanged, but top-down attentional control is compromised in older adults when space cannot be used to guide selection.

  15. The effects of advertisement location and familiarity on selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jessen, Tanja Lund; Rodway, Paul

    2010-06-01

    This study comprised two experiments to examine the distracting effects of advertisement familiarity, location, and onset on the performance of a selective attention task. In Exp. 1, familiar advertisements presented in peripheral vision disrupted selective attention when the attention task was more demanding, suggesting that the distracting effect of advertisements is a product of task demands and advertisement familiarity and location. In Exp. 2, the onset of the advertisement shortly before, or after, the attention task captured attention and disrupted attentional performance. The onset of the advertisement before the attention task reduced target response time without an increase in errors and therefore facilitated performance. Despite being instructed to ignore the advertisements, the participants were able to recall a substantial proportion of the familiar advertisements. Implications for the presentation of advertisements during human-computer interaction were discussed.

  16. Feature-based attentional modulation increases with stimulus separation in divided-attention tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sally, Sharon L; Vidnyánsky, Zoltán; Papathomas, Thomas V

    2009-01-01

    Attention modifies our visual experience by selecting certain aspects of a scene for further processing. It is therefore important to understand factors that govern the deployment of selective attention over the visual field. Both location and feature-specific mechanisms of attention have been identified and their modulatory effects can interact at a neural level (Treue and Martinez-Trujillo, 1999). The effects of spatial parameters on feature-based attentional modulation were examined for the feature dimensions of orientation, motion and color using three divided-attention tasks. Subjects performed concurrent discriminations of two briefly presented targets (Gabor patches) to the left and right of a central fixation point at eccentricities of +/-2.5 degrees , 5 degrees , 10 degrees and 15 degrees in the horizontal plane. Gabors were size-scaled to maintain consistent single-task performance across eccentricities. For all feature dimensions, the data show a linear increase in the attentional effects with target separation. In a control experiment, Gabors were presented on an isoeccentric viewing arc at 10 degrees and 15 degrees at the closest spatial separation (+/-2.5 degrees ) of the main experiment. Under these conditions, the effects of feature-based attentional effects were largely eliminated. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that feature-based attention prioritizes the processing of attended features. Feature-based attentional mechanisms may have helped direct the attentional focus to the appropriate target locations at greater separations, whereas similar assistance may not have been necessary at closer target spacings. The results of the present study specify conditions under which dual-task performance benefits from sharing similar target features and may therefore help elucidate the processes by which feature-based attention operates.

  17. Methylphenidate alters selective attention by amplifying salience.

    Science.gov (United States)

    ter Huurne, Niels; Fallon, Sean James; van Schouwenburg, Martine; van der Schaaf, Marieke; Buitelaar, Jan; Jensen, Ole; Cools, Roshan

    2015-12-01

    Methylphenidate, the most common treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is increasingly used by healthy individuals as a "smart drug" to enhance cognitive abilities like attention. A key feature of (selective) attention is the ability to ignore irrelevant but salient information in the environment (distractors). Although crucial for cognitive performance, until now, it is not known how the use of methylphenidate affects resistance to attentional capture by distractors. The present study aims to clarify how methylphenidate affects distractor suppression in healthy individuals. The effect of methylphenidate (20 mg) on distractor suppression was assessed in healthy subjects (N = 20), in a within-subject double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design. We used a visuospatial attention task with target faces flanked by strong (faces) or weak distractors (scrambled faces). Methylphenidate increased accuracy on trials that required gender identification of target face stimuli (methylphenidate 88.9 ± 1.4 [mean ± SEM], placebo 86.0 ± 1.2 %; p = .003), suggesting increased processing of the faces. At the same time, however, methylphenidate increased reaction time when the target face was flanked by a face distractor relative to a scrambled face distractor (methylphenidate 34.9 ± 3.73, placebo 26.7 ± 2.84 ms; p = .027), suggesting enhanced attentional capture by distractors with task-relevant features. We conclude that methylphenidate amplifies salience of task-relevant information at the level of the stimulus category. This leads to enhanced processing of the target (faces) but also increased attentional capture by distractors drawn from the same category as the target.

  18. Strategic predictors of performance in a divided attention task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Faragó, Kinga Bettina; Lőrincz, András

    2018-01-01

    In this study we investigate the strategies of subjects in a complex divided attention task. We conducted a series of experiments with ten participants and evaluated their performance. After an extensive analysis, we identified four strategic measures that justify the achievement of the participants, by highlighting the individual differences and predicting performance in a regression analysis using generalized estimating equations. Selecting the more urgent task and user action between multiple simultaneous possibilities form two of the strategic decisions, respectively. The third one refers to choosing a response within the same task when the opportunity is present. The fourth and most important measure of strategy involves thinking ahead and executing an action before a situation would become critical. This latter one has the effect of reducing later cognitive load or timing constraints and it is shown to explain almost as much variance in performance as the other three, more straightforward predictors together. In addition to determining these strategic predictors, we also show how manipulating task difficulty induces a shift in strategy, thus impairing human performance in the rehearsed task. The results of this study indicate that considerable differences in the divided attention ability of normal subjects can be identified early and with simple measurements. The importance of describing and analyzing strategies is also emphasized, which can substantially influence performance in complex tasks and may serve training needs. PMID:29621292

  19. Strategic predictors of performance in a divided attention task.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Róbert Adrian Rill

    Full Text Available In this study we investigate the strategies of subjects in a complex divided attention task. We conducted a series of experiments with ten participants and evaluated their performance. After an extensive analysis, we identified four strategic measures that justify the achievement of the participants, by highlighting the individual differences and predicting performance in a regression analysis using generalized estimating equations. Selecting the more urgent task and user action between multiple simultaneous possibilities form two of the strategic decisions, respectively. The third one refers to choosing a response within the same task when the opportunity is present. The fourth and most important measure of strategy involves thinking ahead and executing an action before a situation would become critical. This latter one has the effect of reducing later cognitive load or timing constraints and it is shown to explain almost as much variance in performance as the other three, more straightforward predictors together. In addition to determining these strategic predictors, we also show how manipulating task difficulty induces a shift in strategy, thus impairing human performance in the rehearsed task. The results of this study indicate that considerable differences in the divided attention ability of normal subjects can be identified early and with simple measurements. The importance of describing and analyzing strategies is also emphasized, which can substantially influence performance in complex tasks and may serve training needs.

  20. Strategic predictors of performance in a divided attention task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rill, Róbert Adrian; Faragó, Kinga Bettina; Lőrincz, András

    2018-01-01

    In this study we investigate the strategies of subjects in a complex divided attention task. We conducted a series of experiments with ten participants and evaluated their performance. After an extensive analysis, we identified four strategic measures that justify the achievement of the participants, by highlighting the individual differences and predicting performance in a regression analysis using generalized estimating equations. Selecting the more urgent task and user action between multiple simultaneous possibilities form two of the strategic decisions, respectively. The third one refers to choosing a response within the same task when the opportunity is present. The fourth and most important measure of strategy involves thinking ahead and executing an action before a situation would become critical. This latter one has the effect of reducing later cognitive load or timing constraints and it is shown to explain almost as much variance in performance as the other three, more straightforward predictors together. In addition to determining these strategic predictors, we also show how manipulating task difficulty induces a shift in strategy, thus impairing human performance in the rehearsed task. The results of this study indicate that considerable differences in the divided attention ability of normal subjects can be identified early and with simple measurements. The importance of describing and analyzing strategies is also emphasized, which can substantially influence performance in complex tasks and may serve training needs.

  1. Children's attention to task-relevant information accounts for relations between language and spatial cognition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Hilary E; Simmering, Vanessa R

    2018-08-01

    Children's spatial language reliably predicts their spatial skills, but the nature of this relation is a source of debate. This investigation examined whether the mechanisms accounting for such relations are specific to language use or reflect a domain-general mechanism of selective attention. Experiment 1 examined whether 4-year-olds' spatial skills were predicted by their selective attention or their adaptive language use. Children completed (a) an attention task assessing attention to task-relevant color, size, and location cues; (b) a description task assessing adaptive language use to describe scenes varying in color, size, and location; and (c) three spatial tasks. There was correspondence between the cue types that children attended to and produced across description and attention tasks. Adaptive language use was predicted by both children's attention and task-related language production, suggesting that selective attention underlies skills in using language adaptively. After controlling for age, gender, receptive vocabulary, and adaptive language use, spatial skills were predicted by children's selective attention. The attention score predicted variance in spatial performance previously accounted for by adaptive language use. Experiment 2 followed up on the attention task (Experiment 2a) and description task (Experiment 2b) from Experiment 1 to assess whether performance in the tasks related to selective attention or task-specific demands. Performance in Experiments 2a and 2b paralleled that in Experiment 1, suggesting that the effects in Experiment 1 reflected children's selective attention skills. These findings show that selective attention is a central factor supporting spatial skill development that could account for many effects previously attributed to children's language use. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  2. Selective Audiovisual Semantic Integration Enabled by Feature-Selective Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yuanqing; Long, Jinyi; Huang, Biao; Yu, Tianyou; Wu, Wei; Li, Peijun; Fang, Fang; Sun, Pei

    2016-01-13

    An audiovisual object may contain multiple semantic features, such as the gender and emotional features of the speaker. Feature-selective attention and audiovisual semantic integration are two brain functions involved in the recognition of audiovisual objects. Humans often selectively attend to one or several features while ignoring the other features of an audiovisual object. Meanwhile, the human brain integrates semantic information from the visual and auditory modalities. However, how these two brain functions correlate with each other remains to be elucidated. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, we explored the neural mechanism by which feature-selective attention modulates audiovisual semantic integration. During the fMRI experiment, the subjects were presented with visual-only, auditory-only, or audiovisual dynamical facial stimuli and performed several feature-selective attention tasks. Our results revealed that a distribution of areas, including heteromodal areas and brain areas encoding attended features, may be involved in audiovisual semantic integration. Through feature-selective attention, the human brain may selectively integrate audiovisual semantic information from attended features by enhancing functional connectivity and thus regulating information flows from heteromodal areas to brain areas encoding the attended features.

  3. Components of working memory and visual selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burnham, Bryan R; Sabia, Matthew; Langan, Catherine

    2014-02-01

    Load theory (Lavie, N., Hirst, A., De Fockert, J. W., & Viding, E. [2004]. Load theory of selective attention and cognitive control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 133, 339-354.) proposes that control of attention depends on the amount and type of load that is imposed by current processing. Specifically, perceptual load should lead to efficient distractor rejection, whereas working memory load (dual-task coordination) should hinder distractor rejection. Studies support load theory's prediction that working memory load will lead to larger distractor effects; however, these studies used secondary tasks that required only verbal working memory and the central executive. The present study examined which other working memory components (visual, spatial, and phonological) influence visual selective attention. Subjects completed an attentional capture task alone (single-task) or while engaged in a working memory task (dual-task). Results showed that along with the central executive, visual and spatial working memory influenced selective attention, but phonological working memory did not. Specifically, attentional capture was larger when visual or spatial working memory was loaded, but phonological working memory load did not affect attentional capture. The results are consistent with load theory and suggest specific components of working memory influence visual selective attention. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved.

  4. Effects of spatial and selective attention on basic multisensory integration

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Gondan, Matthias; Blurton, Steven Paul; Hughes, F.

    2011-01-01

    underlying the RSE. We investigated the role of spatial and selective attention on the RSE in audiovisual redundant signals tasks. In Experiment 1, stimuli were presented either centrally (narrow attentional focus) or at 1 of 3 unpredictable locations (wide focus). The RSE was accurately described...... task) or to central stimuli only (selective attention task). The RSE was consistent with task-specific coactivation models; accumulation of evidence, however, differed between the 2 tasks....... by a coactivation model assuming linear superposition of modality-specific activation. Effects of spatial attention were explained by a shift of the evidence criterion. In Experiment 2, stimuli were presented at 3 locations; participants had to respond either to all signals regardless of location (simple response...

  5. Modality-specificity of Selective Attention Networks

    OpenAIRE

    Stewart, Hannah J.; Amitay, Sygal

    2015-01-01

    Objective: To establish the modality specificity and generality of selective attention networks. Method: Forty-eight young adults completed a battery of four auditory and visual selective attention tests based upon the Attention Network framework: the visual and auditory Attention Network Tests (vANT, aANT), the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA), and the Test of Attention in Listening (TAiL). These provided independent measures for auditory and visual alerting, orienting, and conflict resoluti...

  6. Selective and sustained attention in children with spina bifida myelomeningocele

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Caspersen, Ida Dyhr; Habekost, Thomas

    2013-01-01

    distinguish perceptual from response-related components of attention. We used a verbal-report paradigm based on the Theory of Visual Attention (Bundesen, 1990) and a new continuous performance test, the Dual Attention to Response Task (Dockree et al., 2006), for measuring parameters of selective and sustained......Spina bifida myelomeningocele (SBM) is a neural tube defect that has been related to deficits in several cognitive domains including attention. Attention function in children with SBM has often been studied using tasks that are confounded by complex motor demands or tasks that do not clearly...... attention in 6 children with SBM and 18 healthy control children. The two tasks had minimal motor demands, were functionally specific and were sensitive to minor deficits. As a group, the children with SBM were significantly less efficient at filtering out irrelevant stimuli. Moreover, they exhibited...

  7. Tai Chi practitioners have better postural control and selective attention in stepping down with and without a concurrent auditory response task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Xi; Siu, Ka-Chun; Fu, Siu N; Hui-Chan, Christina W Y; Tsang, William W N

    2013-08-01

    To compare the performance of older experienced Tai Chi practitioners and healthy controls in dual-task versus single-task paradigms, namely stepping down with and without performing an auditory response task, a cross-sectional study was conducted in the Center for East-meets-West in Rehabilitation Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong. Twenty-eight Tai Chi practitioners (73.6 ± 4.2 years) and 30 healthy control subjects (72.4 ± 6.1 years) were recruited. Participants were asked to step down from a 19-cm-high platform and maintain a single-leg stance for 10 s with and without a concurrent cognitive task. The cognitive task was an auditory Stroop test in which the participants were required to respond to different tones of voices regardless of their word meanings. Postural stability after stepping down under single- and dual-task paradigms, in terms of excursion of the subject's center of pressure (COP) and cognitive performance, was measured for comparison between the two groups. Our findings demonstrated significant between-group differences in more outcome measures during dual-task than single-task performance. Thus, the auditory Stroop test showed that Tai Chi practitioners achieved not only significantly less error rate in single-task, but also significantly faster reaction time in dual-task, when compared with healthy controls similar in age and other relevant demographics. Similarly, the stepping-down task showed that Tai Chi practitioners not only displayed significantly less COP sway area in single-task, but also significantly less COP sway path than healthy controls in dual-task. These results showed that Tai Chi practitioners achieved better postural stability after stepping down as well as better performance in auditory response task than healthy controls. The improved performance that was magnified by dual motor-cognitive task performance may point to the benefits of Tai Chi being a mind-and-body exercise.

  8. Symbiosis of Executive and Selective Attention in Working Memory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    André eVandierendonck

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available The notion of working memory was introduced to account for the usage of short-term memory resources by other cognitive tasks such as reasoning, mental arithmetic, language comprehension, and many others. This collaboration between memory and other cognitive tasks can only be achieved by a dedicated working memory system that controls task coordination. To that end, working memory models include executive control. Nevertheless, other attention control systems may be involved in coordination of memory and cognitive tasks calling on memory resources. The present paper briefly reviews the evidence concerning the role of selective attention in working memory activities. A model is proposed in which selective attention control is directly linked to the executive control part of the working memory system. The model assumes that apart from storage of declarative information, the system also includes an executive working memory module that represents the current task set. Control processes are automatically triggered when particular conditions in these modules are met.. As each task set represents the parameter settings and the actions needed to achieve the task goal, it will depend on the specific settings and actions whether selective attention control will have to be shared among the active tasks. Only when such sharing is required, task performance will be affected by the capacity limits of the control system involved.

  9. Mental rotation impairs attention shifting and short-term memory encoding: neurophysiological evidence against the response-selection bottleneck model of dual-task performance

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pannebakker, M.M.; van Dam, W.O.; Band, G.P.H.; Ridderinkhof, K.R.; Hommel, B.

    2011-01-01

    Dual tasks and their associated delays have often been used to examine the boundaries of processing in the brain. We used the dual-task procedure and recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate how mental rotation of a first stimulus (S1) influences the shifting of visual-spatial

  10. Divided versus selective attention: evidence for common processing mechanisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hahn, Britta; Wolkenberg, Frank A; Ross, Thomas J; Myers, Carol S; Heishman, Stephen J; Stein, Dan J; Kurup, Pradeep K; Stein, Elliot A

    2008-06-18

    The current study revisited the question of whether there are brain mechanisms specific to divided attention that differ from those used in selective attention. Increased neuronal activity required to simultaneously process two stimulus dimensions as compared with each separate dimension has often been observed, but rarely has activity induced by a divided attention condition exceeded the sum of activity induced by the component tasks. Healthy participants performed a selective-divided attention paradigm while undergoing functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The task required participants to make a same-different judgment about either one of two simultaneously presented stimulus dimensions, or about both dimensions. Performance accuracy was equated between tasks by dynamically adjusting the stimulus display time. Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent (BOLD) signal differences between tasks were identified by whole-brain voxel-wise comparisons and by region-specific analyses of all areas modulated by the divided attention task (DIV). No region displayed greater activation or deactivation by DIV than the sum of signal change by the two selective attention tasks. Instead, regional activity followed the tasks' processing demands as reflected by reaction time. Only a left cerebellar region displayed a correlation between participants' BOLD signal intensity and reaction time that was selective for DIV. The correlation was positive, reflecting slower responding with greater activation. Overall, the findings do not support the existence of functional brain activity specific to DIV. Increased activity appears to reflect additional processing demands by introducing a secondary task, but those demands do not appear to qualitatively differ from processes of selective attention.

  11. Visual short-term memory load strengthens selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roper, Zachary J J; Vecera, Shaun P

    2014-04-01

    Perceptual load theory accounts for many attentional phenomena; however, its mechanism remains elusive because it invokes underspecified attentional resources. Recent dual-task evidence has revealed that a concurrent visual short-term memory (VSTM) load slows visual search and reduces contrast sensitivity, but it is unknown whether a VSTM load also constricts attention in a canonical perceptual load task. If attentional selection draws upon VSTM resources, then distraction effects-which measure attentional "spill-over"-will be reduced as competition for resources increases. Observers performed a low perceptual load flanker task during the delay period of a VSTM change detection task. We observed a reduction of the flanker effect in the perceptual load task as a function of increasing concurrent VSTM load. These findings were not due to perceptual-level interactions between the physical displays of the two tasks. Our findings suggest that perceptual representations of distractor stimuli compete with the maintenance of visual representations held in memory. We conclude that access to VSTM determines the degree of attentional selectivity; when VSTM is not completely taxed, it is more likely for task-irrelevant items to be consolidated and, consequently, affect responses. The "resources" hypothesized by load theory are at least partly mnemonic in nature, due to the strong correspondence they share with VSTM capacity.

  12. Perceptual Load Influences Selective Attention across Development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Couperus, Jane W.

    2011-01-01

    Research suggests that visual selective attention develops across childhood. However, there is relatively little understanding of the neurological changes that accompany this development, particularly in the context of adult theories of selective attention, such as N. Lavie's (1995) perceptual load theory of attention. This study examined visual…

  13. Explicit goal-driven attention, unlike implicitly learned attention, spreads to secondary tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Addleman, Douglas A; Tao, Jinyi; Remington, Roger W; Jiang, Yuhong V

    2018-03-01

    To what degree does spatial attention for one task spread to all stimuli in the attended region, regardless of task relevance? Most models imply that spatial attention acts through a unitary priority map in a task-general manner. We show that implicit learning, unlike endogenous spatial cuing, can bias spatial attention within one task without biasing attention to a spatially overlapping secondary task. Participants completed a visual search task superimposed on a background containing scenes, which they were told to encode for a later memory task. Experiments 1 and 2 used explicit instructions to bias spatial attention to one region for visual search; Experiment 3 used location probability cuing to implicitly bias spatial attention. In location probability cuing, a target appeared in one region more than others despite participants not being told of this. In all experiments, search performance was better in the cued region than in uncued regions. However, scene memory was better in the cued region only following endogenous guidance, not after implicit biasing of attention. These data support a dual-system view of top-down attention that dissociates goal-driven and implicitly learned attention. Goal-driven attention is task general, amplifying processing of a cued region across tasks, whereas implicit statistical learning is task-specific. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

  14. Neural Determinants of Task Performance during Feature-Based Attention in Human Cortex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gong, Mengyuan

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Studies of feature-based attention have associated activity in a dorsal frontoparietal network with putative attentional priority signals. Yet, how this neural activity mediates attentional selection and whether it guides behavior are fundamental questions that require investigation. We reasoned that endogenous fluctuations in the quality of attentional priority should influence task performance. Human subjects detected a speed increment while viewing clockwise (CW) or counterclockwise (CCW) motion (baseline task) or while attending to either direction amid distracters (attention task). In an fMRI experiment, direction-specific neural pattern similarity between the baseline task and the attention task revealed a higher level of similarity for correct than incorrect trials in frontoparietal regions. Using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), we disrupted posterior parietal cortex (PPC) and found a selective deficit in the attention task, but not in the baseline task, demonstrating the necessity of this cortical area during feature-based attention. These results reveal that frontoparietal areas maintain attentional priority that facilitates successful behavioral selection. PMID:29497703

  15. Attention and Implicit Memory in the Category-Verification and Lexical Decision Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mulligan, Neil W.; Peterson, Daniel

    2008-01-01

    Prior research on implicit memory appeared to support 3 generalizations: Conceptual tests are affected by divided attention, perceptual tasks are affected by certain divided-attention manipulations, and all types of priming are affected by selective attention. These generalizations are challenged in experiments using the implicit tests of category…

  16. Quantitative analysis of task selection for brain-computer interfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Llera, Alberto; Gómez, Vicenç; Kappen, Hilbert J.

    2014-10-01

    Objective. To assess quantitatively the impact of task selection in the performance of brain-computer interfaces (BCI). Approach. We consider the task-pairs derived from multi-class BCI imagery movement tasks in three different datasets. We analyze for the first time the benefits of task selection on a large-scale basis (109 users) and evaluate the possibility of transferring task-pair information across days for a given subject. Main results. Selecting the subject-dependent optimal task-pair among three different imagery movement tasks results in approximately 20% potential increase in the number of users that can be expected to control a binary BCI. The improvement is observed with respect to the best task-pair fixed across subjects. The best task-pair selected for each subject individually during a first day of recordings is generally a good task-pair in subsequent days. In general, task learning from the user side has a positive influence in the generalization of the optimal task-pair, but special attention should be given to inexperienced subjects. Significance. These results add significant evidence to existing literature that advocates task selection as a necessary step towards usable BCIs. This contribution motivates further research focused on deriving adaptive methods for task selection on larger sets of mental tasks in practical online scenarios.

  17. Visual selective attention with virtual barriers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, Darryl W

    2017-07-01

    Previous studies have shown that interference effects in the flanker task are reduced when physical barriers (e.g., hands) are placed around rather than below a target flanked by distractors. One explanation of this finding is the referential coding hypothesis, whereby the barriers serve as reference objects for allocating attention. In five experiments, the generality of the referential coding hypothesis was tested by investigating whether interference effects are modulated by the placement of virtual barriers (e.g., parentheses). Modulation of flanker interference was found only when target and distractors differed in size and the virtual barriers were beveled wood-grain objects. Under these conditions and those of previous studies, the author conjectures that an impression of depth was produced when the barriers were around the target, such that the target was perceived to be on a different depth plane than the distractors. Perception of depth in the stimulus display might have led to referential coding of the stimuli in three-dimensional (3-D) space, influencing the allocation of attention beyond the horizontal and vertical dimensions. This 3-D referential coding hypothesis is consistent with research on selective attention in 3-D space that shows flanker interference is reduced when target and distractors are separated in depth.

  18. Selectively Distracted: Divided Attention and Memory for Important Information.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Middlebrooks, Catherine D; Kerr, Tyson; Castel, Alan D

    2017-08-01

    Distractions and multitasking are generally detrimental to learning and memory. Nevertheless, people often study while listening to music, sitting in noisy coffee shops, or intermittently checking their e-mail. The current experiments examined how distractions and divided attention influence one's ability to selectively remember valuable information. Participants studied lists of words that ranged in value from 1 to 10 points while completing a digit-detection task, while listening to music, or without distractions. Though participants recalled fewer words following digit detection than in the other conditions, there were no significant differences between conditions in terms of selectively remembering the most valuable words. Similar results were obtained across a variety of divided-attention tasks that stressed attention and working memory to different degrees, which suggests that people may compensate for divided-attention costs by selectively attending to the most valuable items and that factors that worsen memory do not necessarily impair the ability to selectively remember important information.

  19. Selective attention, working memory, and animal intelligence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matzel, Louis D; Kolata, Stefan

    2010-01-01

    Accumulating evidence indicates that the storage and processing capabilities of the human working memory system co-vary with individuals' performance on a wide range of cognitive tasks. The ubiquitous nature of this relationship suggests that variations in these processes may underlie individual differences in intelligence. Here we briefly review relevant data which supports this view. Furthermore, we emphasize an emerging literature describing a trait in genetically heterogeneous mice that is quantitatively and qualitatively analogous to general intelligence (g) in humans. As in humans, this animal analog of g co-varies with individual differences in both storage and processing components of the working memory system. Absent some of the complications associated with work with human subjects (e.g., phonological processing), this work with laboratory animals has provided an opportunity to assess otherwise intractable hypotheses. For instance, it has been possible in animals to manipulate individual aspects of the working memory system (e.g., selective attention), and to observe causal relationships between these variables and the expression of general cognitive abilities. This work with laboratory animals has coincided with human imaging studies (briefly reviewed here) which suggest that common brain structures (e.g., prefrontal cortex) mediate the efficacy of selective attention and the performance of individuals on intelligence test batteries. In total, this evidence suggests an evolutionary conservation of the processes that co-vary with and/or regulate "intelligence" and provides a framework for promoting these abilities in both young and old animals.

  20. Sustained attention, selective attention and cognitive control in deaf and hearing children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dye, Matthew W G; Hauser, Peter C

    2014-03-01

    Deaf children have been characterized as being impulsive, distractible, and unable to sustain attention. However, past research has tested deaf children born to hearing parents who are likely to have experienced language delays. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an absence of auditory input modulates attentional problems in deaf children with no delayed exposure to language. Two versions of a continuous performance test were administered to 37 deaf children born to Deaf parents and 60 hearing children, all aged 6-13 years. A vigilance task was used to measure sustained attention over the course of several minutes, and a distractibility test provided a measure of the ability to ignore task irrelevant information - selective attention. Both tasks provided assessments of cognitive control through analysis of commission errors. The deaf and hearing children did not differ on measures of sustained attention. However, younger deaf children were more distracted by task-irrelevant information in their peripheral visual field, and deaf children produced a higher number of commission errors in the selective attention task. It is argued that this is not likely to be an effect of audition on cognitive processing, but may rather reflect difficulty in endogenous control of reallocated visual attention resources stemming from early profound deafness. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  1. Sustained attention, selective attention and cognitive control in deaf and hearing children

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dye, Matthew W. G.; Hauser, Peter C.

    2014-01-01

    Deaf children have been characterized as being impulsive, distractible, and unable to sustain attention. However, past research has tested deaf children born to hearing parents who are likely to have experienced language delays. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an absence of auditory input modulates attentional problems in deaf children with no delayed exposure to language. Two versions of a continuous performance test were administered to 37 deaf children born to Deaf parents and 60 hearing children, all aged 6–13 years. A vigilance task was used to measure sustained attention over the course of several minutes, and a distractibility test provided a measure of the ability to ignore task irrelevant information – selective attention. Both tasks provided assessments of cognitive control through analysis of commission errors. The deaf and hearing children did not differ on measures of sustained attention. However, younger deaf children were more distracted by task-irrelevant information in their peripheral visual field, and deaf children produced a higher number of commission errors in the selective attention task. It is argued that this is not likely to be an effect of audition on cognitive processing, but may rather reflect difficulty in endogenous control of reallocated visual attention resources stemming from early profound deafness. PMID:24355653

  2. Focusing on Attention: The Effects of Working Memory Capacity and Load on Selective Attention.

    OpenAIRE

    Ahmed, Lubna; de Fockert, Jan

    2012-01-01

    Background\\ud \\ud Working memory (WM) is imperative for effective selective attention. Distractibility is greater under conditions of high (vs. low) concurrent working memory load (WML), and in individuals with low (vs. high) working memory capacity (WMC). In the current experiments, we recorded the flanker task performance of individuals with high and low WMC during low and high WML, to investigate the combined effect of WML and WMC on selective attention.\\ud \\ud Methodology/Principal Findin...

  3. Effects of Task Performance and Task Complexity on the Validity of Computational Models of Attention

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koning, L. de; Maanen, P.P. van; Dongen, K. van

    2008-01-01

    Computational models of attention can be used as a component of decision support systems. For accurate support, a computational model of attention has to be valid and robust. The effects of task performance and task complexity on the validity of three different computational models of attention were

  4. Examining Age-Related Differences in Auditory Attention Control Using a Task-Switching Procedure

    OpenAIRE

    Vera Lawo; Iring Koch

    2014-01-01

    Objectives. Using a novel task-switching variant of dichotic selective listening, we examined age-related differences in the ability to intentionally switch auditory attention between 2 speakers defined by their sex.

  5. Poorer divided attention in children born very preterm can be explained by difficulty with each component task, not the executive requirement to dual-task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delane, Louise; Campbell, Catherine; Bayliss, Donna M; Reid, Corinne; Stephens, Amelia; French, Noel; Anderson, Mike

    2017-07-01

    Children born very preterm (VP, ≤ 32 weeks) exhibit poor performance on tasks of executive functioning. However, it is largely unknown whether this reflects the cumulative impact of non-executive deficits or a separable impairment in executive-level abilities. A dual-task paradigm was used in the current study to differentiate the executive processes involved in performing two simple attention tasks simultaneously. The executive-level contribution to performance was indexed by the within-subject cost incurred to single-task performance under dual-task conditions, termed dual-task cost. The participants included 77 VP children (mean age: 7.17 years) and 74 peer controls (mean age: 7.16 years) who completed Sky Search (selective attention), Score (sustained attention) and Sky Search DT (divided attention) from the Test of Everyday Attention for Children. The divided-attention task requires the simultaneous performance of the selective- and sustained-attention tasks. The VP group exhibited poorer performance on the selective- and divided-attention tasks, and showed a strong trend toward poorer performance on the sustained-attention task. However, there were no significant group differences in dual-task cost. These results suggest a cumulative impact of vulnerable lower-level cognitive processes on dual-tasking or divided attention in VP children, and fail to support the hypothesis that VP children show a separable impairment in executive-level abilities.

  6. Mental Fatigue Affects Visual Selective Attention

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Faber, Leon G.; Maurits, Natasha M.; Lorist, Monicque M.

    2012-01-01

    Mental fatigue is a form of fatigue, induced by continuous task performance. Mentally fatigued people often report having a hard time keeping their attention focussed and being easily distracted. In this study, we examined the relation between mental fatigue, as induced by time on task, and

  7. Validation of a novel attentional bias modification task: the future may be in the cards.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Notebaert, Lies; Clarke, Patrick J F; Grafton, Ben; MacLeod, Colin

    2015-02-01

    Attentional bias modification (ABM) is a promising therapeutic tool aimed at changing patterns of attentional selectivity associated with heightened anxiety. A number of studies have successfully implemented ABM using the modified dot-probe task. However others have not achieved the attentional change required to achieve emotional benefits, highlighting the need for new ABM methods. The current study compared the effectiveness of a newly developed ABM task against the traditional dot-probe ABM task. The new person-identity-matching (PIM) task presented participants with virtual cards, each depicting a happy and angry person. The task encourages selective attention toward or away from threat by requiring participants to make matching judgements between two cards, based either on the identities of the happy faces, or of the angry faces. Change in attentional bias achieved by both ABM tasks was measured by a dot-probe assessment task. Their impact on emotional vulnerability was assessed by measuring negative emotional reactions to a video stressor. The PIM task succeeded in modifying attentional bias, and exerting an impact on emotional reactivity, whereas this was not the case for the dot-probe task. These results are considered in relation to the potential clinical utility of the current task in comparison to traditional ABM methodologies. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Changes in otoacoustic emissions during selective auditory and visual attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, Kyle P; Pasanen, Edward G; McFadden, Dennis

    2015-05-01

    Previous studies have demonstrated that the otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) measured during behavioral tasks can have different magnitudes when subjects are attending selectively or not attending. The implication is that the cognitive and perceptual demands of a task can affect the first neural stage of auditory processing-the sensory receptors themselves. However, the directions of the reported attentional effects have been inconsistent, the magnitudes of the observed differences typically have been small, and comparisons across studies have been made difficult by significant procedural differences. In this study, a nonlinear version of the stimulus-frequency OAE (SFOAE), called the nSFOAE, was used to measure cochlear responses from human subjects while they simultaneously performed behavioral tasks requiring selective auditory attention (dichotic or diotic listening), selective visual attention, or relative inattention. Within subjects, the differences in nSFOAE magnitude between inattention and attention conditions were about 2-3 dB for both auditory and visual modalities, and the effect sizes for the differences typically were large for both nSFOAE magnitude and phase. These results reveal that the cochlear efferent reflex is differentially active during selective attention and inattention, for both auditory and visual tasks, although they do not reveal how attention is improved when efferent activity is greater.

  9. Changes in otoacoustic emissions during selective auditory and visual attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, Kyle P.; Pasanen, Edward G.; McFadden, Dennis

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies have demonstrated that the otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) measured during behavioral tasks can have different magnitudes when subjects are attending selectively or not attending. The implication is that the cognitive and perceptual demands of a task can affect the first neural stage of auditory processing—the sensory receptors themselves. However, the directions of the reported attentional effects have been inconsistent, the magnitudes of the observed differences typically have been small, and comparisons across studies have been made difficult by significant procedural differences. In this study, a nonlinear version of the stimulus-frequency OAE (SFOAE), called the nSFOAE, was used to measure cochlear responses from human subjects while they simultaneously performed behavioral tasks requiring selective auditory attention (dichotic or diotic listening), selective visual attention, or relative inattention. Within subjects, the differences in nSFOAE magnitude between inattention and attention conditions were about 2–3 dB for both auditory and visual modalities, and the effect sizes for the differences typically were large for both nSFOAE magnitude and phase. These results reveal that the cochlear efferent reflex is differentially active during selective attention and inattention, for both auditory and visual tasks, although they do not reveal how attention is improved when efferent activity is greater. PMID:25994703

  10. The role of working memory in auditory selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dalton, Polly; Santangelo, Valerio; Spence, Charles

    2009-11-01

    A growing body of research now demonstrates that working memory plays an important role in controlling the extent to which irrelevant visual distractors are processed during visual selective attention tasks (e.g., Lavie, Hirst, De Fockert, & Viding, 2004). Recently, it has been shown that the successful selection of tactile information also depends on the availability of working memory (Dalton, Lavie, & Spence, 2009). Here, we investigate whether working memory plays a role in auditory selective attention. Participants focused their attention on short continuous bursts of white noise (targets) while attempting to ignore pulsed bursts of noise (distractors). Distractor interference in this auditory task, as measured in terms of the difference in performance between congruent and incongruent distractor trials, increased significantly under high (vs. low) load in a concurrent working-memory task. These results provide the first evidence demonstrating a causal role for working memory in reducing interference by irrelevant auditory distractors.

  11. How motivation and reward learning modulate selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bourgeois, A; Chelazzi, L; Vuilleumier, P

    2016-01-01

    Motivational stimuli such as rewards elicit adaptive responses and influence various cognitive functions. Notably, increasing evidence suggests that stimuli with particular motivational values can strongly shape perception and attention. These effects resemble both selective top-down and stimulus-driven attentional orienting, as they depend on internal states but arise without conscious will, yet they seem to reflect attentional systems that are functionally and anatomically distinct from those classically associated with frontoparietal cortical networks in the brain. Recent research in human and nonhuman primates has begun to reveal how reward can bias attentional selection, and where within the cognitive system the signals providing attentional priority are generated. This review aims at describing the different mechanisms sustaining motivational attention, their impact on different behavioral tasks, and current knowledge concerning the neural networks governing the integration of motivational influences on attentional behavior. © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Neuronal effects of nicotine during auditory selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smucny, Jason; Olincy, Ann; Eichman, Lindsay S; Tregellas, Jason R

    2015-06-01

    Although the attention-enhancing effects of nicotine have been behaviorally and neurophysiologically well-documented, its localized functional effects during selective attention are poorly understood. In this study, we examined the neuronal effects of nicotine during auditory selective attention in healthy human nonsmokers. We hypothesized to observe significant effects of nicotine in attention-associated brain areas, driven by nicotine-induced increases in activity as a function of increasing task demands. A single-blind, prospective, randomized crossover design was used to examine neuronal response associated with a go/no-go task after 7 mg nicotine or placebo patch administration in 20 individuals who underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3T. The task design included two levels of difficulty (ordered vs. random stimuli) and two levels of auditory distraction (silence vs. noise). Significant treatment × difficulty × distraction interaction effects on neuronal response were observed in the hippocampus, ventral parietal cortex, and anterior cingulate. In contrast to our hypothesis, U and inverted U-shaped dependencies were observed between the effects of nicotine on response and task demands, depending on the brain area. These results suggest that nicotine may differentially affect neuronal response depending on task conditions. These results have important theoretical implications for understanding how cholinergic tone may influence the neurobiology of selective attention.

  13. Training Attentional Control Improves Cognitive and Motor Task Performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ducrocq, Emmanuel; Wilson, Mark; Vine, Sam; Derakshan, Nazanin

    2016-10-01

    Attentional control is a necessary function for the regulation of goal-directed behavior. In three experiments we investigated whether training inhibitory control using a visual search task could improve task-specific measures of attentional control and performance. In Experiment 1 results revealed that training elicited a near-transfer effect, improving performance on a cognitive (antisaccade) task assessing inhibitory control. In Experiment 2 an initial far-transfer effect of training was observed on an index of attentional control validated for tennis. The principal aim of Experiment 3 was to expand on these findings by assessing objective gaze measures of inhibitory control during the performance of a tennis task. Training improved inhibitory control and performance when pressure was elevated, confirming the mechanisms by which cognitive anxiety impacts performance. These results suggest that attentional control training can improve inhibition and reduce taskspecific distractibility with promise of transfer to more efficient sporting performance in competitive contexts.

  14. Attention improves encoding of task-relevant features in the human visual cortex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jehee, Janneke F.M.; Brady, Devin K.; Tong, Frank

    2011-01-01

    When spatial attention is directed towards a particular stimulus, increased activity is commonly observed in corresponding locations of the visual cortex. Does this attentional increase in activity indicate improved processing of all features contained within the attended stimulus, or might spatial attention selectively enhance the features relevant to the observer’s task? We used fMRI decoding methods to measure the strength of orientation-selective activity patterns in the human visual cortex while subjects performed either an orientation or contrast discrimination task, involving one of two laterally presented gratings. Greater overall BOLD activation with spatial attention was observed in areas V1-V4 for both tasks. However, multivariate pattern analysis revealed that orientation-selective responses were enhanced by attention only when orientation was the task-relevant feature, and not when the grating’s contrast had to be attended. In a second experiment, observers discriminated the orientation or color of a specific lateral grating. Here, orientation-selective responses were enhanced in both tasks but color-selective responses were enhanced only when color was task-relevant. In both experiments, task-specific enhancement of feature-selective activity was not confined to the attended stimulus location, but instead spread to other locations in the visual field, suggesting the concurrent involvement of a global feature-based attentional mechanism. These results suggest that attention can be remarkably selective in its ability to enhance particular task-relevant features, and further reveal that increases in overall BOLD amplitude are not necessarily accompanied by improved processing of stimulus information. PMID:21632942

  15. A novel test for evaluating horses' spontaneous visual attention is predictive of attention in operant learning tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rochais, C; Sébilleau, M; Houdebine, M; Bec, P; Hausberger, M; Henry, S

    2017-08-01

    Attention is described as the ability to process selectively one aspect of the environment over others. In this study, we characterized horses' spontaneous attention by designing a novel visual attention test (VAT) that is easy to apply in the animal's home environment. The test was repeated over three consecutive days and repeated again 6 months later in order to assess inter-individual variations and intra-individual stability. Different patterns of attention have been revealed: 'overall' attention when the horse merely gazed at the stimulus and 'fixed' attention characterized by fixity and orientation of at least the visual and auditory organs towards the stimulus. The individual attention characteristics remained consistent over time (after 6 months, Spearman correlation test, P attentional skills was assessed by comparing the results, for the same horses, with those obtained in both a 'classical' experimental attention test the 'five-choice serial reaction time task' (5-CSRTT) and a work situation (lunge working context). Our results revealed that (i) individual variations remained consistent across tests and (ii) the VAT attention measures were not only predictive of attentional skills but also of learning abilities. Differences appeared however between the first day of testing and the following test days: attention structure on the second day was predictive of learning abilities, attention performances in the 5-CSRRT and at work. The VAT appears as a promising easy-to-use tool to assess animals' attention characteristics and the impact of different factors of variation on attention.

  16. Vegetarianism and food perception. Selective visual attention to meat pictures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stockburger, Jessica; Renner, Britta; Weike, Almut I; Hamm, Alfons O; Schupp, Harald T

    2009-04-01

    Vegetarianism provides a model system to examine the impact of negative affect towards meat, based on ideational reasoning. It was hypothesized that meat stimuli are efficient attention catchers in vegetarians. Event-related brain potential recordings served to index selective attention processes at the level of initial stimulus perception. Consistent with the hypothesis, late positive potentials to meat pictures were enlarged in vegetarians compared to omnivores. This effect was specific for meat pictures and obtained during passive viewing and an explicit attention task condition. These findings demonstrate the attention capture of food stimuli, deriving affective salience from ideational reasoning and symbolic meaning.

  17. Repetition priming in selective attention

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Ásgeirsson, Árni Gunnar; Kristjánsson, Árni; Bundesen, Claus

    2015-01-01

    . Repeating target colors enhanced performance for all 12 observers. As predicted, this was only true under conditions that required selection of a target among distractors, but not when a target was presented alone. Model fits by TVA were obtained with a trial-by-trial maximum likelihood estimation procedure...

  18. Continuous Performance Tasks: Not Just about Sustaining Attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roebuck, Hettie; Freigang, Claudia; Barry, Johanna G.

    2016-01-01

    Purpose: Continuous performance tasks (CPTs) are used to measure individual differences in sustained attention. Many different stimuli have been used as response targets without consideration of their impact on task performance. Here, we compared CPT performance in typically developing adults and children to assess the role of stimulus processing…

  19. Household Task Participation of Children with and without Attentional Problems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dunn, Louise; Coster, Wendy J.; Orsmond, Gael I.; Cohn, Ellen S.

    2009-01-01

    Children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often demonstrate problems in their participation in family occupations, such as household tasks, due to their needs for assistance and their behavior. Because participation in household tasks is part of family life and may be one way that families prepare children for adult roles, it…

  20. Lesion Neuroanatomy of the Sustained Attention to Response Task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Molenberghs, Pascal; Gillebert, Celine R.; Schoofs, Hanne; Dupont, Patrick; Peeters, Ronald; Vandenberghe, Rik

    2009-01-01

    The Sustained Attention to Response task is a classical neuropsychological test that has been used by many centres to characterize the attentional deficits in traumatic brain injury, ADHD, autism and other disorders. During the SART a random series of digits 1-9 is presented repeatedly and subjects have to respond to each digit (go trial) except…

  1. Selective attention reduces physiological noise in the external ear canals of humans. I: Auditory attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, Kyle P.; Pasanen, Edward G.; McFadden, Dennis

    2014-01-01

    In this study, a nonlinear version of the stimulus-frequency OAE (SFOAE), called the nSFOAE, was used to measure cochlear responses from human subjects while they simultaneously performed behavioral tasks requiring, or not requiring, selective auditory attention. Appended to each stimulus presentation, and included in the calculation of each nSFOAE response, was a 30-ms silent period that was used to estimate the level of the inherent physiological noise in the ear canals of our subjects during each behavioral condition. Physiological-noise magnitudes were higher (noisier) for all subjects in the inattention task, and lower (quieter) in the selective auditory-attention tasks. These noise measures initially were made at the frequency of our nSFOAE probe tone (4.0 kHz), but the same attention effects also were observed across a wide range of frequencies. We attribute the observed differences in physiological-noise magnitudes between the inattention and attention conditions to different levels of efferent activation associated with the differing attentional demands of the behavioral tasks. One hypothesis is that when the attentional demand is relatively great, efferent activation is relatively high, and a decrease in the gain of the cochlear amplifier leads to lower-amplitude cochlear activity, and thus a smaller measure of noise from the ear. PMID:24732069

  2. Visual selective attention in amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLaughlin, Paula M; Anderson, Nicole D; Rich, Jill B; Chertkow, Howard; Murtha, Susan J E

    2014-11-01

    Subtle deficits in visual selective attention have been found in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI). However, few studies have explored performance on visual search paradigms or the Simon task, which are known to be sensitive to disease severity in Alzheimer's patients. Furthermore, there is limited research investigating how deficiencies can be ameliorated with exogenous support (auditory cues). Sixteen individuals with aMCI and 14 control participants completed 3 experimental tasks that varied in demand and cue availability: visual search-alerting, visual search-orienting, and Simon task. Visual selective attention was influenced by aMCI, auditory cues, and task characteristics. Visual search abilities were relatively consistent across groups. The aMCI participants were impaired on the Simon task when working memory was required, but conflict resolution was similar to controls. Spatially informative orienting cues improved response times, whereas spatially neutral alerting cues did not influence performance. Finally, spatially informative auditory cues benefited the aMCI group more than controls in the visual search task, specifically at the largest array size where orienting demands were greatest. These findings suggest that individuals with aMCI have working memory deficits and subtle deficiencies in orienting attention and rely on exogenous information to guide attention. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  3. Matching cue size and task properties in exogenous attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burnett, Katherine E; d'Avossa, Giovanni; Sapir, Ayelet

    2013-01-01

    Exogenous attention is an involuntary, reflexive orienting response that results in enhanced processing at the attended location. The standard view is that this enhancement generalizes across visual properties of a stimulus. We test whether the size of an exogenous cue sets the attentional field and whether this leads to different effects on stimuli with different visual properties. In a dual task with a random-dot kinematogram (RDK) in each quadrant of the screen, participants discriminated the direction of moving dots in one RDK and localized one red dot. Precues were uninformative and consisted of either a large or a small luminance-change frame. The motion discrimination task showed attentional effects following both large and small exogenous cues. The red dot probe localization task showed attentional effects following a small cue, but not a large cue. Two additional experiments showed that the different effects on localization were not due to reduced spatial uncertainty or suppression of RDK dots in the surround. These results indicate that the effects of exogenous attention depend on the size of the cue and the properties of the task, suggesting the involvement of receptive fields with different sizes in different tasks. These attentional effects are likely to be driven by bottom-up mechanisms in early visual areas.

  4. Sustained Selective Attention Skills of Preschool Children with Specific Language Impairment: Evidence for Separate Attentional Capacities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spaulding, Tammie J.; Plante, Elena; Vance, Rebecca

    2008-01-01

    Purpose: The present study was designed to investigate the performance of preschool children with specific language impairment (SLI) and their typically developing (TD) peers on sustained selective attention tasks. Method: This study included 23 children diagnosed with SLI and 23 TD children matched for age, gender, and maternal education level.…

  5. Development of Selective Attention in Reflective and Impulsive Children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weiner, Alan S.; Berzonsky, Michael D.

    Selective attention was assessed in second, fourth, and sixth grade reflective and impulsive children with an incidental learning task using pictures (animal-household object pairs) or shapes (colored forms) as stimuli. By the sixth grade, reflective children displayed less incidental learning and greater central learning than impulsive children…

  6. Distinguishing Different Strategies of Across-Dimension Attentional Selection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Liqiang; Pashler, Harold

    2012-01-01

    Selective attention in multidimensional displays has usually been examined using search tasks requiring the detection of a single target. We examined the ability to perceive a spatial structure in multi-item subsets of a display that were defined either conjunctively or disjunctively. Observers saw two adjacent displays and indicated whether the…

  7. Abnormal Selective Attention Normalizes P3 Amplitudes in PDD

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoeksma, Marco R.; Kemner, Chantal; Kenemans, J. Leon; van Engeland, Herman

    2006-01-01

    This paper studied whether abnormal P3 amplitudes in PDD are a corollary of abnormalities in ERP components related to selective attention in visual and auditory tasks. Furthermore, this study sought to clarify possible age differences in such abnormalities. Children with PDD showed smaller P3 amplitudes than controls, but no abnormalities in…

  8. Neural Mechanisms of Selective Visual Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, Tirin; Zirnsak, Marc

    2017-01-03

    Selective visual attention describes the tendency of visual processing to be confined largely to stimuli that are relevant to behavior. It is among the most fundamental of cognitive functions, particularly in humans and other primates for whom vision is the dominant sense. We review recent progress in identifying the neural mechanisms of selective visual attention. We discuss evidence from studies of different varieties of selective attention and examine how these varieties alter the processing of stimuli by neurons within the visual system, current knowledge of their causal basis, and methods for assessing attentional dysfunctions. In addition, we identify some key questions that remain in identifying the neural mechanisms that give rise to the selective processing of visual information.

  9. Growth hormone and selective attention : A review

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Quik, Elise H.; van Dam, P. Sytze; Kenemans, J. Leon

    Introduction: The relation between growth hormone (GH) secretion and general cognitive function has been established. General cognitive functioning depends on core functions including selective attention, which have not been addressed specifically in relation to GH. The present review addresses

  10. Selective attention to smoking cues in former smokers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rehme, Anne K; Bey, Katharina; Frommann, Ingo; Mogg, Karin; Bradley, Brendan P; Bludau, Julia; Block, Verena; Sträter, Birgitta; Schütz, Christian G; Wagner, Michael

    2018-02-01

    Repeated drug use modifies the emotional and cognitive processing of drug-associated cues. These changes are supposed to persist even after prolonged abstinence. Several studies demonstrated that smoking cues selectively attract the attention of smokers, but empirical evidence for such an attentional bias among successful quitters is inconclusive. Here, we investigated whether attentional biases persist after smoking cessation. Thirty-eight former smokers, 34 current smokers, and 29 non-smokers participated in a single experimental session. We used three measures of attentional bias for smoking stimuli: A visual probe task with short (500ms) and long (2000ms) picture stimulus durations, and a modified Stroop task with smoking-related and neutral words. Former smokers and current smokers, as compared to non-smokers, showed an attentional bias in visual orienting to smoking pictures in the 500ms condition of the visual probe task. The Stroop interference index of smoking words was negatively related to nicotine dependence in current smokers. Former smokers and mildly dependent smokers, as compared to non-smokers, showed increased interference by smoking words in the Stroop task. Neither current nor former smokers showed an attentional bias in maintained attention (2000ms visual probe task). In conclusion, even after prolonged abstinence smoking cues retain incentive salience in former smokers, who differed from non-smokers on two attentional bias indices. Attentional biases in former smokers operate mainly in early involuntary rather than in controlled processing, and may represent a vulnerability factor for relapse. Therefore, smoking cessation programs should strengthen self-control abilities to prevent relapses. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. and ECNP. All rights reserved.

  11. Impaired Attentional Control in Pedophiles in a Sexual Distractor Task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, Kirsten; Fromberger, Peter; von Herder, Jakob; Steinkrauss, Henrike; Nemetschek, Rebekka; Witzel, Joachim; Müller, Jürgen L.

    2016-01-01

    Pedophilic disorder, a subtype of paraphilia, is defined as a recurrent sexual interest in prepubescent children, which is characterized by persistent thoughts, fantasies, urges, sexual arousal, or behavior. Besides a deviant sexual preference, sexual preoccupation was found to be a dynamic risk factor for reoffending. Thus, it is conceivable that sex offenders and especially sex offenders against children have difficulties to control their responses to sexual stimuli. In the current study pedophiles, forensic and non-forensic control subjects had to solve a cognitive task, while sexual distractors were presented simultaneously. This kind of task also requires control functions. Therefore, data were analyzed with respect to attentional control while comparing eye movements toward sexual distractors and toward the cognitive task. We were mainly interested in how early (fixation latency) and late (relative fixation time) attentional processes were allocated to both, the cognitive target stimuli and the sexual distractors. Pedophiles demonstrated significantly lower attentional control in the sexual distractor task than both control groups (non-pedophiles). They showed a shorter fixation latency and longer fixation time for sexual distractors than non-pedophiles. Furthermore, pedophiles demonstrated a longer fixation latency and shorter fixation time for cognitive target stimuli. For classification analyses, an attentional control index (ACI) was built, i.e., the difference between eye movements on cognitive target stimuli and sexual distractors. For the ACI of early attentional processes, i.e., fixation latency, a good classification between pedophiles and non-pedophiles was found. We assumed that the measured attentional control represents inhibitory executive functions, specifically interference control. Further studies should examine if low attentional control in pedophiles is due to low motivation to solve the task or rather to a lack of ability to control

  12. Neural effects of cognitive control load on auditory selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabri, Merav; Humphries, Colin; Verber, Matthew; Liebenthal, Einat; Binder, Jeffrey R; Mangalathu, Jain; Desai, Anjali

    2014-08-01

    Whether and how working memory disrupts or alters auditory selective attention is unclear. We compared simultaneous event-related potentials (ERP) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) responses associated with task-irrelevant sounds across high and low working memory load in a dichotic-listening paradigm. Participants performed n-back tasks (1-back, 2-back) in one ear (Attend ear) while ignoring task-irrelevant speech sounds in the other ear (Ignore ear). The effects of working memory load on selective attention were observed at 130-210ms, with higher load resulting in greater irrelevant syllable-related activation in localizer-defined regions in auditory cortex. The interaction between memory load and presence of irrelevant information revealed stronger activations primarily in frontal and parietal areas due to presence of irrelevant information in the higher memory load. Joint independent component analysis of ERP and fMRI data revealed that the ERP component in the N1 time-range is associated with activity in superior temporal gyrus and medial prefrontal cortex. These results demonstrate a dynamic relationship between working memory load and auditory selective attention, in agreement with the load model of attention and the idea of common neural resources for memory and attention. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Selective Attention to Emotion in the Aging Brain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R.; Robertson, Elaine R.; Mikels, Joseph A.; Carstensen, Laura L.; Gotlib, Ian H.

    2009-01-01

    A growing body of research suggests that the ability to regulate emotion remains stable or improves across the adult life span. Socioemotional selectivity theory maintains that this pattern of findings reflects the prioritization of emotional goals. Given that goal-directed behavior requires attentional control, the present study was designed to investigate age differences in selective attention to emotional lexical stimuli under conditions of emotional interference. Both neural and behavioral measures were obtained during an experiment in which participants completed a flanker task that required them to make categorical judgments about emotional and non-emotional stimuli. Older adults showed interference in both the behavioral and neural measures on control trials, but not on emotion trials. Although older adults typically show relatively high levels of interference and reduced cognitive control during non-emotional tasks, they appear to be able successfully to reduce interference during emotional tasks. PMID:19739908

  14. The effects of selective and divided attention on sensory precision and integration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Odegaard, Brian; Wozny, David R; Shams, Ladan

    2016-02-12

    In our daily lives, our capacity to selectively attend to stimuli within or across sensory modalities enables enhanced perception of the surrounding world. While previous research on selective attention has studied this phenomenon extensively, two important questions still remain unanswered: (1) how selective attention to a single modality impacts sensory integration processes, and (2) the mechanism by which selective attention improves perception. We explored how selective attention impacts performance in both a spatial task and a temporal numerosity judgment task, and employed a Bayesian Causal Inference model to investigate the computational mechanism(s) impacted by selective attention. We report three findings: (1) in the spatial domain, selective attention improves precision of the visual sensory representations (which were relatively precise), but not the auditory sensory representations (which were fairly noisy); (2) in the temporal domain, selective attention improves the sensory precision in both modalities (both of which were fairly reliable to begin with); (3) in both tasks, selective attention did not exert a significant influence over the tendency to integrate sensory stimuli. Therefore, it may be postulated that a sensory modality must possess a certain inherent degree of encoding precision in order to benefit from selective attention. It also appears that in certain basic perceptual tasks, the tendency to integrate crossmodal signals does not depend significantly on selective attention. We conclude with a discussion of how these results relate to recent theoretical considerations of selective attention. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Sustained attention in adult ADHD : time-on-task effects of various measures of attention

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tucha, Lara; Fuermaier, Anselm B.M.; Koerts, Janneke; Buggenthin, Rieka; Aschenbrenner, Steffen; Weisbrod, Matthias; Thome, Johannes; Lange, Klaus W.; Tucha, Oliver

    Neuropsychological research on adults with ADHD showed deficits in various aspects of attention. However, the majority of studies failed to explore the change of performance over time, so-called time-on-task effects. As a consequence, little is known about sustained attention performance of adults

  16. Prefrontal contributions to visual selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squire, Ryan F; Noudoost, Behrad; Schafer, Robert J; Moore, Tirin

    2013-07-08

    The faculty of attention endows us with the capacity to process important sensory information selectively while disregarding information that is potentially distracting. Much of our understanding of the neural circuitry underlying this fundamental cognitive function comes from neurophysiological studies within the visual modality. Past evidence suggests that a principal function of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is selective attention and that this function involves the modulation of sensory signals within posterior cortices. In this review, we discuss recent progress in identifying the specific prefrontal circuits controlling visual attention and its neural correlates within the primate visual system. In addition, we examine the persisting challenge of precisely defining how behavior should be affected when attentional function is lost.

  17. Enhancing perceptual and attentional skills requires common demands between the action video games and transfer tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oei, Adam C.; Patterson, Michael D.

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing evidence that shows action video game play improves perceptual and cognitive skills, the mechanisms of transfer are not well-understood. In line with previous work, we suggest that transfer is dependent upon common demands between the game and transfer task. In the current study, participants played one of four action games with varying speed, visual, and attentional demands for 20 h. We examined whether training enhanced performance for attentional blink, selective attention, attending to multiple items, visual search and auditory detection. Non-gamers who played the game (Modern Combat) with the highest demands showed transfer to tasks of attentional blink and attending to multiple items. The game (MGS Touch) with fewer attentional demands also decreased attentional blink, but to a lesser degree. Other games failed to show transfer, despite having many action game characteristics but at a reduced intensity. The results support the common demands hypothesis. PMID:25713551

  18. Enhancing perceptual and attentional skills requires common demands between the action video games and transfer tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oei, Adam C; Patterson, Michael D

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing evidence that shows action video game play improves perceptual and cognitive skills, the mechanisms of transfer are not well-understood. In line with previous work, we suggest that transfer is dependent upon common demands between the game and transfer task. In the current study, participants played one of four action games with varying speed, visual, and attentional demands for 20 h. We examined whether training enhanced performance for attentional blink, selective attention, attending to multiple items, visual search and auditory detection. Non-gamers who played the game (Modern Combat) with the highest demands showed transfer to tasks of attentional blink and attending to multiple items. The game (MGS Touch) with fewer attentional demands also decreased attentional blink, but to a lesser degree. Other games failed to show transfer, despite having many action game characteristics but at a reduced intensity. The results support the common demands hypothesis.

  19. Enhancing perceptual and attentional skills requires common demands between the action video games and transfer tasks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam C Oei

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Despite increasing evidence that shows action video game play improves perceptual and cognitive skills, the mechanisms of transfer are not well understood. In line with previous work, we suggest that transfer is dependent upon common demands between the game and transfer task. In the current study, participants played one of four action games with varying speed, visual, and attentional demands for twenty hours. We examined whether training enhanced performance for attentional blink, selective attention, attending to multiple items, visual search and auditory detection. Non-gamers who played the game (Modern Combat with the highest demands showed transfer to tasks of attentional blink and attending to multiple items. The game (MGS Touch with fewer attentional demands also decreased attentional blink, but to a lesser degree. Other games failed to show transfer, despite having many action game characteristics but at a reduced intensity. The results support the common demands hypothesis

  20. Selective attention reduces physiological noise in the external ear canals of humans. II: Visual attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walsh, Kyle P.; Pasanen, Edward G.; McFadden, Dennis

    2014-01-01

    Human subjects performed in several behavioral conditions requiring, or not requiring, selective attention to visual stimuli. Specifically, the attentional task was to recognize strings of digits that had been presented visually. A nonlinear version of the stimulus-frequency otoacoustic emission (SFOAE), called the nSFOAE, was collected during the visual presentation of the digits. The segment of the physiological response discussed here occurred during brief silent periods immediately following the SFOAE-evoking stimuli. For all subjects tested, the physiological-noise magnitudes were substantially weaker (less noisy) during the tasks requiring the most visual attention. Effect sizes for the differences were >2.0. Our interpretation is that cortico-olivo influences adjusted the magnitude of efferent activation during the SFOAE-evoking stimulation depending upon the attention task in effect, and then that magnitude of efferent activation persisted throughout the silent period where it also modulated the physiological noise present. Because the results were highly similar to those obtained when the behavioral conditions involved auditory attention, similar mechanisms appear to operate both across modalities and within modalities. Supplementary measurements revealed that the efferent activation was spectrally global, as it was for auditory attention. PMID:24732070

  1. The Attentional Boost Effect: Transient increases in attention to one task enhance performance in a second task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swallow, Khena M; Jiang, Yuhong V

    2010-04-01

    Recent work on event perception suggests that perceptual processing increases when events change. An important question is how such changes influence the way other information is processed, particularly during dual-task performance. In this study, participants monitored a long series of distractor items for an occasional target as they simultaneously encoded unrelated background scenes. The appearance of an occasional target could have two opposite effects on the secondary task: It could draw attention away from the second task, or, as a change in the ongoing event, it could improve secondary task performance. Results were consistent with the second possibility. Memory for scenes presented simultaneously with the targets was better than memory for scenes that preceded or followed the targets. This effect was observed when the primary detection task involved visual feature oddball detection, auditory oddball detection, and visual color-shape conjunction detection. It was eliminated when the detection task was omitted, and when it required an arbitrary response mapping. The appearance of occasional, task-relevant events appears to trigger a temporal orienting response that facilitates processing of concurrently attended information (Attentional Boost Effect). Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Selective Attention and Inhibitory Deficits in ADHD: Does Subtype or Comorbidity Modulate Negative Priming Effects?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pritchard, Verena E.; Neumann, Ewald; Rucklidge, Julia J.

    2008-01-01

    Selective attention has durable consequences for behavior and neural activation. Negative priming (NP) effects are assumed to reflect a critical inhibitory component of selective attention. The performance of adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was assessed across two conceptually based NP tasks within a selective…

  3. The fate of task-irrelevant visual motion: perceptual load versus feature-based attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taya, Shuichiro; Adams, Wendy J; Graf, Erich W; Lavie, Nilli

    2009-11-18

    We tested contrasting predictions derived from perceptual load theory and from recent feature-based selection accounts. Observers viewed moving, colored stimuli and performed low or high load tasks associated with one stimulus feature, either color or motion. The resultant motion aftereffect (MAE) was used to evaluate attentional allocation. We found that task-irrelevant visual features received less attention than co-localized task-relevant features of the same objects. Moreover, when color and motion features were co-localized yet perceived to belong to two distinct surfaces, feature-based selection was further increased at the expense of object-based co-selection. Load theory predicts that the MAE for task-irrelevant motion would be reduced with a higher load color task. However, this was not seen for co-localized features; perceptual load only modulated the MAE for task-irrelevant motion when this was spatially separated from the attended color location. Our results suggest that perceptual load effects are mediated by spatial selection and do not generalize to the feature domain. Feature-based selection operates to suppress processing of task-irrelevant, co-localized features, irrespective of perceptual load.

  4. Selective attention in normal and impaired hearing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara G; Best, Virginia

    2008-12-01

    A common complaint among listeners with hearing loss (HL) is that they have difficulty communicating in common social settings. This article reviews how normal-hearing listeners cope in such settings, especially how they focus attention on a source of interest. Results of experiments with normal-hearing listeners suggest that the ability to selectively attend depends on the ability to analyze the acoustic scene and to form perceptual auditory objects properly. Unfortunately, sound features important for auditory object formation may not be robustly encoded in the auditory periphery of HL listeners. In turn, impaired auditory object formation may interfere with the ability to filter out competing sound sources. Peripheral degradations are also likely to reduce the salience of higher-order auditory cues such as location, pitch, and timbre, which enable normal-hearing listeners to select a desired sound source out of a sound mixture. Degraded peripheral processing is also likely to increase the time required to form auditory objects and focus selective attention so that listeners with HL lose the ability to switch attention rapidly (a skill that is particularly important when trying to participate in a lively conversation). Finally, peripheral deficits may interfere with strategies that normal-hearing listeners employ in complex acoustic settings, including the use of memory to fill in bits of the conversation that are missed. Thus, peripheral hearing deficits are likely to cause a number of interrelated problems that challenge the ability of HL listeners to communicate in social settings requiring selective attention.

  5. Stress improves selective attention towards emotionally neutral left ear stimuli.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoskin, Robert; Hunter, M D; Woodruff, P W R

    2014-09-01

    Research concerning the impact of psychological stress on visual selective attention has produced mixed results. The current paper describes two experiments which utilise a novel auditory oddball paradigm to test the impact of psychological stress on auditory selective attention. Participants had to report the location of emotionally-neutral auditory stimuli, while ignoring task-irrelevant changes in their content. The results of the first experiment, in which speech stimuli were presented, suggested that stress improves the ability to selectively attend to left, but not right ear stimuli. When this experiment was repeated using tonal stimuli the same result was evident, but only for female participants. Females were also found to experience greater levels of distraction in general across the two experiments. These findings support the goal-shielding theory which suggests that stress improves selective attention by reducing the attentional resources available to process task-irrelevant information. The study also demonstrates, for the first time, that this goal-shielding effect extends to auditory perception. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Subjective cognitive impairment: functional MRI during a divided attention task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodda, J; Dannhauser, T; Cutinha, D J; Shergill, S S; Walker, Z

    2011-10-01

    Individuals with subjective cognitive impairment (SCI) have persistent memory complaints but normal neurocognitive performance. For some, this may represent a pre-mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Given that attentional deficits and associated brain activation changes are present early in the course of AD, we aimed to determine whether SCI is associated with brain activation changes during attentional processing. Eleven SCI subjects and 10 controls completed a divided attention task during functional magnetic resonance imaging. SCI and control groups did not differ in sociodemographic, neurocognitive or behavioural measures. When group activation during the divided attention task was compared, the SCI group demonstrated increased activation in left medial temporal lobe, bilateral thalamus, posterior cingulate and caudate. This pattern of increased activation is similar to the pattern of decreased activation reported during divided attention in AD and may indicate compensatory changes. These findings suggest the presence of early functional changes in SCI; longitudinal studies will help to further elucidate the relationship between SCI and AD. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.

  7. Performance effects of nicotine during selective attention, divided attention, and simple stimulus detection: an fMRI study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hahn, Britta; Ross, Thomas J; Wolkenberg, Frank A; Shakleya, Diaa M; Huestis, Marilyn A; Stein, Elliot A

    2009-09-01

    Attention-enhancing effects of nicotine appear to depend on the nature of the attentional function. Underlying neuroanatomical mechanisms, too, may vary depending on the function modulated. This functional magnetic resonance imaging study recorded blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) activity in minimally deprived smokers during tasks of simple stimulus detection, selective attention, or divided attention after single-blind application of a transdermal nicotine (21 mg) or placebo patch. Smokers' performance in the placebo condition was unimpaired as compared with matched nonsmokers. Nicotine reduced reaction time (RT) in the stimulus detection and selective attention but not divided attention condition. Across all task conditions, nicotine reduced activation in frontal, temporal, thalamic, and visual regions and enhanced deactivation in so-called "default" regions. Thalamic effects correlated with RT reduction selectively during stimulus detection. An interaction with task condition was observed in middle and superior frontal gyri, where nicotine reduced activation only during stimulus detection. A visuomotor control experiment provided evidence against nonspecific effects of nicotine. In conclusion, although prefrontal activity partly displayed differential modulation by nicotine, most BOLD effects were identical across tasks, despite differential performance effects, suggesting that common neuronal mechanisms can selectively benefit different attentional functions. Overall, the effects of nicotine may be explained by increased functional efficiency and downregulated task-independent "default" functions.

  8. Residual attentional capacity amongst young and elderly during dual and triple task walking

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Læssøe, Uffe; Hoeck, Hans C.; Simonsen, Ole

    2008-01-01

    to the cognitive task the elderly increased their temporal stride-to-stride variability by 39% in the walking task and by 57% in the combined motor task. These increases were significantly larger than observed for the young. Equivalent decreases in trunk acceleration autocorrelation coefficients and gait speed...... in the study. The participants walked along a figure-of-eight track at a self-selected speed. The effect of introducing a concurrent cognitive task and a concurrent functional motor task was evaluated. Stride-to-stride variability was measured by heel contacts and by trunk accelerometry. In response...... were found. A combination of sufficiently challenging motor tasks and concurrent cognitive tasks can reveal signs of limited residual attentional capacity during walking amongst the elderly....

  9. Selective Attention to Auditory Memory Neurally Enhances Perceptual Precision.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lim, Sung-Joo; Wöstmann, Malte; Obleser, Jonas

    2015-12-09

    Selective attention to a task-relevant stimulus facilitates encoding of that stimulus into a working memory representation. It is less clear whether selective attention also improves the precision of a stimulus already represented in memory. Here, we investigate the behavioral and neural dynamics of selective attention to representations in auditory working memory (i.e., auditory objects) using psychophysical modeling and model-based analysis of electroencephalographic signals. Human listeners performed a syllable pitch discrimination task where two syllables served as to-be-encoded auditory objects. Valid (vs neutral) retroactive cues were presented during retention to allow listeners to selectively attend to the to-be-probed auditory object in memory. Behaviorally, listeners represented auditory objects in memory more precisely (expressed by steeper slopes of a psychometric curve) and made faster perceptual decisions when valid compared to neutral retrocues were presented. Neurally, valid compared to neutral retrocues elicited a larger frontocentral sustained negativity in the evoked potential as well as enhanced parietal alpha/low-beta oscillatory power (9-18 Hz) during memory retention. Critically, individual magnitudes of alpha oscillatory power (7-11 Hz) modulation predicted the degree to which valid retrocues benefitted individuals' behavior. Our results indicate that selective attention to a specific object in auditory memory does benefit human performance not by simply reducing memory load, but by actively engaging complementary neural resources to sharpen the precision of the task-relevant object in memory. Can selective attention improve the representational precision with which objects are held in memory? And if so, what are the neural mechanisms that support such improvement? These issues have been rarely examined within the auditory modality, in which acoustic signals change and vanish on a milliseconds time scale. Introducing a new auditory memory

  10. Spatial Scaling of the Profile of Selective Attention in the Visual Field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gannon, Matthew A; Knapp, Ashley A; Adams, Thomas G; Long, Stephanie M; Parks, Nathan A

    2016-01-01

    Neural mechanisms of selective attention must be capable of adapting to variation in the absolute size of an attended stimulus in the ever-changing visual environment. To date, little is known regarding how attentional selection interacts with fluctuations in the spatial expanse of an attended object. Here, we use event-related potentials (ERPs) to investigate the scaling of attentional enhancement and suppression across the visual field. We measured ERPs while participants performed a task at fixation that varied in its attentional demands (attentional load) and visual angle (1.0° or 2.5°). Observers were presented with a stream of task-relevant stimuli while foveal, parafoveal, and peripheral visual locations were probed by irrelevant distractor stimuli. We found two important effects in the N1 component of visual ERPs. First, N1 modulations to task-relevant stimuli indexed attentional selection of stimuli during the load task and further correlated with task performance. Second, with increased task size, attentional modulation of the N1 to distractor stimuli showed a differential pattern that was consistent with a scaling of attentional selection. Together, these results demonstrate that the size of an attended stimulus scales the profile of attentional selection across the visual field and provides insights into the attentional mechanisms associated with such spatial scaling.

  11. Spatial Scaling of the Profile of Selective Attention in the Visual Field.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthew A Gannon

    Full Text Available Neural mechanisms of selective attention must be capable of adapting to variation in the absolute size of an attended stimulus in the ever-changing visual environment. To date, little is known regarding how attentional selection interacts with fluctuations in the spatial expanse of an attended object. Here, we use event-related potentials (ERPs to investigate the scaling of attentional enhancement and suppression across the visual field. We measured ERPs while participants performed a task at fixation that varied in its attentional demands (attentional load and visual angle (1.0° or 2.5°. Observers were presented with a stream of task-relevant stimuli while foveal, parafoveal, and peripheral visual locations were probed by irrelevant distractor stimuli. We found two important effects in the N1 component of visual ERPs. First, N1 modulations to task-relevant stimuli indexed attentional selection of stimuli during the load task and further correlated with task performance. Second, with increased task size, attentional modulation of the N1 to distractor stimuli showed a differential pattern that was consistent with a scaling of attentional selection. Together, these results demonstrate that the size of an attended stimulus scales the profile of attentional selection across the visual field and provides insights into the attentional mechanisms associated with such spatial scaling.

  12. Endogenous attention modulates early selective attention in psychopathy: An ERP investigation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krusemark, Elizabeth A; Kiehl, Kent A; Newman, Joseph P

    2016-10-01

    Psychopathic individuals are prone to act on urges without adequate consideration of future consequences or the rights of other individuals. One interpretation of this behavior is that it reflects abnormal selective attention (i.e., a failure to process information that is incongruent with their primary focus of attention; Hiatt, Schmitt, & Newman, Neuropsychology, 18, 50-59, 2004). Unfortunately, it is unclear whether this selective attention abnormality reflects top-down endogenous influences, such as the strength or specificity of attention focus (i.e., top-down set) apart from other, more exogenous (bottom-up), effects on attention. To explore this question, we used an early visual event-related potential (N2pc) in combination with a modified visual search task designed to assess the effect of early endogenous (i.e., top-down) attention on the processing of set-congruent information. The task was administered to a sample of 70 incarcerated adult males, who were assigned to high, intermediate, and low psychopathy groups using Hare's Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (Hare, 2003). Based on the assumption that their failure to process set-incongruent information reflects the exaggerated effects of endogenous attention, we predicted that participants with high psychopathy scores would show an exaggerated N2pc response to set-congruent information. The results supported the hypothesis and provide novel electrophysiological evidence that psychopathy is associated with exaggerated endogenous attention effects during early stages of processing. Further research is needed to examine the implications of this finding for the well-established failure of psychopathic individuals to process set-incongruent information and inhibit inappropriate responses.

  13. The Influence of Selective and Divided Attention on Audiovisual Integration in Children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Weiping; Ren, Yanna; Yang, Dan Ou; Yuan, Xue; Wu, Jinglong

    2016-01-24

    This article aims to investigate whether there is a difference in audiovisual integration in school-aged children (aged 6 to 13 years; mean age = 9.9 years) between the selective attention condition and divided attention condition. We designed a visual and/or auditory detection task that included three blocks (divided attention, visual-selective attention, and auditory-selective attention). The results showed that the response to bimodal audiovisual stimuli was faster than to unimodal auditory or visual stimuli under both divided attention and auditory-selective attention conditions. However, in the visual-selective attention condition, no significant difference was found between the unimodal visual and bimodal audiovisual stimuli in response speed. Moreover, audiovisual behavioral facilitation effects were compared between divided attention and selective attention (auditory or visual attention). In doing so, we found that audiovisual behavioral facilitation was significantly difference between divided attention and selective attention. The results indicated that audiovisual integration was stronger in the divided attention condition than that in the selective attention condition in children. Our findings objectively support the notion that attention can modulate audiovisual integration in school-aged children. Our study might offer a new perspective for identifying children with conditions that are associated with sustained attention deficit, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. © The Author(s) 2016.

  14. Functional connectivity of parietal cortex during temporal selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tyler, Sarah C; Dasgupta, Samhita; Agosta, Sara; Battelli, Lorella; Grossman, Emily D

    2015-04-01

    Perception of natural experiences requires allocation of attention towards features, objects, and events that are moving and changing over time. This allocation of attention is controlled by large-scale brain networks that, when damaged, cause widespread cognitive deficits. In particular, damage to ventral parietal cortex (right lateralized TPJ, STS, supramarginal and angular gyri) is associated with failures to selectively attend to and isolate features embedded within rapidly changing visual sequences (Battelli, Pascual-Leone, & Cavanagh, 2007; Husain, Shapiro, Martin, & Kennard, 1997). In this study, we used fMRI to investigate the neural activity and functional connectivity of intact parietal cortex while typical subjects judged the relative onsets and offsets of rapidly flickering tokens (a phase discrimination task in which right parietal patients are impaired). We found two regions in parietal cortex correlated with task performance: a bilateral posterior TPJ (pTPJ) and an anterior right-lateralized TPJ (R aTPJ). Both regions were deactivated when subjects engaged in the task but showed different patterns of functional connectivity. The bilateral pTPJ was strongly connected to nodes within the default mode network (DMN) and the R aTPJ was connected to the attention network. Accurate phase discriminations were associated with increased functional correlations between sensory cortex (hMT+) and the bilateral pTPJ, whereas accuracy on a control task was associated with yoked activity in the hMT+ and the R aTPJ. We conclude that temporal selective attention is particularly sensitive for revealing information pathways between sensory and core cognitive control networks that, when damaged, can lead to nonspatial attention impairments in right parietal stroke patients. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Attention, spatial integration, and the tail of response time distributions in Stroop task performance

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roelofs, A.P.A.

    2012-01-01

    A few studies have examined selective attention in Stroop task performance through ex-Gaussian analyses of response time (RT) distributions. It has remained unclear whether the tail of the RT distribution in vocal responding reflects spatial integration of relevant and irrelevant attributes, as

  16. Aging, selective attention, and feature integration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plude, D J; Doussard-Roosevelt, J A

    1989-03-01

    This study used feature-integration theory as a means of determining the point in processing at which selective attention deficits originate. The theory posits an initial stage of processing in which features are registered in parallel and then a serial process in which features are conjoined to form complex stimuli. Performance of young and older adults on feature versus conjunction search is compared. Analyses of reaction times and error rates suggest that elderly adults in addition to young adults, can capitalize on the early parallel processing stage of visual information processing, and that age decrements in visual search arise as a result of the later, serial stage of processing. Analyses of a third, unconfounded, conjunction search condition reveal qualitatively similar modes of conjunction search in young and older adults. The contribution of age-related data limitations is found to be secondary to the contribution of age decrements in selective attention.

  17. Impact of Auditory Selective Attention on Verbal Short-Term Memory and Vocabulary Development

    Science.gov (United States)

    Majerus, Steve; Heiligenstein, Lucie; Gautherot, Nathalie; Poncelet, Martine; Van der Linden, Martial

    2009-01-01

    This study investigated the role of auditory selective attention capacities as a possible mediator of the well-established association between verbal short-term memory (STM) and vocabulary development. A total of 47 6- and 7-year-olds were administered verbal immediate serial recall and auditory attention tasks. Both task types probed processing…

  18. The Speed of Feature-Based Attention: Attentional Advantage Is Slow, but Selection Is Fast

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Liqiang

    2010-01-01

    When paying attention to a feature (e.g., red), no attentional advantage is gained in perceiving items with this feature in very brief displays. Therefore, feature-based attention seems to be slow. In previous feature-based attention studies, attention has often been measured as the difference in performance in a secondary task. In our recent work…

  19. Using frequency tagging to quantify attentional deployment in a visual divided attention task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Toffanin, Paolo; de Jong, Ritske; Johnson, Addie; Martens, Sander

    2009-06-01

    Frequency tagging is an EEG method based on the quantification of the steady state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) elicited from stimuli which flicker with a distinctive frequency. Because the amplitude of the SSVEP is modulated by attention such that attended stimuli elicit higher SSVEP amplitudes than do ignored stimuli, the method has been used to investigate the neural mechanisms of spatial attention. However, up to now it has not been shown whether the amplitude of the SSVEP is sensitive to gradations of attention and there has been debate about whether attention effects on the SSVEP are dependent on the tagging frequency used. We thus compared attention effects on SSVEP across three attention conditions-focused, divided, and ignored-with six different tagging frequencies. Participants performed a visual detection task (respond to the digit 5 embedded in a stream of characters). Two stimulus streams, one to the left and one to the right of fixation, were displayed simultaneously, each with a background grey square whose hue was sine-modulated with one of the six tagging frequencies. At the beginning of each trial a cue indicated whether targets on the left, right, or both sides should be responded to. Accuracy was higher in the focused- than in the divided-attention condition. SSVEP amplitudes were greatest in the focused-attention condition, intermediate in the divided-attention condition, and smallest in the ignored-attention condition. The effect of attention on SSVEP amplitude did not depend on the tagging frequency used. Frequency tagging appears to be a flexible technique for studying attention.

  20. Object width modulates object-based attentional selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nah, Joseph C; Neppi-Modona, Marco; Strother, Lars; Behrmann, Marlene; Shomstein, Sarah

    2018-04-24

    Visual input typically includes a myriad of objects, some of which are selected for further processing. While these objects vary in shape and size, most evidence supporting object-based guidance of attention is drawn from paradigms employing two identical objects. Importantly, object size is a readily perceived stimulus dimension, and whether it modulates the distribution of attention remains an open question. Across four experiments, the size of the objects in the display was manipulated in a modified version of the two-rectangle paradigm. In Experiment 1, two identical parallel rectangles of two sizes (thin or thick) were presented. Experiments 2-4 employed identical trapezoids (each having a thin and thick end), inverted in orientation. In the experiments, one end of an object was cued and participants performed either a T/L discrimination or a simple target-detection task. Combined results show that, in addition to the standard object-based attentional advantage, there was a further attentional benefit for processing information contained in the thick versus thin end of objects. Additionally, eye-tracking measures demonstrated increased saccade precision towards thick object ends, suggesting that Fitts's Law may play a role in object-based attentional shifts. Taken together, these results suggest that object-based attentional selection is modulated by object width.

  1. Focusing on attention: the effects of working memory capacity and load on selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahmed, Lubna; de Fockert, Jan W

    2012-01-01

    Working memory (WM) is imperative for effective selective attention. Distractibility is greater under conditions of high (vs. low) concurrent working memory load (WML), and in individuals with low (vs. high) working memory capacity (WMC). In the current experiments, we recorded the flanker task performance of individuals with high and low WMC during low and high WML, to investigate the combined effect of WML and WMC on selective attention. In Experiment 1, distractibility from a distractor at a fixed distance from the target was greater when either WML was high or WMC was low, but surprisingly smaller when both WML was high and WMC low. Thus we observed an inverted-U relationship between reductions in WM resources and distractibility. In Experiment 2, we mapped the distribution of spatial attention as a function of WMC and WML, by recording distractibility across several target-to-distractor distances. The pattern of distractor effects across the target-to-distractor distances demonstrated that the distribution of the attentional window becomes dispersed as WM resources are limited. The attentional window was more spread out under high compared to low WML, and for low compared to high WMC individuals, and even more so when the two factors co-occurred (i.e., under high WML in low WMC individuals). The inverted-U pattern of distractibility effects in Experiment 1, replicated in Experiment 2, can thus be explained by differences in the spread of the attentional window as a function of WM resource availability. The current findings show that limitations in WM resources, due to either WML or individual differences in WMC, affect the spatial distribution of attention. The difference in attentional constraining between high and low WMC individuals demonstrated in the current experiments helps characterise the nature of previously established associations between WMC and controlled attention.

  2. Focusing on attention: the effects of working memory capacity and load on selective attention.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lubna Ahmed

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Working memory (WM is imperative for effective selective attention. Distractibility is greater under conditions of high (vs. low concurrent working memory load (WML, and in individuals with low (vs. high working memory capacity (WMC. In the current experiments, we recorded the flanker task performance of individuals with high and low WMC during low and high WML, to investigate the combined effect of WML and WMC on selective attention. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In Experiment 1, distractibility from a distractor at a fixed distance from the target was greater when either WML was high or WMC was low, but surprisingly smaller when both WML was high and WMC low. Thus we observed an inverted-U relationship between reductions in WM resources and distractibility. In Experiment 2, we mapped the distribution of spatial attention as a function of WMC and WML, by recording distractibility across several target-to-distractor distances. The pattern of distractor effects across the target-to-distractor distances demonstrated that the distribution of the attentional window becomes dispersed as WM resources are limited. The attentional window was more spread out under high compared to low WML, and for low compared to high WMC individuals, and even more so when the two factors co-occurred (i.e., under high WML in low WMC individuals. The inverted-U pattern of distractibility effects in Experiment 1, replicated in Experiment 2, can thus be explained by differences in the spread of the attentional window as a function of WM resource availability. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The current findings show that limitations in WM resources, due to either WML or individual differences in WMC, affect the spatial distribution of attention. The difference in attentional constraining between high and low WMC individuals demonstrated in the current experiments helps characterise the nature of previously established associations between WMC and controlled

  3. A new perspective on the perceptual selectivity of attention under load

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Giesbrecht, Barry; Sy, Jocelyn; Bundesen, Claus

    2014-01-01

    The human attention system helps us cope with a complex environment by supporting the selective processing of information relevant to our current goals. Understanding the perceptual, cognitive, and neural mechanisms that mediate selective attention is a core issue in cognitive neuroscience. One...... prominent model of selective attention, known as load theory, offers an account of how task demands determine when information is selected and an account of the efficiency of the selection process. However, load theory has several critical weaknesses that suggest that it is time for a new perspective. Here...... is integrated to provide efficient attentional selection and allocation of perceptual processing resources....

  4. Selective attention and recognition: effects of congruency on episodic learning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosner, Tamara M; D'Angelo, Maria C; MacLellan, Ellen; Milliken, Bruce

    2015-05-01

    Recent research on cognitive control has focused on the learning consequences of high selective attention demands in selective attention tasks (e.g., Botvinick, Cognit Affect Behav Neurosci 7(4):356-366, 2007; Verguts and Notebaert, Psychol Rev 115(2):518-525, 2008). The current study extends these ideas by examining the influence of selective attention demands on remembering. In Experiment 1, participants read aloud the red word in a pair of red and green spatially interleaved words. Half of the items were congruent (the interleaved words had the same identity), and the other half were incongruent (the interleaved words had different identities). Following the naming phase, participants completed a surprise recognition memory test. In this test phase, recognition memory was better for incongruent than for congruent items. In Experiment 2, context was only partially reinstated at test, and again recognition memory was better for incongruent than for congruent items. In Experiment 3, all of the items contained two different words, but in one condition the words were presented close together and interleaved, while in the other condition the two words were spatially separated. Recognition memory was better for the interleaved than for the separated items. This result rules out an interpretation of the congruency effects on recognition in Experiments 1 and 2 that hinges on stronger relational encoding for items that have two different words. Together, the results support the view that selective attention demands for incongruent items lead to encoding that improves recognition.

  5. Endogenously and exogenously driven selective sustained attention: Contributions to learning in kindergarten children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Lucy C; Thiessen, Erik D; Godwin, Karrie E; Dickerson, John P; Fisher, Anna V

    2015-10-01

    Selective sustained attention is vital for higher order cognition. Although endogenous and exogenous factors influence selective sustained attention, assessment of the degree to which these factors influence performance and learning is often challenging. We report findings from the Track-It task, a paradigm that aims to assess the contribution of endogenous and exogenous factors to selective sustained attention within the same task. Behavioral accuracy and eye-tracking data on the Track-It task were correlated with performance on an explicit learning task. Behavioral accuracy and fixations to distractors during the Track-It task did not predict learning when exogenous factors supported selective sustained attention. In contrast, when endogenous factors supported selective sustained attention, fixations to distractors were negatively correlated with learning. Similarly, when endogenous factors supported selective sustained attention, higher behavioral accuracy was correlated with greater learning. These findings suggest that endogenously and exogenously driven selective sustained attention, as measured through different conditions of the Track-It task, may support different kinds of learning. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Distracted and confused?: selective attention under load.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lavie, Nilli

    2005-02-01

    The ability to remain focused on goal-relevant stimuli in the presence of potentially interfering distractors is crucial for any coherent cognitive function. However, simply instructing people to ignore goal-irrelevant stimuli is not sufficient for preventing their processing. Recent research reveals that distractor processing depends critically on the level and type of load involved in the processing of goal-relevant information. Whereas high perceptual load can eliminate distractor processing, high load on "frontal" cognitive control processes increases distractor processing. These findings provide a resolution to the long-standing early and late selection debate within a load theory of attention that accommodates behavioural and neuroimaging data within a framework that integrates attention research with executive function.

  7. Selective attention increases choice certainty in human decision making.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zizlsperger, Leopold; Sauvigny, Thomas; Haarmeier, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Choice certainty is a probabilistic estimate of past performance and expected outcome. In perceptual decisions the degree of confidence correlates closely with choice accuracy and reaction times, suggesting an intimate relationship to objective performance. Here we show that spatial and feature-based attention increase human subjects' certainty more than accuracy in visual motion discrimination tasks. Our findings demonstrate for the first time a dissociation of choice accuracy and certainty with a significantly stronger influence of voluntary top-down attention on subjective performance measures than on objective performance. These results reveal a so far unknown mechanism of the selection process implemented by attention and suggest a unique biological valence of choice certainty beyond a faithful reflection of the decision process.

  8. Nicotine-induced enhancement of attention in the five-choice serial reaction time task: the influence of task demands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hahn, B; Shoaib, M; Stolerman, I P

    2002-07-01

    Beneficial effects of nicotine on cognitive processes including attention have potential therapeutic uses and have been proposed as incentives for tobacco smoking. To establish task conditions under which the effects of nicotine on attention are obtained reliably and to characterise such effects further. Rats were trained in a modified version of the five-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) to detect 1-s light stimuli with greater than 70% accuracy and fewer than 20% omission errors. Nicotine was tested under different task requirements by varying signal event rate, stimulus duration and stimulus predictability, and by introducing white-noise distractors. Nicotine (0.05-0.2 mg/kg, s.c.) repeatedly improved accuracy and reduced omission errors and reaction times, leading to increases in numbers of reinforcers earned. Anticipatory responding was increased. Parametric modifications intended to increase demands on sustained attention did not affect performance in a manner suggesting that this subtype of attention was being taxed, and the effects of nicotine were not more marked under such conditions. Shorter stimulus durations impaired performance, but this manipulation weakened the effect of nicotine on accuracy. In contrast, the presence of noise distractors facilitated the effects of nicotine to the extent that distractor-induced impairments were abolished by the drug. The 5-CSRTT can provide a sensitive rodent model for the attention-enhancing effects of nicotine. Changes made to the procedure may have increased its sensitivity to nicotine, particularly with respect to accuracy. There were indications that the effects of nicotine were largest on processes of selective attention or on disengaging attention from irrelevant events and shifting it to behaviourally significant stimuli.

  9. Emotion disrupts neural activity during selective attention in psychopathy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sadeh, Naomi; Spielberg, Jeffrey M; Heller, Wendy; Herrington, John D; Engels, Anna S; Warren, Stacie L; Crocker, Laura D; Sutton, Bradley P; Miller, Gregory A

    2013-03-01

    Dimensions of psychopathy are theorized to be associated with distinct cognitive and emotional abnormalities that may represent unique neurobiological risk factors for the disorder. This hypothesis was investigated by examining whether the psychopathic personality dimensions of fearless-dominance and impulsive-antisociality moderated neural activity and behavioral responses associated with selective attention and emotional processing during an emotion-word Stroop task in 49 adults. As predicted, the dimensions evidenced divergent selective-attention deficits and sensitivity to emotional distraction. Fearless-dominance was associated with disrupted attentional control to positive words, and activation in right superior frontal gyrus mediated the relationship between fearless-dominance and errors to positive words. In contrast, impulsive-antisociality evidenced increased behavioral interference to both positive and negative words and correlated positively with recruitment of regions associated with motivational salience (amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, insula), emotion regulation (temporal cortex, superior frontal gyrus) and attentional control (dorsal anterior cingulate cortex). Individuals high on both dimensions had increased recruitment of regions related to attentional control (temporal cortex, rostral anterior cingulate cortex), response preparation (pre-/post-central gyri) and motivational value (orbitofrontal cortex) in response to negative words. These findings provide evidence that the psychopathy dimensions represent dual sets of risk factors characterized by divergent dysfunction in cognitive and affective processes.

  10. Examining age-related differences in auditory attention control using a task-switching procedure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawo, Vera; Koch, Iring

    2014-03-01

    Using a novel task-switching variant of dichotic selective listening, we examined age-related differences in the ability to intentionally switch auditory attention between 2 speakers defined by their sex. In our task, young (M age = 23.2 years) and older adults (M age = 66.6 years) performed a numerical size categorization on spoken number words. The task-relevant speaker was indicated by a cue prior to auditory stimulus onset. The cuing interval was either short or long and varied randomly trial by trial. We found clear performance costs with instructed attention switches. These auditory attention switch costs decreased with prolonged cue-stimulus interval. Older adults were generally much slower (but not more error prone) than young adults, but switching-related effects did not differ across age groups. These data suggest that the ability to intentionally switch auditory attention in a selective listening task is not compromised in healthy aging. We discuss the role of modality-specific factors in age-related differences.

  11. Event-related potentials during visual selective attention in children of alcoholics.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Stelt, O.; Gunning, W.B.; Snel, J.; Kok, A.

    1998-01-01

    Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 50 7-18 yr old children of alcoholics (COAs) and 50 age- and sex-matched control children while they performed a visual selective attention task. The task was to attend selectively to stimuli with a specified color (red or blue) in an attempt to

  12. Attentional bias modification based on visual probe task: methodological issues, results and clinical relevance

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fernanda Machado Lopes

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: Attentional bias, the tendency that a person has to drive or maintain attention to a specific class of stimuli, may play an important role in the etiology and persistence of mental disorders. Attentional bias modification has been studied as a form of additional treatment related to automatic processing. Objectives: This systematic literature review compared and discussed methods, evidence of success and potential clinical applications of studies about attentional bias modification (ABM using a visual probe task. Methods: The Web of Knowledge, PubMed and PsycInfo were searched using the keywords attentional bias modification, attentional bias manipulation and attentional bias training. We selected empirical studies about ABM training using a visual probe task written in English and published between 2002 and 2014. Results: Fifty-seven studies met inclusion criteria. Most (78% succeeded in training attention in the predicted direction, and in 71% results were generalized to other measures correlated with the symptoms. Conclusions: ABM has potential clinical utility, but to standardize methods and maximize applicability, future studies should include clinical samples and be based on findings of studies about its effectiveness.

  13. Which Behavioral and Personality Characteristics Are Associated with Difficulties in Selective Attention?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Avisar, Alon

    2011-01-01

    Objective: The present study investigated the behavioral and personality profile associated with difficulties in selective attention. Method: A group of participants with ADHD were assessed for ADHD behaviors. Adults with ADHD (n = 22) and without ADHD (n = 84) were tested on the conjunctive visual-search task for selective attention and…

  14. Endogenously- and Exogenously-Driven Selective Sustained Attention: Contributions to Learning in Kindergarten Children

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erickson, Lucy C.; Thiessen, Erik D.; Godwin, Karrie E.; Dickerson, John P.; Fisher, Anna V.

    2015-01-01

    Selective sustained attention is vital for higher order cognition. Although endogenous and exogenous factors influence selective sustained attention, assessment of the degree to which these factors influence performance and learning is often challenging. We report findings from the Track-It task, a paradigm that aims to assess the contribution of…

  15. Selective Attention and Control of Action: Comparative Psychology of an Artificial, Evolved Agent and People

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Robert; Ward, Ronnie

    2008-01-01

    This study examined the selective attention abilities of a simple, artificial, evolved agent and considered implications of the agent's performance for theories of selective attention and action. The agent processed two targets in continuous time, catching one and then the other. This task required many cognitive operations, including prioritizing…

  16. Task Characteristics, Managerial Socialization, and Media Selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donabedian, Bairj; McKinnon, Sharon M.; Bruns, William J., Jr.

    1998-01-01

    Questions why managers choose one communication medium in preference to another. Proposes a role for social factors in media selection. Finds, employing a large field-collected sample, strong support for Information Richness Theory, a rational-choice model connecting managers' media choice to task characteristics like variety and analyzability.…

  17. Thalamic control of sensory selection in divided attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wimmer, Ralf D; Schmitt, L Ian; Davidson, Thomas J; Nakajima, Miho; Deisseroth, Karl; Halassa, Michael M

    2015-10-29

    How the brain selects appropriate sensory inputs and suppresses distractors is unknown. Given the well-established role of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in executive function, its interactions with sensory cortical areas during attention have been hypothesized to control sensory selection. To test this idea and, more generally, dissect the circuits underlying sensory selection, we developed a cross-modal divided-attention task in mice that allowed genetic access to this cognitive process. By optogenetically perturbing PFC function in a temporally precise window, the ability of mice to select appropriately between conflicting visual and auditory stimuli was diminished. Equivalent sensory thalamocortical manipulations showed that behaviour was causally dependent on PFC interactions with the sensory thalamus, not sensory cortex. Consistent with this notion, we found neurons of the visual thalamic reticular nucleus (visTRN) to exhibit PFC-dependent changes in firing rate predictive of the modality selected. visTRN activity was causal to performance as confirmed by bidirectional optogenetic manipulations of this subnetwork. Using a combination of electrophysiology and intracellular chloride photometry, we demonstrated that visTRN dynamically controls visual thalamic gain through feedforward inhibition. Our experiments introduce a new subcortical model of sensory selection, in which the PFC biases thalamic reticular subnetworks to control thalamic sensory gain, selecting appropriate inputs for further processing.

  18. Animacy and attentional processes: Evidence from the Stroop task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bugaiska, Aurélia; Grégoire, Laurent; Camblats, Anna-Malika; Gelin, Margaux; Méot, Alain; Bonin, Patrick

    2018-04-01

    In visual perception, evidence has shown that attention is captured earlier and held longer by animate than inanimate stimuli. The former are also remembered better than the latter. Thus, as far as attentional processes are concerned, animate entities have a privileged status over inanimate entities. We tested this hypothesis further using an adaptation of the Stroop paradigm. Adults had to categorise the colours of words that referred to either animate or inanimate concepts. In two experiments, we found that it took longer to process the ink colour of animate than inanimate words. Indeed, this effect was found when the words were presented in an oral animacy Stroop task (Experiment 1) and in a manual animacy Stroop task (Experiment 2). Using ex-Gaussian analyses and examining the distribution of RTs as a function of vincentiles per animacy condition, we did not find a specific localisation of the animacy effect. The findings are interpreted as providing further evidence that animates are prioritised in processing because their fitness value is higher than that of inanimates.

  19. Selective attention in peacocks during predator detection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yorzinski, Jessica L; Platt, Michael L

    2014-05-01

    Predation can exert strong selective pressure on the evolution of behavioral and morphological traits in birds. Because predator avoidance is key to survival and birds rely heavily on visual perception, predation may have shaped avian visual systems as well. To address this question, we examined the role of visual attention in antipredator behavior in peacocks (Pavo cristatus). Peacocks were exposed to a model predator while their gaze was continuously recorded with a telemetric eye-tracker. We found that peacocks spent more time looking at and made more fixations on the predator compared to the same spatial location before the predator was revealed. The duration of fixations they directed toward conspecifics and environmental features decreased after the predator was revealed, indicating that the peacocks were rapidly scanning their environment with their eyes. Maximum eye movement amplitudes and amplitudes of consecutive saccades were similar before and after the predator was revealed. In cases where conspecifics detected the predator first, peacocks appeared to learn that danger was present by observing conspecifics' antipredator behavior. Peacocks were faster to detect the predator when they were fixating closer to the area where the predator would eventually appear. In addition, pupil size increased after predator exposure, consistent with increased physiological arousal. These findings demonstrate that peacocks selectively direct their attention toward predatory threats and suggest that predation has influenced the evolution of visual orienting systems.

  20. Cholinergic enhancement reduces functional connectivity and BOLD variability in visual extrastriate cortex during selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ricciardi, Emiliano; Handjaras, Giacomo; Bernardi, Giulio; Pietrini, Pietro; Furey, Maura L

    2013-01-01

    Enhancing cholinergic function improves performance on various cognitive tasks and alters neural responses in task specific brain regions. We have hypothesized that the changes in neural activity observed during increased cholinergic function reflect an increase in neural efficiency that leads to improved task performance. The current study tested this hypothesis by assessing neural efficiency based on cholinergically-mediated effects on regional brain connectivity and BOLD signal variability. Nine subjects participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover fMRI study. Following an infusion of physostigmine (1 mg/h) or placebo, echo-planar imaging (EPI) was conducted as participants performed a selective attention task. During the task, two images comprised of superimposed pictures of faces and houses were presented. Subjects were instructed periodically to shift their attention from one stimulus component to the other and to perform a matching task using hand held response buttons. A control condition included phase-scrambled images of superimposed faces and houses that were presented in the same temporal and spatial manner as the attention task; participants were instructed to perform a matching task. Cholinergic enhancement improved performance during the selective attention task, with no change during the control task. Functional connectivity analyses showed that the strength of connectivity between ventral visual processing areas and task-related occipital, parietal and prefrontal regions reduced significantly during cholinergic enhancement, exclusively during the selective attention task. Physostigmine administration also reduced BOLD signal temporal variability relative to placebo throughout temporal and occipital visual processing areas, again during the selective attention task only. Together with the observed behavioral improvement, the decreases in connectivity strength throughout task-relevant regions and BOLD variability within stimulus

  1. Neural evidence reveals the rapid effects of reward history on selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacLean, Mary H; Giesbrecht, Barry

    2015-05-05

    Selective attention is often framed as being primarily driven by two factors: task-relevance and physical salience. However, factors like selection and reward history, which are neither currently task-relevant nor physically salient, can reliably and persistently influence visual selective attention. The current study investigated the nature of the persistent effects of irrelevant, physically non-salient, reward-associated features. These features affected one of the earliest reliable neural indicators of visual selective attention in humans, the P1 event-related potential, measured one week after the reward associations were learned. However, the effects of reward history were moderated by current task demands. The modulation of visually evoked activity supports the hypothesis that reward history influences the innate salience of reward associated features, such that even when no longer relevant, nor physically salient, these features have a rapid, persistent, and robust effect on early visual selective attention. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  2. Selective Attention, Diffused Attention, and the Development of Categorization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deng, Wei (Sophia); Sloutsky, Vladimir M.

    2016-01-01

    How do people learn categories and what changes with development? The current study attempts to address these questions by focusing on the role of attention in the development of categorization. In Experiment 1, participants (adults, 7-year-olds, and 4-year-olds) were trained with novel categories consisting of deterministic and probabilistic features, and their categorization and memory for features were tested. In Experiment 2, participants’ attention was directed to the deterministic feature, and in Experiment 3 it was directed to the probabilistic features. Attentional cuing affected categorization and memory in adults and 7-year-olds: these participants relied on the cued features in their categorization and exhibited better memory of cued than of non-cued features. In contrast, in 4-year-olds attentional cueing affected only categorization, but not memory: these participants exhibited equally good memory for both cued and non-cued features. Furthermore, across the experiments, 4-year-olds remembered non-cued features better than adults. These results coupled with computational simulations provide novel evidence (1) pointing to differences in category representation and mechanisms of categorization across development, (2) elucidating the role of attention in the development of categorization, and (3) suggesting an important distinction between representation and decision factors in categorization early in development. These issues are discussed with respect to theories of categorization and its development. PMID:27721103

  3. Selective attention, diffused attention, and the development of categorization.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deng, Wei Sophia; Sloutsky, Vladimir M

    2016-12-01

    How do people learn categories and what changes with development? The current study attempts to address these questions by focusing on the role of attention in the development of categorization. In Experiment 1, participants (adults, 7-year-olds, and 4-year-olds) were trained with novel categories consisting of deterministic and probabilistic features, and their categorization and memory for features were tested. In Experiment 2, participants' attention was directed to the deterministic feature, and in Experiment 3 it was directed to the probabilistic features. Attentional cueing affected categorization and memory in adults and 7-year-olds: these participants relied on the cued features in their categorization and exhibited better memory of cued than of non-cued features. In contrast, in 4-year-olds attentional cueing affected only categorization, but not memory: these participants exhibited equally good memory for both cued and non-cued features. Furthermore, across the experiments, 4-year-olds remembered non-cued features better than adults. These results coupled with computational simulations provide novel evidence (1) pointing to differences in category representation and mechanisms of categorization across development, (2) elucidating the role of attention in the development of categorization, and (3) suggesting an important distinction between representation and decision factors in categorization early in development. These issues are discussed with respect to theories of categorization and its development. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  4. Cognitive load selectively influences the interruptive effect of pain on attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moore, David J; Eccleston, Christopher; Keogh, Edmund

    2017-10-01

    Pain is known to interrupt attentional performance. Such interference effects seem to occur preferentially for tasks that are complex and/or difficult. However, few studies have directly manipulated memory load in the context of pain interference to test this view. Therefore, this study examines the effect of experimental manipulations of both memory load and pain on 3 tasks previously found to be sensitive to pain interference. Three experiments were conducted. A different task was examined in each experiment, each comprising of a high- and low-cognitive load versions of the task. Experiment 1 comprised an attention span (n-back) task, experiment 2 an attention switching task, and experiment 3 a divided attention task. Each task was conducted under painful and nonpainful conditions. Within the pain condition, an experimental thermal pain induction protocol was administered at the same time participants completed the task. The load manipulations were successful in all experiments. Pain-related interference occurred under the high-load condition but only for the attention span task. No effect of pain was found on either the attentional switching or divided attention task. These results suggest that while cognitive load may influence the interruptive effect of pain on attention, this effect may be selective. Because pain affected the high-load version of the n-back task but did not interrupt performance on attentional switching or dual-task paradigms, this means that our findings did not completely support our hypotheses. Future research should explore further the parameters and conditions under which pain-related interference occurs.

  5. Crossmodal effects of Guqin and piano music on selective attention: an event-related potential study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Weina; Zhang, Junjun; Ding, Xiaojun; Zhou, Changle; Ma, Yuanye; Xu, Dan

    2009-11-27

    To compare the effects of music from different cultural environments (Guqin: Chinese music; piano: Western music) on crossmodal selective attention, behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) data in a standard two-stimulus visual oddball task were recorded from Chinese subjects in three conditions: silence, Guqin music or piano music background. Visual task data were then compared with auditory task data collected previously. In contrast with the results of the auditory task, the early (N1) and late (P300) stages exhibited no differences between Guqin and piano backgrounds during the visual task. Taking our previous study and this study together, we can conclude that: although the cultural-familiar music influenced selective attention both in the early and late stages, these effects appeared only within a sensory modality (auditory) but not in cross-sensory modalities (visual). Thus, the musical cultural factor is more obvious in intramodal than in crossmodal selective attention.

  6. Deficient attention is hard to find: applying the perceptual load model of selective attention to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder subtypes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang-Pollock, Cynthia L; Nigg, Joel T; Carr, Thomas H

    2005-11-01

    Whether selective attention is a primary deficit in childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) remains in active debate. We used the perceptual load paradigm to examine both early and late selective attention in children with the Primarily Inattentive (ADHD-I) and Combined subtypes (ADHD-C) of ADHD. No evidence emerged for selective attention deficits in either of the subtypes, but sluggish cognitive tempo was associated with abnormal early selection. At least some, and possibly most, children with DSM-IV ADHD have normal selective attention. Results support the move away from theories of attention dysfunction as primary in ADHD-C. In ADHD-I, this was one of the first formal tests of posterior attention network dysfunction, and results did not support that theory. However, ADHD children with sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) warrant more study for possible early selective attention deficits.

  7. Central as well as peripheral attentional bottlenecks in dual-task performance activate lateral prefrontal cortices

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andre J Szameitat

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Human information processing suffers from severe limitations in parallel processing. In particular, when required to respond to two stimuli in rapid succession, processing bottlenecks may appear at central and peripheral stages of task processing. Importantly, it has been suggested that executive functions are needed to resolve the interference arising at such bottlenecks. The aims of the present study were to test whether central attentional limitations (i.e., bottleneck at the decisional response selection stage as well as peripheral limitations (i.e., bottleneck at response initiation both demand executive functions located in the lateral prefrontal cortex. For this, we re-analysed two previous studies, in which a total of 33 participants performed a dual-task according to the paradigm of the psychological refractory period (PRP during fMRI. In one study (N=17, the PRP task consisted of two two-choice response tasks known to suffer from a central bottleneck (CB group. In the other study (N=16, the PRP task consisted of two simple-response tasks known to suffer from a peripheral bottleneck (PB group. Both groups showed considerable dual-task costs in form of slowing of the second response in the dual-task (PRP effect. Imaging results are based on the subtraction of both single-tasks from the dual-task within each group. In the CB group, the bilateral middle frontal gyri and inferior frontal gyri were activated. Higher activation in these areas was associated with lower dual-task costs. In the PB group, the right middle frontal and inferior frontal gyrus were activated. Here, higher activation was associated with higher dual-task costs. In conclusion we suggest that central and peripheral bottlenecks both demand executive functions located in lateral prefrontal cortices. Differences between the CB and PB groups with respect to the exact prefrontal areas activated and the correlational patterns suggest that the executive functions resolving

  8. Mode of Interference, Set and Selective Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagen, John William; Zukier, Henry

    This study investigated the effects of distractors on children's task-relevant (central) and task-irrelevant (incidental) recall on a short term visual memory task involving pictures of familiar animals and household articles. The effect of mode of distractor (auditory or visual) and the effect of developmental level were also studied. Subjects…

  9. Attention demanding tasks during treadmill walking reduce step width variability in young adults

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Troy Karen L

    2005-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The variability of step time and step width is associated with falls by older adults. Further, step time is significantly influenced when performing attention demanding tasks while walking. Without exception, step time variability has been reported to increase in normal and pathologically aging older adults. Because of the role of step width in managing frontal plane dynamic stability, documenting the influence of attention-demanding tasks on step width variability may provide insight to events that can disturb dynamic stability during locomotion and increase fall risk. Preliminary evidence suggests performance of an attention demanding task significantly decreases step width variability of young adults walking on a treadmill. The purpose of the present study was to confirm or refute this finding by characterizing the extent and direction of the effects of a widely used attention demanding task (Stroop test on the step width variability of young adults walking on a motorized treadmill. Methods Fifteen healthy young adults walked on a motorized treadmill at a self-selected velocity for 10 minutes under two conditions; without performing an attention demanding task and while performing the Stroop test. Step width of continuous and consecutive steps during the collection was derived from the data recorded using a motion capture system. Step width variability was computed as the standard deviation of all recorded steps. Results Step width decreased four percent during performance of the Stroop test but the effect was not significant (p = 0.10. In contrast, the 16 percent decrease in step width variability during the Stroop test condition was significant (p = 0.029. Conclusion The results support those of our previous work in which a different attention demanding task also decreased step width variability of young subjects while walking on a treadmill. The decreased step width variability observed while performing an attention

  10. Functional localization and effective connectivity of cortical theta and alpha oscillatory activity during an attention task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yuichi Kitaura

    Full Text Available Objectives: The aim of this paper is to investigate cortical electric neuronal activity as an indicator of brain function, in a mental arithmetic task that requires sustained attention, as compared to the resting state condition. The two questions of interest are the cortical localization of different oscillatory activities, and the directional effective flow of oscillatory activity between regions of interest, in the task condition compared to resting state. In particular, theta and alpha activity are of interest here, due to their important role in attention processing. Methods: We adapted mental arithmetic as an attention ask in this study. Eyes closed 61-channel EEG was recorded in 14 participants during resting and in a mental arithmetic task (“serial sevens subtraction”. Functional localization and connectivity analyses were based on cortical signals of electric neuronal activity estimated with sLORETA (standardized low resolution electromagnetic tomography. Functional localization was based on the comparison of the cortical distributions of the generators of oscillatory activity between task and resting conditions. Assessment of effective connectivity was based on the iCoh (isolated effective coherence method, which provides an appropriate frequency decomposition of the directional flow of oscillatory activity between brain regions. Nine regions of interest comprising nodes from the dorsal and ventral attention networks were selected for the connectivity analysis. Results: Cortical spectral density distribution comparing task minus rest showed significant activity increase in medial prefrontal areas and decreased activity in left parietal lobe for the theta band, and decreased activity in parietal-occipital regions for the alpha1 band. At a global level, connections among right hemispheric nodes were predominantly decreased during the task condition, while connections among left hemispheric nodes were predominantly increased. At more

  11. Switching in the Cocktail Party: Exploring Intentional Control of Auditory Selective Attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Koch, Iring; Lawo, Vera; Fels, Janina; Vorlander, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Using a novel variant of dichotic selective listening, we examined the control of auditory selective attention. In our task, subjects had to respond selectively to one of two simultaneously presented auditory stimuli (number words), always spoken by a female and a male speaker, by performing a numerical size categorization. The gender of the…

  12. ATTENTIONAL NETWORKS AND SELECTIVE VISUAL SYSTEM

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    ALEJANDRO CASTILLO MORENO

    2006-05-01

    Full Text Available In this paper we checked the principal researches and theories to explain the attention system functioning.We are going to start reviewing along time about the concept of attention, from filter theories andresources distributor theories, to the current theories in which attention is conceived as a control system.From this last point of view, we will emphasize on the attentional networks theory of Posner, thatproposes different systems to explain diverse aspects of attention, but they are related to each other. Atlast in this paper, we will mention experimental results that have been important to characterize theselective attentional mechanisms of the human visual system, using the attentional spotlight model forthis aim.

  13. Deficient Attention Is Hard to Find: Applying the Perceptual Load Model of Selective Attention to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Subtypes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang-Pollock, Cynthia L.; Nigg, Joel T.; Carr, Thomas H.

    2005-01-01

    Background: Whether selective attention is a primary deficit in childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) remains in active debate. Methods: We used the "perceptual load" paradigm to examine both early and late selective attention in children with the Primarily Inattentive (ADHD-I) and Combined subtypes (ADHD-C) of ADHD. Results:…

  14. Selective Attention to Emotional Stimuli: What IQ and Openness Do, and Emotional Intelligence Does Not

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fiori, Marina; Antonakis, John

    2012-01-01

    We examined how general intelligence, personality, and emotional intelligence--measured as an ability using the MSCEIT--predicted performance on a selective-attention task requiring participants to ignore distracting emotion information. We used a visual prime in which participants saw a pair of faces depicting emotions; their task was to focus on…

  15. The Role of Executive Control of Attention and Selective Encoding for Preschoolers' Learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roderer, Thomas; Krebs, Saskia; Schmid, Corinne; Roebers, Claudia M.

    2012-01-01

    Selectivity in encoding, aspects of attentional control and their contribution to learning performance were explored in a sample of preschoolers. While the children are performing a learning task, their encoding of relevant and attention towards irrelevant information was recorded through an eye-tracking device. Recognition of target items was…

  16. Attention to Hierarchical Level Influences Attentional Selection of Spatial Scale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flevaris, Anastasia V.; Bentin, Shlomo; Robertson, Lynn C.

    2011-01-01

    Ample evidence suggests that global perception may involve low spatial frequency (LSF) processing and that local perception may involve high spatial frequency (HSF) processing (Shulman, Sullivan, Gish, & Sakoda, 1986; Shulman & Wilson, 1987; Robertson, 1996). It is debated whether SF selection is a low-level mechanism associating global…

  17. An Attentional Resources-effectiveness Measure in Complex Diagnostic Tasks in NPPs

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ha, Jun Su; Seong, Poong Hyun

    2007-01-01

    The main role of the human operators in main control rooms (MCRs) of nuclear power plants (NPPs) is generally to supervise and operate the system. The operator's tasks in NPPs are performed through a series of cognitive activities: monitoring the environment, detecting data or information, understanding and assessing the situation, diagnosing the symptoms, decision-making, planning responses, and implementing the responses. In NPPs, there are a lot of information sources that should be monitored but the operators have only limited capacity of attention and memory. Because it is impossible to monitor all information sources, the operators continuously decide where to allocate their attentional resources. This kind of cognitive skill is called selective attention. In order for operators to effectively monitor, detect, and thus understand the state of a system, the operator should allocate their attentional resources to valuable information sources. Hence, the effectiveness of selective attention is expected to be able to reflect the effectiveness of monitoring, detection, and eventually understanding. In this study, an attentional resources effectiveness measure is proposed which based on cost benefit (or resource-effectiveness) principle

  18. An Attentional Resources-effectiveness Measure in Complex Diagnostic Tasks in NPPs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ha, Jun Su; Seong, Poong Hyun [KAIST, Daejeon (Korea, Republic of)

    2007-07-01

    The main role of the human operators in main control rooms (MCRs) of nuclear power plants (NPPs) is generally to supervise and operate the system. The operator's tasks in NPPs are performed through a series of cognitive activities: monitoring the environment, detecting data or information, understanding and assessing the situation, diagnosing the symptoms, decision-making, planning responses, and implementing the responses. In NPPs, there are a lot of information sources that should be monitored but the operators have only limited capacity of attention and memory. Because it is impossible to monitor all information sources, the operators continuously decide where to allocate their attentional resources. This kind of cognitive skill is called selective attention. In order for operators to effectively monitor, detect, and thus understand the state of a system, the operator should allocate their attentional resources to valuable information sources. Hence, the effectiveness of selective attention is expected to be able to reflect the effectiveness of monitoring, detection, and eventually understanding. In this study, an attentional resources effectiveness measure is proposed which based on cost benefit (or resource-effectiveness) principle.

  19. An impaired attentional dwell time after parietal and frontal lesions related to impaired selective attention not unilateral neglect.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Correani, Alessia; Humphreys, Glyn W

    2011-07-01

    The attentional blink, a measure of the temporal dynamics of visual processing, has been documented to be more pronounced following brain lesions that are associated with visual neglect. This suggests that, in addition to their spatial bias in attention, neglect patients may have a prolonged dwell time for attention. Here the attentional dwell time was examined in patients with damage focused on either posterior parietal or frontal cortices. In three experiments, we show that there is an abnormally pronounced attentional dwell time, which does not differ in patients with posterior parietal and with frontal lobe lesions, and this is associated with a measure of selective attention but not with measures of spatial bias in selection. These data occurred both when we attempted to match patients and controls for overall differences in performance and when a single set stimulus exposure was used across participants. In Experiments 1 and 2, requiring report of colour-form conjunctions, there was evidence that the patients were also impaired at temporal binding, showing errors in feature combination across stimuli and in reporting in the correct temporal order. In Experiment 3, requiring only the report of features but introducing task switching led to similar results. The data suggest that damage to a frontoparietal network can compromise temporal selection of visual stimuli; however, this is not necessarily related to a deficit in hemispatial visual attention but it is to impaired target selection. We discuss the implications for understanding visual selection.

  20. Abnormal Spatial Asymmetry of Selective Attention in ADHD

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Edgar; Mattingley, Jason B.; Huang-Pollock, Cynthia; English, Therese; Hester, Robert; Vance, Alasdair; Bellgrove, Mark A.

    2009-01-01

    Background: Evidence for a selective attention abnormality in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been hard to identify using conventional methods from cognitive science. This study tested whether the presence of selective attention abnormalities in ADHD may vary as a function of perceptual load and target…

  1. Selective Attention to Perceptual Dimensions and Switching between Dimensions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meiran, Nachshon; Dimov, Eduard; Ganel, Tzvi

    2013-01-01

    In the present experiments, the question being addressed was whether switching attention between perceptual dimensions and selective attention to dimensions are processes that compete over a common resource? Attention to perceptual dimensions is usually studied by requiring participants to ignore a never-relevant dimension. Selection failure…

  2. Threat-related selective attention predicts treatment success in childhood anxiety disorders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Legerstee, Jeroen S; Tulen, Joke H M; Kallen, Victor L; Dieleman, Gwen C; Treffers, Philip D A; Verhulst, Frank C; Utens, Elisabeth M W J

    2009-02-01

    The present study examined whether threat-related selective attention was predictive of treatment success in children with anxiety disorders and whether age moderated this association. Specific components of selective attention were examined in treatment responders and nonresponders. Participants consisted of 131 children with anxiety disorders (aged 8-16 years), who received standardized cognitive-behavioral therapy. At pretreatment, a pictorial dot-probe task was administered to assess selective attention. Both at pretreatment and posttreatment, diagnostic status of the children was evaluated with a semistructured clinical interview (the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for Children). Selective attention for severely threatening pictures at pretreatment assessment was predictive of treatment success. Examination of the specific components of selective attention revealed that nonresponders showed difficulties to disengage their attention away from severe threat. Treatment responders showed a tendency not to engage their attention toward severe threat. Age was not associated with selective attention and treatment success. Threat-related selective attention is a significant predictor of treatment success in children with anxiety disorders. Clinically anxious children with difficulties disengaging their attention away from severe threat profit less from cognitive-behavioral therapy. For these children, additional training focused on learning to disengage attention away from anxiety-arousing stimuli may be beneficial.

  3. A new perspective on the perceptual selectivity of attention under load.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giesbrecht, Barry; Sy, Jocelyn; Bundesen, Claus; Kyllingsbaek, Søren

    2014-05-01

    The human attention system helps us cope with a complex environment by supporting the selective processing of information relevant to our current goals. Understanding the perceptual, cognitive, and neural mechanisms that mediate selective attention is a core issue in cognitive neuroscience. One prominent model of selective attention, known as load theory, offers an account of how task demands determine when information is selected and an account of the efficiency of the selection process. However, load theory has several critical weaknesses that suggest that it is time for a new perspective. Here we review the strengths and weaknesses of load theory and offer an alternative biologically plausible computational account that is based on the neural theory of visual attention. We argue that this new perspective provides a detailed computational account of how bottom-up and top-down information is integrated to provide efficient attentional selection and allocation of perceptual processing resources. © 2014 New York Academy of Sciences.

  4. Contextual control over selective attention: evidence from a two-target method.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacLellan, Ellen; Shore, David I; Milliken, Bruce

    2015-07-01

    Selective attention is generally studied with conflict tasks, using response time as the dependent measure. Here, we study the impact of selective attention to a first target, T1, presented simultaneously with a distractor, on the accuracy of subsequent encoding of a second target item, T2. This procedure produces an "attentional blink" (AB) effect much like that reported in other studies, and allowed us to study the influence of context on cognitive control with a novel method. In particular, we examined whether preparation to attend selectively to T1 had an impact on the selective encoding of T1 that would translate to report of T2. Preparation to attend selectively was manipulated by varying whether difficult selective attention T1 trials were presented in the context of other difficult selective attention T1 trials. The results revealed strong context effects of this nature, with smaller AB effects when difficult selective attention T1 trials were embedded in a context with many, rather than few, other difficult selective attention T1 trials. Further, the results suggest that both the trial-to-trial local context and the block-wide global context modulate performance in this task.

  5. Dynamic, continuous multitasking training leads to task-specific improvements but does not transfer across action selection tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bender, Angela D.; Filmer, Hannah L.; Naughtin, Claire K.; Dux, Paul E.

    2017-12-01

    The ability to perform multiple tasks concurrently is an ever-increasing requirement in our information-rich world. Despite this, multitasking typically compromises performance due to the processing limitations associated with cognitive control and decision-making. While intensive dual-task training is known to improve multitasking performance, only limited evidence suggests that training-related performance benefits can transfer to untrained tasks that share overlapping processes. In the real world, however, coordinating and selecting several responses within close temporal proximity will often occur in high-interference environments. Over the last decade, there have been notable reports that training on video action games that require dynamic multitasking in a demanding environment can lead to transfer effects on aspects of cognition such as attention and working memory. Here, we asked whether continuous and dynamic multitasking training extends benefits to tasks that are theoretically related to the trained tasks. To examine this issue, we asked a group of participants to train on a combined continuous visuomotor tracking task and a perceptual discrimination task for six sessions, while an active control group practiced the component tasks in isolation. A battery of tests measuring response selection, response inhibition, and spatial attention was administered before and immediately after training to investigate transfer. Multitasking training resulted in substantial, task-specific gains in dual-task ability, but there was no evidence that these benefits generalized to other action control tasks. The findings suggest that training on a combined visuomotor tracking and discrimination task results in task-specific benefits but provides no additional value for untrained action selection tasks.

  6. Visual Short-Term Memory Activity in Parietal Lobe Reflects Cognitive Processes beyond Attentional Selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sheremata, Summer L; Somers, David C; Shomstein, Sarah

    2018-02-07

    Visual short-term memory (VSTM) and attention are distinct yet interrelated processes. While both require selection of information across the visual field, memory additionally requires the maintenance of information across time and distraction. VSTM recruits areas within human (male and female) dorsal and ventral parietal cortex that are also implicated in spatial selection; therefore, it is important to determine whether overlapping activation might reflect shared attentional demands. Here, identical stimuli and controlled sustained attention across both tasks were used to ask whether fMRI signal amplitude, functional connectivity, and contralateral visual field bias reflect memory-specific task demands. While attention and VSTM activated similar cortical areas, BOLD amplitude and functional connectivity in parietal cortex differentiated the two tasks. Relative to attention, VSTM increased BOLD amplitude in dorsal parietal cortex and decreased BOLD amplitude in the angular gyrus. Additionally, the tasks differentially modulated parietal functional connectivity. Contrasting VSTM and attention, intraparietal sulcus (IPS) 1-2 were more strongly connected with anterior frontoparietal areas and more weakly connected with posterior regions. This divergence between tasks demonstrates that parietal activation reflects memory-specific functions and consequently modulates functional connectivity across the cortex. In contrast, both tasks demonstrated hemispheric asymmetries for spatial processing, exhibiting a stronger contralateral visual field bias in the left versus the right hemisphere across tasks, suggesting that asymmetries are characteristic of a shared selection process in IPS. These results demonstrate that parietal activity and patterns of functional connectivity distinguish VSTM from more general attention processes, establishing a central role of the parietal cortex in maintaining visual information. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Visual short-term memory (VSTM) and

  7. Prospect theory reflects selective allocation of attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pachur, Thorsten; Schulte-Mecklenbeck, Michael; Murphy, Ryan O; Hertwig, Ralph

    2018-02-01

    There is a disconnect in the literature between analyses of risky choice based on cumulative prospect theory (CPT) and work on predecisional information processing. One likely reason is that for expectation models (e.g., CPT), it is often assumed that people behaved only as if they conducted the computations leading to the predicted choice and that the models are thus mute regarding information processing. We suggest that key psychological constructs in CPT, such as loss aversion and outcome and probability sensitivity, can be interpreted in terms of attention allocation. In two experiments, we tested hypotheses about specific links between CPT parameters and attentional regularities. Experiment 1 used process tracing to monitor participants' predecisional attention allocation to outcome and probability information. As hypothesized, individual differences in CPT's loss-aversion, outcome-sensitivity, and probability-sensitivity parameters (estimated from participants' choices) were systematically associated with individual differences in attention allocation to outcome and probability information. For instance, loss aversion was associated with the relative attention allocated to loss and gain outcomes, and a more strongly curved weighting function was associated with less attention allocated to probabilities. Experiment 2 manipulated participants' attention to losses or gains, causing systematic differences in CPT's loss-aversion parameter. This result indicates that attention allocation can to some extent cause choice regularities that are captured by CPT. Our findings demonstrate an as-if model's capacity to reflect characteristics of information processing. We suggest that the observed CPT-attention links can be harnessed to inform the development of process models of risky choice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

  8. Individual Differences in Temporal Selective Attention as Reflected in Pupil Dilation

    OpenAIRE

    Willems, Charlotte; Herdzin, Johannes; Martens, Sander

    2015-01-01

    Background Attention is restricted for the second of two targets when it is presented within 200-500 ms of the first target. This attentional blink (AB) phenomenon allows one to study the dynamics of temporal selective attention by varying the interval between the two targets (T1 and T2). Whereas the AB has long been considered as a robust and universal cognitive limitation, several studies have demonstrated that AB task performance greatly differs between individuals, with some individuals s...

  9. Working memory load can both improve and impair selective attention: evidence from the Navon paradigm.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahmed, Lubna; de Fockert, Jan W

    2012-10-01

    Selective attention to relevant targets has been shown to depend on the availability of working memory (WM). Under conditions of high WM load, processing of irrelevant distractors is enhanced. Here we showed that this detrimental effect of WM load on selective attention efficiency is reversed when the task requires global- rather than local-level processing. Participants were asked to attend to either the local or the global level of a hierarchical Navon stimulus while keeping either a low or a high load in WM. In line with previous findings, during attention to the local level, distractors at the global level produced more interference under high than under low WM load. By contrast, loading WM had the opposite effect of improving selective attention during attention to the global level. The findings demonstrate that the impact of WM load on selective attention is not invariant, but rather is dependent on the level of the to-be-attended information.

  10. Measuring Auditory Selective Attention using Frequency Tagging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hari M Bharadwaj

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Frequency tagging of sensory inputs (presenting stimuli that fluctuate periodically at rates to which the cortex can phase lock has been used to study attentional modulation of neural responses to inputs in different sensory modalities. For visual inputs, the visual steady-state response (VSSR at the frequency modulating an attended object is enhanced, while the VSSR to a distracting object is suppressed. In contrast, the effect of attention on the auditory steady-state response (ASSR is inconsistent across studies. However, most auditory studies analyzed results at the sensor level or used only a small number of equivalent current dipoles to fit cortical responses. In addition, most studies of auditory spatial attention used dichotic stimuli (independent signals at the ears rather than more natural, binaural stimuli. Here, we asked whether these methodological choices help explain discrepant results. Listeners attended to one of two competing speech streams, one simulated from the left and one from the right, that were modulated at different frequencies. Using distributed source modeling of magnetoencephalography results, we estimate how spatially directed attention modulates the ASSR in neural regions across the whole brain. Attention enhances the ASSR power at the frequency of the attended stream in the contralateral auditory cortex. The attended-stream modulation frequency also drives phase-locked responses in the left (but not right precentral sulcus (lPCS, a region implicated in control of eye gaze and visual spatial attention. Importantly, this region shows no phase locking to the distracting stream suggesting that the lPCS in engaged in an attention-specific manner. Modeling results that take account of the geometry and phases of the cortical sources phase locked to the two streams (including hemispheric asymmetry of lPCS activity help partly explain why past ASSR studies of auditory spatial attention yield seemingly contradictory

  11. Cognitive training and selective attention in the aging brain: an electrophysiological study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O'Brien, Jennifer L; Edwards, Jerri D; Maxfield, Nathan D; Peronto, Carol L; Williams, Victoria A; Lister, Jennifer J

    2013-11-01

    Age-related deficits in selective attention are hypothesized to result from decrements in inhibition of task-irrelevant information. Speed of processing (SOP) training is an adaptive cognitive intervention designed to enhance processing speed for attention tasks. The effectiveness of SOP training to improve cognitive and everyday functional performance is well documented. However, underlying mechanisms of these training benefits are unknown. Participants completed a visual search task evaluated using event-related potentials (ERPs) before and after 10 weeks of SOP training or no contact. N2pc and P3b components were evaluated to determine SOP training effects on attentional resource allocation and capacity. Selective attention to a target was enhanced after SOP training compared to no training. N2pc and P3b amplitudes increased after training, reflecting attentional allocation and capacity enhancement, consistent with previous studies demonstrating behavioral improvements in selective attention following SOP training. Changes in ERPs related to attention allocation and capacity following SOP training support the idea that training leads to cognitive enhancement. Specifically, we provide electrophysiological evidence that SOP training may be successful in counteracting age-related declines in selective attention. This study provides important evidence of the underlying mechanisms by which SOP training improves cognitive function in older adults. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

  12. Exploring the function of selective attention and hypervigilance for threat in anxiety.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Helen J; Benson, Valerie; Donnelly, Nick; Hadwin, Julie A

    2014-02-01

    Theoretical frameworks of anxiety propose that attentional biases to threat-related stimuli cause or maintain anxious states. The current paper draws on theoretical frameworks and key empirical studies to outline the distinctive attentional processes highlighted as being important in understanding anxiety. We develop a conceptual framework to make a distinction between two attentional biases: selective attention to threat and hypervigilance for threat. We suggest that these biases each have a different purpose and can account for the typical patterns of facilitated and impaired attention evident in anxious individuals. The framework is novel in its specification of the eye movement behavior associated with these attentional biases. We highlight that selective attention involves narrowing overt attention onto threat to ensure that these stimuli receive processing priority, leading to rapid engagement with task-relevant threat and delayed disengagement from task-irrelevant threat. We show that hypervigilance operates in the presence and absence of threat and involves monitoring for potential dangers via attentional broadening or excessive scanning of the environment with numerous eye movements, leading to improved threat detection and increased distraction from task-irrelevant threat. We conclude that future research could usefully employ eye movement measures to more clearly understand the diverse roles of attention in anxiety. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Specialization in the default mode: Task-induced brain deactivations dissociate between visual working memory and attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayer, Jutta S; Roebroeck, Alard; Maurer, Konrad; Linden, David E J

    2010-01-01

    The idea of an organized mode of brain function that is present as default state and suspended during goal-directed behaviors has recently gained much interest in the study of human brain function. The default mode hypothesis is based on the repeated observation that certain brain areas show task-induced deactivations across a wide range of cognitive tasks. In this event-related functional resonance imaging study we tested the default mode hypothesis by comparing common and selective patterns of BOLD deactivation in response to the demands on visual attention and working memory (WM) that were independently modulated within one task. The results revealed task-induced deactivations within regions of the default mode network (DMN) with a segregation of areas that were additively deactivated by an increase in the demands on both attention and WM, and areas that were selectively deactivated by either high attentional demand or WM load. Attention-selective deactivations appeared in the left ventrolateral and medial prefrontal cortex and the left lateral temporal cortex. Conversely, WM-selective deactivations were found predominantly in the right hemisphere including the medial-parietal, the lateral temporo-parietal, and the medial prefrontal cortex. Moreover, during WM encoding deactivated regions showed task-specific functional connectivity. These findings demonstrate that task-induced deactivations within parts of the DMN depend on the specific characteristics of the attention and WM components of the task. The DMN can thus be subdivided into a set of brain regions that deactivate indiscriminately in response to cognitive demand ("the core DMN") and a part whose deactivation depends on the specific task. 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  14. Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Callahan, Patrick M; Terry, Alvin V

    2015-01-01

    The ability to focus one's attention on important environmental stimuli while ignoring irrelevant stimuli is fundamental to human cognition and intellectual function. Attention is inextricably linked to perception, learning and memory, and executive function; however, it is often impaired in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Accordingly, attention is considered as an important therapeutic target in these disorders. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the most common behavioral paradigms of attention that have been used in animals (particularly rodents) and to review the literature where these tasks have been employed to elucidate neurobiological substrates of attention as well as to evaluate novel pharmacological agents for their potential as treatments for disorders of attention. These paradigms include two tasks of sustained attention that were developed as rodent analogues of the human Continuous Performance Task (CPT), the Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time Task (5-CSRTT) and the more recently introduced Five-Choice Continuous Performance Task (5C-CPT), and the Signal Detection Task (SDT) which was designed to emphasize temporal components of attention.

  15. Seeing the World through Another Person's Eyes: Simulating Selective Attention via Action Observation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frischen, Alexandra; Loach, Daniel; Tipper, Steven P.

    2009-01-01

    Selective attention is usually considered an egocentric mechanism, biasing sensory information based on its behavioural relevance to oneself. This study provides evidence for an equivalent allocentric mechanism that allows passive observers to selectively attend to information from the perspective of another person. In a negative priming task,…

  16. Visual attention spreads broadly but selects information locally.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shioiri, Satoshi; Honjyo, Hajime; Kashiwase, Yoshiyuki; Matsumiya, Kazumichi; Kuriki, Ichiro

    2016-10-19

    Visual attention spreads over a range around the focus as the spotlight metaphor describes. Spatial spread of attentional enhancement and local selection/inhibition are crucial factors determining the profile of the spatial attention. Enhancement and ignorance/suppression are opposite effects of attention, and appeared to be mutually exclusive. Yet, no unified view of the factors has been provided despite their necessity for understanding the functions of spatial attention. This report provides electroencephalographic and behavioral evidence for the attentional spread at an early stage and selection/inhibition at a later stage of visual processing. Steady state visual evoked potential showed broad spatial tuning whereas the P3 component of the event related potential showed local selection or inhibition of the adjacent areas. Based on these results, we propose a two-stage model of spatial attention with broad spread at an early stage and local selection at a later stage.

  17. The Attentional Dependence of Emotion Cognition is Variable with the Competing Task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Cheng Chen

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The relationship between emotion and attention has fascinated researchers for decades. Many previous studies have used eye-tracking, ERP, MEG and fMRI to explore this issue but have reached different conclusions: some researchers hold that emotion cognition is an automatic process and independent of attention, while some others believed that emotion cognition is modulated by attentional resources and is a type of controlled processing. The present research aimed to investigate this controversy, and we hypothesized that the attentional dependence of emotion cognition is variable with the competing task. Eye-tracking technology and a dual-task paradigm were adopted, and subjects’ attention was manipulated to fixate at the central task to investigate whether subjects could detect the emotional faces presented in the peripheral area with a decrease or near-absence of attention. The results revealed that when the peripheral task was emotional face discrimination but the central attention-demanding task was different, subjects performed well in the peripheral task, which means that emotional information can be processed in parallel with other stimuli, and there may be a specific channel in the human brain for processing emotional information. However, when the central and peripheral tasks were both emotional face discrimination, subjects could not perform well in the peripheral task, indicating that the processing of emotional information required attentional resources and that it is a type of controlled processing. Therefore, we concluded that the attentional dependence of emotion cognition varied with the competing task.

  18. Effects of transdermally administered nicotine on aspects of attention, task load, and mood in women and men.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trimmel, Michael; Wittberger, Susanne

    2004-07-01

    This double-blind placebo-controlled study was conducted to determine nicotine effects on diverse types of attentional performance, task load, and mood considering sex effects as suggested by animal studies. Twelve smokers, 12 deprived smokers and 12 nonsmokers (6 females, 6 males in each group) were investigated. Participants were treated either by 5 mg/16 h nicotine patches (Nicorette) or placebo. Effects of treatment were examined by a computerized attention-test battery; mood was assessed by the Berliner-Alltagssprachliches-Stimmungs-Inventar and task load by the NASA Task Load Index (NASA-TLX). Results showed that nicotine significantly increased the number of hits and decreased reaction time (RT) in the vigilance task. In the selective attention task combined with irrelevant speech as background noise, nicotine enhanced rate of hits. Although it was indicated that nicotine leads to a generally higher accuracy in attention tasks, response time of visual search was prolonged, contradicting a universal facilitation by nicotine. Participants experienced mental demand and temporal demand lower and rated alertness higher when in the nicotine condition. These effects were independent of smoking status, indicating "true" nicotine effects. Females took significant advantage of nicotine in the vigilance task, reaching the performance level of males, accompanied by a higher rated alertness. Results indicate task- and sex-dependent nicotine effects.

  19. The development of children's knowledge of attention and resource allocation in single and dual tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dossett, D; Burns, B

    2000-06-01

    Developmental changes in kindergarten, 1st-, and 4th-grade children's knowledge about the variables that affect attention sharing and resource allocation were examined. Findings from the 2 experiments showed that kindergartners understood that person and strategy variables affect performance in attention-sharing tasks. However, knowledge of how task variables affect performance was not evident to them and was inconsistent for 1st and 4th graders. Children's knowledge about resource allocation revealed a different pattern and varied according to the dissimilarity of task demands in the attention-sharing task. In Experiment 1, in which the dual attention tasks were similar (i.e., visual detection), kindergarten and 1st-grade children did not differentiate performance in single and dual tasks. Fourth graders demonstrated knowledge that performance on a single task would be better than performance on the dual tasks for only 2 of the variables examined. In Experiment 2, in which the dual attention tasks were dissimilar (i.e., visual and auditory detection), kindergarten and 1st-grade children demonstrated knowledge that performance in the single task would be better than in the dual tasks for 1 of the task variables examined. However, 4th-grade children consistently gave higher ratings for performance on the single than on the dual attention tasks for all variables examined. These findings (a) underscore that children's meta-attention is not unitary and (b) demonstrate that children's knowledge about variables affecting attention sharing and resource allocation have different developmental pathways. Results show that knowledge about attention sharing and about the factors that influence the control of attention develops slowly and undergoes reorganization in middle childhood.

  20. Selective attentional enhancement and inhibition of fronto-posterior connectivity by the basal ganglia during attention switching.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Schouwenburg, Martine R; den Ouden, Hanneke E M; Cools, Roshan

    2015-06-01

    The prefrontal cortex and the basal ganglia interact to selectively gate a desired action. Recent studies have shown that this selective gating mechanism of the basal ganglia extends to the domain of attention. Here, we investigate the nature of this action-like gating mechanism for attention using a spatial attention-switching paradigm in combination with functional neuroimaging and dynamic causal modeling. We show that the basal ganglia guide attention by focally releasing inhibition of task-relevant representations, while simultaneously inhibiting task-irrelevant representations by selectively modulating prefrontal top-down connections. These results strengthen and specify the role of the basal ganglia in attention. Moreover, our findings have implications for psychological theorizing by suggesting that inhibition of unattended sensory regions is not only a consequence of mutual suppression, but is an active process, subserved by the basal ganglia. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  1. Separable sustained and selective attention factors are apparent in 5-year-old children

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Underbjerg, Mette; George, Melanie S; Thorsen, Poul

    2013-01-01

    In adults and older children, evidence consistent with relative separation between selective and sustained attention, superimposed upon generally positive inter-test correlations, has been reported. Here we examine whether this pattern is detectable in 5-year-old children from the healthy...... and auditory stimuli were good. In a factor analysis, the two TEA-Ch(J) selective attention tasks (one visual, one auditory) loaded onto a common factor and diverged from the two sustained attention tasks (one auditory, one motor), which shared a common loading on the second factor. This pattern, which...... suggests that the tests are indeed sensitive to underlying attentional capacities, was supported by the relationships between the TEA-Ch(J) factors and Test of Everyday Attention for Children subtests in the older children in the sample. It is possible to gain convincing performance-based estimates...

  2. Selective attention of students suffering from primary headaches in a ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Background: Headache patients frequently complain about difficulties in attention and concentration, even when they are headache-free and psychometric studies concerning attentional deficits in headache patients between attacks are scarce. Objective: To evaluate selective attention of headache patients in a pain free ...

  3. Attentional Selection for Object Recognition - A Gentle Way

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Walther, Dirk; Itti, Laurent; Riesenhuber, Maximilian; Poggio, Tomaso; Koch, Christof

    2002-01-01

    ...% at a high level is sufficient to recognize multiple objects. To determine the size and shape of the region to be modulated, a rough segmentation is performed, based on pre-attentive features already computed to guide attention. Testing with synthetic and natural stimuli demonstrates that our new approach to attentional selection for recognition yields encouraging results in addition to being biologically plausible.

  4. The role of attention during retrieval in working-memory span: a dual-task study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Healey, M Karl; Miyake, Akira

    2009-04-01

    We tested the hypothesis that retrieving target words in operation span (OSpan) involves attention-demanding processes. Participants completed the standard OSpan task and a modified version in which all equations preceded all target words. Recall took place under either full attention or easy versus hard divided-attention conditions. Recall suffered under divided attention with the recall decrement being greater for the hard secondary task. Moreover, secondary-task performance was disrupted more by the standard OSpan task than by the modified version with the hard secondary task showing the larger decrement. Finally, the time taken to start recalling the first word was considerably longer for the standard version than for the modified version. These results are consistent with the proposal that successful OSpan task performance in part involves the attention-demanding retrieval of targets from long-term memory.

  5. Can task-switching training enhance executive control functioning in children with attention deficit/-hyperactivity disorder?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jutta eKray

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available The key cognitive impairments of children with attention deficit/-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD include executive control functions such as inhibitory control, task switching, and working memory. In this training study we examined whether task-switching training leads to improvements in these functions. Twenty children with combined type ADHD and stable methylphenidate medication performed a single-task and a task-switching training in a crossover training design. The children were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group started with the single-task training and then performed the task-switching training and the other group vice versa. The effectiveness of the task-switching training was measured as performance improvements (relative to the single-task training on a structurally similar but new switching task and on other executive control tasks measuring inhibitory control and verbal working memory as well as on fluid intelligence (reasoning. The children in both groups showed improvements in task switching, that is, a reduction of switching costs, but not in performing the single tasks across four training sessions. Moreover, the task-switching training lead to selective enhancements in task-switching performance, that is, the reduction of task-switching costs was found to be larger after task-switching than after single-task training. Similar selective improvements were observed for inhibitory control and verbal working memory, but not for reasoning. Results of this study suggest that task-switching training is an effective cognitive intervention that helps to enhance executive control functioning in children with ADHD.

  6. Can task-switching training enhance executive control functioning in children with attention deficit/-hyperactivity disorder?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kray, Jutta; Karbach, Julia; Haenig, Susann; Freitag, Christine

    2011-01-01

    The key cognitive impairments of children with attention deficit/-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include executive control functions such as inhibitory control, task-switching, and working memory (WM). In this training study we examined whether task-switching training leads to improvements in these functions. Twenty children with combined type ADHD and stable methylphenidate medication performed a single-task and a task-switching training in a crossover training design. The children were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group started with the single-task training and then performed the task-switching training and the other group vice versa. The effectiveness of the task-switching training was measured as performance improvements (relative to the single-task training) on a structurally similar but new switching task and on other executive control tasks measuring inhibitory control and verbal WM as well as on fluid intelligence (reasoning). The children in both groups showed improvements in task-switching, that is, a reduction of switching costs, but not in performing the single-tasks across four training sessions. Moreover, the task-switching training lead to selective enhancements in task-switching performance, that is, the reduction of task-switching costs was found to be larger after task-switching than after single-task training. Similar selective improvements were observed for inhibitory control and verbal WM, but not for reasoning. Results of this study suggest that task-switching training is an effective cognitive intervention that helps to enhance executive control functioning in children with ADHD.

  7. A competitive interaction theory of attentional selection and decision making in brief, multielement displays.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Philip L; Sewell, David K

    2013-07-01

    We generalize the integrated system model of Smith and Ratcliff (2009) to obtain a new theory of attentional selection in brief, multielement visual displays. The theory proposes that attentional selection occurs via competitive interactions among detectors that signal the presence of task-relevant features at particular display locations. The outcome of the competition, together with attention, determines which stimuli are selected into visual short-term memory (VSTM). Decisions about the contents of VSTM are made by a diffusion-process decision stage. The selection process is modeled by coupled systems of shunting equations, which perform gated where-on-what pathway VSTM selection. The theory provides a computational account of key findings from attention tasks with near-threshold stimuli. These are (a) the success of the MAX model of visual search and spatial cuing, (b) the distractor homogeneity effect, (c) the double-target detection deficit, (d) redundancy costs in the post-stimulus probe task, (e) the joint item and information capacity limits of VSTM, and (f) the object-based nature of attentional selection. We argue that these phenomena are all manifestations of an underlying competitive VSTM selection process, which arise as a natural consequence of our theory. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved.

  8. Selective population rate coding: a possible computational role of gamma oscillations in selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masuda, Naoki

    2009-12-01

    Selective attention is often accompanied by gamma oscillations in local field potentials and spike field coherence in brain areas related to visual, motor, and cognitive information processing. Gamma oscillations are implicated to play an important role in, for example, visual tasks including object search, shape perception, and speed detection. However, the mechanism by which gamma oscillations enhance cognitive and behavioral performance of attentive subjects is still elusive. Using feedforward fan-in networks composed of spiking neurons, we examine a possible role for gamma oscillations in selective attention and population rate coding of external stimuli. We implement the concept proposed by Fries ( 2005 ) that under dynamic stimuli, neural populations effectively communicate with each other only when there is a good phase relationship among associated gamma oscillations. We show that the downstream neural population selects a specific dynamic stimulus received by an upstream population and represents it by population rate coding. The encoded stimulus is the one for which gamma rhythm in the corresponding upstream population is resonant with the downstream gamma rhythm. The proposed role for gamma oscillations in stimulus selection is to enable top-down control, a neural version of time division multiple access used in communication engineering.

  9. How attention can create synaptic tags for the learning of working memories in sequential tasks.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jaldert O Rombouts

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Intelligence is our ability to learn appropriate responses to new stimuli and situations. Neurons in association cortex are thought to be essential for this ability. During learning these neurons become tuned to relevant features and start to represent them with persistent activity during memory delays. This learning process is not well understood. Here we develop a biologically plausible learning scheme that explains how trial-and-error learning induces neuronal selectivity and working memory representations for task-relevant information. We propose that the response selection stage sends attentional feedback signals to earlier processing levels, forming synaptic tags at those connections responsible for the stimulus-response mapping. Globally released neuromodulators then interact with tagged synapses to determine their plasticity. The resulting learning rule endows neural networks with the capacity to create new working memory representations of task relevant information as persistent activity. It is remarkably generic: it explains how association neurons learn to store task-relevant information for linear as well as non-linear stimulus-response mappings, how they become tuned to category boundaries or analog variables, depending on the task demands, and how they learn to integrate probabilistic evidence for perceptual decisions.

  10. Modulation of selective attention by polarity-specific tDCS effects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pecchinenda, Anna; Ferlazzo, Fabio; Lavidor, Michal

    2015-02-01

    Selective attention relies on working memory to maintain an attention set of task priorities. Consequently, selective attention is more efficient when working memory resources are not depleted. However, there is some evidence that distractors are processed even when working memory load is low. We used tDCS to assess whether boosting the activity of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC), involved in selective attention and working memory, would reduce interference from emotional distractors. Findings showed that anodal tDCS over the DLPFC was not sufficient to reduce interference from angry distractors. In contrast, cathodal tDCS over the DLPFC reduced interference from happy distractors. These findings show that altering the DLPFC activity is not sufficient to establish top-down control and increase selective attention efficiency. Although, when the neural signal in the DLPFC is altered by cathodal tDCS, interference from emotional distractors is reduced, leading to an improved performance. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Frontal and parietal cortical interactions with distributed visual representations during selective attention and action selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelissen, Natalie; Stokes, Mark; Nobre, Anna C; Rushworth, Matthew F S

    2013-10-16

    Using multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA), we studied how distributed visual representations in human occipitotemporal cortex are modulated by attention and link their modulation to concurrent activity in frontal and parietal cortex. We detected similar occipitotemporal patterns during a simple visuoperceptual task and an attention-to-working-memory task in which one or two stimuli were cued before being presented among other pictures. Pattern strength varied from highest to lowest when the stimulus was the exclusive focus of attention, a conjoint focus, and when it was potentially distracting. Although qualitatively similar effects were seen inside regions relatively specialized for the stimulus category and outside, the former were quantitatively stronger. By regressing occipitotemporal pattern strength against activity elsewhere in the brain, we identified frontal and parietal areas exerting top-down control over, or reading information out from, distributed patterns in occipitotemporal cortex. Their interactions with patterns inside regions relatively specialized for that stimulus category were higher than those with patterns outside those regions and varied in strength as a function of the attentional condition. One area, the frontal operculum, was distinguished by selectively interacting with occipitotemporal patterns only when they were the focus of attention. There was no evidence that any frontal or parietal area actively inhibited occipitotemporal representations even when they should be ignored and were suppressed. Using MVPA to decode information within these frontal and parietal areas showed that they contained information about attentional context and/or readout information from occipitotemporal cortex to guide behavior but that frontal regions lacked information about category identity.

  12. Frontal and Parietal Cortical Interactions with Distributed Visual Representations during Selective Attention and Action Selection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stokes, Mark; Nobre, Anna C.; Rushworth, Matthew F. S.

    2013-01-01

    Using multivoxel pattern analysis (MVPA), we studied how distributed visual representations in human occipitotemporal cortex are modulated by attention and link their modulation to concurrent activity in frontal and parietal cortex. We detected similar occipitotemporal patterns during a simple visuoperceptual task and an attention-to-working-memory task in which one or two stimuli were cued before being presented among other pictures. Pattern strength varied from highest to lowest when the stimulus was the exclusive focus of attention, a conjoint focus, and when it was potentially distracting. Although qualitatively similar effects were seen inside regions relatively specialized for the stimulus category and outside, the former were quantitatively stronger. By regressing occipitotemporal pattern strength against activity elsewhere in the brain, we identified frontal and parietal areas exerting top-down control over, or reading information out from, distributed patterns in occipitotemporal cortex. Their interactions with patterns inside regions relatively specialized for that stimulus category were higher than those with patterns outside those regions and varied in strength as a function of the attentional condition. One area, the frontal operculum, was distinguished by selectively interacting with occipitotemporal patterns only when they were the focus of attention. There was no evidence that any frontal or parietal area actively inhibited occipitotemporal representations even when they should be ignored and were suppressed. Using MVPA to decode information within these frontal and parietal areas showed that they contained information about attentional context and/or readout information from occipitotemporal cortex to guide behavior but that frontal regions lacked information about category identity. PMID:24133250

  13. Explicit attention interferes with selective emotion processing in human extrastriate cortex

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Junghöfer Markus

    2007-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Brain imaging and event-related potential studies provide strong evidence that emotional stimuli guide selective attention in visual processing. A reflection of the emotional attention capture is the increased Early Posterior Negativity (EPN for pleasant and unpleasant compared to neutral images (~150–300 ms poststimulus. The present study explored whether this early emotion discrimination reflects an automatic phenomenon or is subject to interference by competing processing demands. Thus, emotional processing was assessed while participants performed a concurrent feature-based attention task varying in processing demands. Results Participants successfully performed the primary visual attention task as revealed by behavioral performance and selected event-related potential components (Selection Negativity and P3b. Replicating previous results, emotional modulation of the EPN was observed in a task condition with low processing demands. In contrast, pleasant and unpleasant pictures failed to elicit increased EPN amplitudes compared to neutral images in more difficult explicit attention task conditions. Further analyses determined that even the processing of pleasant and unpleasant pictures high in emotional arousal is subject to interference in experimental conditions with high task demand. Taken together, performing demanding feature-based counting tasks interfered with differential emotion processing indexed by the EPN. Conclusion The present findings demonstrate that taxing processing resources by a competing primary visual attention task markedly attenuated the early discrimination of emotional from neutral picture contents. Thus, these results provide further empirical support for an interference account of the emotion-attention interaction under conditions of competition. Previous studies revealed the interference of selective emotion processing when attentional resources were directed to locations of explicitly task

  14. Explicit attention interferes with selective emotion processing in human extrastriate cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schupp, Harald T; Stockburger, Jessica; Bublatzky, Florian; Junghöfer, Markus; Weike, Almut I; Hamm, Alfons O

    2007-02-22

    Brain imaging and event-related potential studies provide strong evidence that emotional stimuli guide selective attention in visual processing. A reflection of the emotional attention capture is the increased Early Posterior Negativity (EPN) for pleasant and unpleasant compared to neutral images (approximately 150-300 ms poststimulus). The present study explored whether this early emotion discrimination reflects an automatic phenomenon or is subject to interference by competing processing demands. Thus, emotional processing was assessed while participants performed a concurrent feature-based attention task varying in processing demands. Participants successfully performed the primary visual attention task as revealed by behavioral performance and selected event-related potential components (Selection Negativity and P3b). Replicating previous results, emotional modulation of the EPN was observed in a task condition with low processing demands. In contrast, pleasant and unpleasant pictures failed to elicit increased EPN amplitudes compared to neutral images in more difficult explicit attention task conditions. Further analyses determined that even the processing of pleasant and unpleasant pictures high in emotional arousal is subject to interference in experimental conditions with high task demand. Taken together, performing demanding feature-based counting tasks interfered with differential emotion processing indexed by the EPN. The present findings demonstrate that taxing processing resources by a competing primary visual attention task markedly attenuated the early discrimination of emotional from neutral picture contents. Thus, these results provide further empirical support for an interference account of the emotion-attention interaction under conditions of competition. Previous studies revealed the interference of selective emotion processing when attentional resources were directed to locations of explicitly task-relevant stimuli. The present data suggest

  15. Some considerations of two alleged kinds of selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keren, G

    1976-12-01

    The present article deals with selective attention phenomena and elaborates on a stimulus material classification, "stimulus set" versus "response set," proposed by Broadbent (1970, 1971)9 Stimulus set is defined by some distinct and conspicuous physical properties that are inherent in the stimulus. Response set is characterized by the meaning it conveys, and thus its properties are determined by cognitive processing on the part of the organism. Broadbent's framework is related to Neisser's (1967) distinction between two perceptual-cognitive processes, namely, preattentive control and focal attention. Three experiments are reported. A before-after paradigm was employed in Experiment 1, together with a sptial arrangement manipulation of relevant versus irrelevant stimuli (being grouped or mixed). The results indicated that before-after instruction had a stronger effect under stimulus set than under response set conditions. Spatial arrangement, on the other hand, affected performances under response set but not under stimulus set conditions. These results were interpreted as supporting the idea that stimulus set material, which is handled by preattentive mechanisms, may be processed in parallel, while response set material requires focal attention that is probably serial in nature. Experiment 2 used a search task with different levels of noise elements. Although subjects were not able to avoid completely the processing of noise elements, they had much more control under stimulus set than under response set conditions. Experiment 3 dealt with memory functions and suggests differential levels of perceptual processing depending on the nature of the stimulus material. This extends the memory framework suggested by Craik and Lockhart (1972). The results of these experiments, together with evidence from other behavioral and physiological studies, lend strong support to the proposed theory. At the theoretical level, it is suggested that the distinction between stimulus and

  16. Neural bases of selective attention in action video game players

    OpenAIRE

    Bavelier, D; Achtman, RL; Mani, M; Föcker, J

    2011-01-01

    Over the past few years, the very act of playing action video games has been shown to enhance several different aspects of visual selective attention. Yet little is known about the neural mechanisms that mediate such attentional benefits. A review of the aspects of attention enhanced in action game players suggests there are changes in the mechanisms that control attention allocation and its efficiency (Hubert-Wallander et al., 2010). The present study used brain imaging to test this hypothes...

  17. Distractor Inhibition: Principles of Operation during Selective Attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wyatt, Natalie; Machado, Liana

    2013-01-01

    Research suggests that although target amplification acts as the main determinant of the efficacy of selective attention, distractor inhibition contributes under some circumstances. Here we aimed to gain insight into the operating principles that regulate the use of distractor inhibition during selective attention. The results suggest that, in…

  18. Attachment and selective attention: disorganization and emotional Stroop reaction time.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atkinson, Leslie; Leung, Eman; Goldberg, Susan; Benoit, Diane; Poulton, Lori; Myhal, Natalie; Blokland, Kirsten; Kerr, Sheila

    2009-01-01

    Although central to attachment theory, internal working models remain a useful heuristic in need of concretization. We compared the selective attention of organized and disorganized mothers using the emotional Stroop task. Both disorganized attachment and emotional Stroop response involve the coordination of strongly conflicting motivations under conditions of emotional arousal. Furthermore, much is known about the cognitive and neuromodulatory correlates of the Stroop that may inform attempts to substantiate the internal working model construct. We assessed 47 community mothers with the Adult Attachment Interview and the Working Model of the Child Interview in the third trimester of pregnancy. At 6 and 12 months postpartum, we assessed mothers with emotional Stroop tasks involving neutral, attachment, and emotion conditions. At 12 months, we observed their infants in the Strange Situation. Results showed that: disorganized attachment is related to relative Stroop reaction time, that is, unlike organized mothers, disorganized mothers respond to negative attachment/emotion stimuli more slowly than to neutral stimuli; relative speed of response is positively related to number of times the dyad was classified disorganized, and change in relative Stroop response time from 6 to 12 months is related to the match-mismatch status of mother and infant attachment classifications. We discuss implications in terms of automatic and controlled processing and, more specifically, cognitive threat tags, parallel distributed processing, and neuromodulation through norepinephrine and dopamine.

  19. Neuropsychology of selective attention and magnetic cortical stimulation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabatino, M; Di Nuovo, S; Sardo, P; Abbate, C S; La Grutta, V

    1996-01-01

    Informed volunteers were asked to perform different neuropsychological tests involving selective attention under control conditions and during transcranial magnetic cortical stimulation. The tests chosen involved the recognition of a specific letter among different letters (verbal test) and the search for three different spatial orientations of an appendage to a square (visuo-spatial test). For each test the total time taken and the error rate were calculated. Results showed that cortical stimulation did not cause a worsening in performance. Moreover, magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe neither modified completion time in both verbal and visuo-spatial tests nor changed error rate. In contrast, magnetic stimulation of the pre-frontal area induced a significant reduction in the performance time of both the verbal and visuo-spatial tests always without an increase in the number of errors. The experimental findings underline the importance of the pre-frontal area in performing tasks requiring a high level of controlled attention and suggest the need to adopt an interdisciplinary approach towards the study of neurone/mind interface mechanisms.

  20. Dissociation of face-selective cortical responses by attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Furey, Maura L; Tanskanen, Topi; Beauchamp, Michael S; Avikainen, Sari; Uutela, Kimmo; Hari, Riitta; Haxby, James V

    2006-01-24

    We studied attentional modulation of cortical processing of faces and houses with functional MRI and magnetoencephalography (MEG). MEG detected an early, transient face-selective response. Directing attention to houses in "double-exposure" pictures of superimposed faces and houses strongly suppressed the characteristic, face-selective functional MRI response in the fusiform gyrus. By contrast, attention had no effect on the M170, the early, face-selective response detected with MEG. Late (>190 ms) category-related MEG responses elicited by faces and houses, however, were strongly modulated by attention. These results indicate that hemodynamic and electrophysiological measures of face-selective cortical processing complement each other. The hemodynamic signals reflect primarily late responses that can be modulated by feedback connections. By contrast, the early, face-specific M170 that was not modulated by attention likely reflects a rapid, feed-forward phase of face-selective processing.

  1. Metacognition of Multi-Tasking: How Well Do We Predict the Costs of Divided Attention?

    OpenAIRE

    Finley, Jason R.; Benjamin, Aaron S.; McCarley, Jason S.

    2014-01-01

    Risky multi-tasking, such as texting while driving, may occur because people misestimate the costs of divided attention. In two experiments, participants performed a computerized visual-manual tracking task in which they attempted to keep a mouse cursor within a small target that moved erratically around a circular track. They then separately performed an auditory n-back task. After practicing both tasks separately, participants received feedback on their single-task tracking performance and ...

  2. Divided-attention task on driving simulator: comparison among three groups of drivers

    OpenAIRE

    FREYDIER, Chloé; PAXION, Julie; BERTHELON, Catherine; Bastien-Toniazzo, Mireille

    2013-01-01

    Introduction: Driving is a complex and dynamic task that requires performing simultaneously several sub-tasks, as traffic management and vehicle control. Driving involves both automatic and controlled processing depending on situation met and drivers’ experience. Method: Three groups of drivers with different driving experience were submitted to a divided-attention task in order to assess the interference linked to a secondary task on driving behaviour. The main task was a car-following...

  3. Cardiac responsiveness to attention-demanding tasks in socially maladaptive children

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Althaus, M; Aarnoudse, CC; Minderaa, RB; Mulder, Gysbertus; Mulder, Lambertus

    Cardiac responsiveness to attention-demanding tasks in socially maladaptive children A psychofysiological study of the cardiac adaptivity to attention-demanding reaction time tasks demonstrated that children with a lesser variant of the pervasive developmental disorder (DSM-IV: PDDNOS) exhibit less

  4. Automatic selective attention as a function of sensory modality in aging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guerreiro, Maria J S; Adam, Jos J; Van Gerven, Pascal W M

    2012-03-01

    It was recently hypothesized that age-related differences in selective attention depend on sensory modality (Guerreiro, M. J. S., Murphy, D. R., & Van Gerven, P. W. M. (2010). The role of sensory modality in age-related distraction: A critical review and a renewed view. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 975-1022. doi:10.1037/a0020731). So far, this hypothesis has not been tested in automatic selective attention. The current study addressed this issue by investigating age-related differences in automatic spatial cueing effects (i.e., facilitation and inhibition of return [IOR]) across sensory modalities. Thirty younger (mean age = 22.4 years) and 25 older adults (mean age = 68.8 years) performed 4 left-right target localization tasks, involving all combinations of visual and auditory cues and targets. We used stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) of 100, 500, 1,000, and 1,500 ms between cue and target. The results showed facilitation (shorter reaction times with valid relative to invalid cues at shorter SOAs) in the unimodal auditory and in both cross-modal tasks but not in the unimodal visual task. In contrast, there was IOR (longer reaction times with valid relative to invalid cues at longer SOAs) in both unimodal tasks but not in either of the cross-modal tasks. Most important, these spatial cueing effects were independent of age. The results suggest that the modality hypothesis of age-related differences in selective attention does not extend into the realm of automatic selective attention.

  5. Alcoholics' selective attention to alcohol stimuli: automated processing?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stormark, K M; Laberg, J C; Nordby, H; Hugdahl, K

    2000-01-01

    This study investigated alcoholics' selective attention to alcohol words in a version of the Stroop color-naming task. Alcoholic subjects (n = 23) and nonalcoholic control subjects (n = 23) identified the color of Stroop versions of alcohol, emotional, neutral and color words. Manual reaction times (RTs), skin conductance responses (SCRs) and heart rate (HR) were recorded. Alcoholics showed overall longer RTs than controls while both groups were slower in responding to the incongruent color words than to the other words. Alcoholics showed longer RTs to both alcohol (1522.7 milliseconds [ms]) and emotional words (1523.7 ms) than to neutral words (1450.8 ms) which suggests that the content of these words interfered with the ability to attend to the color of the words. There was also a negative correlation (r = -.41) between RT and response accuracy to alcohol words for the alcoholics, reflecting that the longer time the alcoholics used to respond to the color of the alcohol words, the more incorrect their responses were. The alcoholics also showed significantly greater SCRs to alcohol words (0.16 microSiemens) than to any of the other words (ranging from 0.04-0.08 microSiemens), probably reflecting the emotional significance of the alcohol words. Finally, the alcoholics evidenced smaller HR acceleration to alcohol (1.9 delta bpm) compared to neutral (2.8 delta bpm), which could be related to difficulties alcoholics experience in terminating their attention to the alcohol words. These findings indicate that it is difficult for alcoholics to regulate their attention to alcohol stimuli, suggesting that alcoholics' processing of alcohol information is automated.

  6. Individual differences in temporal selective attention

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Willems, Charlotte

    2016-01-01

    Every waking moment we are bombarded with large amounts of information. Given the limited ability to process this information at a conscious level, some sort of selection for further processing is required to identify the most relevant information (e.g., other road users) while ignoring irrelevant

  7. Acoustic Noise Alters Selective Attention Processes as Indicated by Direct Current (DC Brain Potential Changes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karin Trimmel

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Acoustic environmental noise, even of low to moderate intensity, is known to adversely affect information processing in animals and humans via attention mechanisms. In particular, facilitation and inhibition of information processing are basic functions of selective attention. Such mechanisms can be investigated by analyzing brain potentials under conditions of externally directed attention (intake of environmental information versus internally directed attention (rejection of environmental stimuli and focusing on memory/planning processes. This study investigated brain direct current (DC potential shifts—which are discussed to represent different states of cortical activation—of tasks that require intake and rejection of environmental information under noise. It was hypothesized that without background noise rejection tasks would show more positive DC potential changes compared to intake tasks and that under noise both kinds of tasks would show positive DC shifts as an expression of cortical inhibition caused by noise. DC potential shifts during intake and rejection tasks were analyzed at 16 standard locations in 45 persons during irrelevant speech or white noise vs. control condition. Without noise, rejection tasks were associated with more positive DC potential changes compared to intake tasks. During background noise, however, this difference disappeared and both kinds of tasks led to positive DC shifts. Results suggest—besides some limitations—that noise modulates selective attention mechanisms by switching to an environmental information processing and noise rejection mode, which could represent a suggested “attention shift”. Implications for fMRI studies as well as for public health in learning and performance environments including susceptible persons are discussed.

  8. Acoustic noise alters selective attention processes as indicated by direct current (DC) brain potential changes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trimmel, Karin; Schätzer, Julia; Trimmel, Michael

    2014-09-26

    Acoustic environmental noise, even of low to moderate intensity, is known to adversely affect information processing in animals and humans via attention mechanisms. In particular, facilitation and inhibition of information processing are basic functions of selective attention. Such mechanisms can be investigated by analyzing brain potentials under conditions of externally directed attention (intake of environmental information) versus internally directed attention (rejection of environmental stimuli and focusing on memory/planning processes). This study investigated brain direct current (DC) potential shifts-which are discussed to represent different states of cortical activation-of tasks that require intake and rejection of environmental information under noise. It was hypothesized that without background noise rejection tasks would show more positive DC potential changes compared to intake tasks and that under noise both kinds of tasks would show positive DC shifts as an expression of cortical inhibition caused by noise. DC potential shifts during intake and rejection tasks were analyzed at 16 standard locations in 45 persons during irrelevant speech or white noise vs. control condition. Without noise, rejection tasks were associated with more positive DC potential changes compared to intake tasks. During background noise, however, this difference disappeared and both kinds of tasks led to positive DC shifts. Results suggest-besides some limitations-that noise modulates selective attention mechanisms by switching to an environmental information processing and noise rejection mode, which could represent a suggested "attention shift". Implications for fMRI studies as well as for public health in learning and performance environments including susceptible persons are discussed.

  9. Working memory as internal attention: toward an integrative account of internal and external selection processes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiyonaga, Anastasia; Egner, Tobias

    2013-04-01

    Working memory (WM) and attention have been studied as separate cognitive constructs, although it has long been acknowledged that attention plays an important role in controlling the activation, maintenance, and manipulation of representations in WM. WM has, conversely, been thought of as a means of maintaining representations to voluntarily guide perceptual selective attention. It has more recently been observed, however, that the contents of WM can capture visual attention, even when such internally maintained representations are irrelevant, and often disruptive, to the immediate external task. Thus, the precise relationship between WM and attention remains unclear, but it appears that they may bidirectionally impact one another, whether or not internal representations are consistent with the external perceptual goals. This reciprocal relationship seems, further, to be constrained by limited cognitive resources to handle demands in either maintenance or selection. We propose here that the close relationship between WM and attention may be best described as a give-and-take interdependence between attention directed toward either actively maintained internal representations (traditionally considered WM) or external perceptual stimuli (traditionally considered selective attention), underpinned by their shared reliance on a common cognitive resource. Put simply, we argue that WM and attention should no longer be considered as separate systems or concepts, but as competing and influencing one another because they rely on the same limited resource. This framework can offer an explanation for the capture of visual attention by irrelevant WM contents, as well as a straightforward account of the underspecified relationship between WM and attention.

  10. Working Memory as Internal Attention: Toward an Integrative Account of Internal and External Selection Processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiyonaga, Anastasia; Egner, Tobias

    2012-01-01

    Working memory (WM) and attention have been studied as separate cognitive constructs, although it has long been acknowledged that attention plays an important role in controlling the activation, maintenance, and manipulation of representations in WM. WM has, conversely, been thought of as a means of maintaining representations to voluntarily guide perceptual selective attention. It has more recently been observed, however, that the contents of WM can capture visual attention, even when such internally maintained representations are irrelevant, and often disruptive, to the immediate external task. Thus the precise relationship between WM and attention remains unclear, but it appears that they may bi-directionally impact one another, whether or not internal representations are consistent with external perceptual goals. This reciprocal relationship seems, further, to be constrained by limited cognitive resources to handle demands in either maintenance or selection. We propose here that the close relationship between WM and attention may be best described as a give-and-take interdependence between attention directed toward actively maintained internal representations (traditionally considered WM) versus external perceptual stimuli (traditionally considered selective attention), underpinned by their shared reliance on a common cognitive resource. Put simply, we argue that WM and attention should no longer be considered as separate systems or concepts, but as competing and impacting one another because they rely on the same limited resource. This framework can offer an explanation for the capture of visual attention by irrelevant WM contents, as well as a straightforward account of the underspecified relationship between WM and attention. PMID:23233157

  11. Speech Perception Engages a General Timer: Evidence from a Divided Attention Word Identification Task

    Science.gov (United States)

    Casini, Laurence; Burle, Boris; Nguyen, Noel

    2009-01-01

    Time is essential to speech. The duration of speech segments plays a critical role in the perceptual identification of these segments, and therefore in that of spoken words. Here, using a French word identification task, we show that vowels are perceived as shorter when attention is divided between two tasks, as compared to a single task control…

  12. A Software Environment for an Adaptive Human-Aware Software Agent Supporting Attention-Demanding Tasks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bosse, T.; Memon, Z.A.; Oorburg, R.; Umair, M.; Treur, J.; de Vos, M.

    2011-01-01

    This paper presents a software environment providing human-aware ambient support for a human performing a task that demands substantial amounts of attention. The agent obtains human attention-awareness in an adaptive manner by use of a dynamical model of human attention, gaze sensoring by an

  13. Beyond perceptual load and dilution: a review of the role of working memory in selective attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Fockert, Jan W.

    2013-01-01

    The perceptual load and dilution models differ fundamentally in terms of the proposed mechanism underlying variation in distractibility during different perceptual conditions. However, both models predict that distracting information can be processed beyond perceptual processing under certain conditions, a prediction that is well-supported by the literature. Load theory proposes that in such cases, where perceptual task aspects do not allow for sufficient attentional selectivity, the maintenance of task-relevant processing depends on cognitive control mechanisms, including working memory. The key prediction is that working memory plays a role in keeping clear processing priorities in the face of potential distraction, and the evidence reviewed and evaluated in a meta-analysis here supports this claim, by showing that the processing of distracting information tends to be enhanced when load on a concurrent task of working memory is high. Low working memory capacity is similarly associated with greater distractor processing in selective attention, again suggesting that the unavailability of working memory during selective attention leads to an increase in distractibility. Together, these findings suggest that selective attention against distractors that are processed beyond perception depends on the availability of working memory. Possible mechanisms for the effects of working memory on selective attention are discussed. PMID:23734139

  14. Beyond perceptual load and dilution: a review of the role of working memory in selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Fockert, Jan W

    2013-01-01

    The perceptual load and dilution models differ fundamentally in terms of the proposed mechanism underlying variation in distractibility during different perceptual conditions. However, both models predict that distracting information can be processed beyond perceptual processing under certain conditions, a prediction that is well-supported by the literature. Load theory proposes that in such cases, where perceptual task aspects do not allow for sufficient attentional selectivity, the maintenance of task-relevant processing depends on cognitive control mechanisms, including working memory. The key prediction is that working memory plays a role in keeping clear processing priorities in the face of potential distraction, and the evidence reviewed and evaluated in a meta-analysis here supports this claim, by showing that the processing of distracting information tends to be enhanced when load on a concurrent task of working memory is high. Low working memory capacity is similarly associated with greater distractor processing in selective attention, again suggesting that the unavailability of working memory during selective attention leads to an increase in distractibility. Together, these findings suggest that selective attention against distractors that are processed beyond perception depends on the availability of working memory. Possible mechanisms for the effects of working memory on selective attention are discussed.

  15. Beyond perceptual load and dilution: a review of the role of working memory in selective attention

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan W. De Fockert

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available The perceptual load and dilution models differ fundamentally in terms of the proposed mechanism underlying variation in distractibility during different perceptual conditions. However, both models predict that distracting information can be processed beyond perceptual processing under certain conditions, a prediction that is well-supported by the literature. Load theory proposes that in such cases, where perceptual task aspects do not allow for sufficient attentional selectivity, the maintenance of task-relevant processing depends on cognitive control mechanisms, including working memory. The key prediction is that working memory plays a role in keeping clear processing priorities in the face of potential distraction, and the evidence reviewed and evaluated in a meta-analysis here supports this claim, by showing that the processing of distracting information tends to be enhanced when load on a concurrent task of working memory is high. Low working memory capacity is similarly associated with greater distractor processing in selective attention, again suggesting that the unavailability of working memory during selective attention leads to an increase in distractibility. Together, these findings suggest that selective attention against distractors that are processed beyond perception depends on the availability of working memory. Possible mechanisms for the effects of working memory on selective attention are discussed.

  16. Anger and selective attention to reward and punishment in children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Jie; Jin, Xinyi; Zhang, Meng; Huang, Xiang; Shui, Rende; Shen, Mowei

    2013-07-01

    Anger is a negative emotion associated with approach motivation and may influence children's attention preference. Three experiments examined the effect of anger on the attentional biases accompanying reward versus punishment cues in Chinese 5- and 6-year-olds. Experiment 1 tested children who were prone to report angry feelings in an unfair game. Experiment 2 measured children who were rated by parents and teachers for temperamental anger. Experiment 3 explored children who reported angry feelings in a frustrating attention task with rigged and noncontingent feedback after controlling for temperament anger. Results suggested that both the angry and anger-prone children were faster to engage attention toward the reward cues than toward the punishment cues in the three experiments. Furthermore, the angry children in the frustrating attention task (and those with poor attention focusing by parental report) were slower in disengaging attention away from the reward versus punishment cues (especially after negative feedback). Results support the approach motivation of anger, which can facilitate children's attention toward the appetitive approach-related information. The findings are discussed in terms of the adaptive and maladaptive function of anger. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Investigating the visual span in comparative search: the effects of task difficulty and divided attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pomplun, M; Reingold, E M; Shen, J

    2001-09-01

    In three experiments, participants' visual span was measured in a comparative visual search task in which they had to detect a local match or mismatch between two displays presented side by side. Experiment 1 manipulated the difficulty of the comparative visual search task by contrasting a mismatch detection task with a substantially more difficult match detection task. In Experiment 2, participants were tested in a single-task condition involving only the visual task and a dual-task condition in which they concurrently performed an auditory task. Finally, in Experiment 3, participants performed two dual-task conditions, which differed in the difficulty of the concurrent auditory task. Both the comparative search task difficulty (Experiment 1) and the divided attention manipulation (Experiments 2 and 3) produced strong effects on visual span size.

  18. Task relevance of emotional information affects anxiety-linked attention bias in visual search.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dodd, Helen F; Vogt, Julia; Turkileri, Nilgun; Notebaert, Lies

    2017-01-01

    Task relevance affects emotional attention in healthy individuals. Here, we investigate whether the association between anxiety and attention bias is affected by the task relevance of emotion during an attention task. Participants completed two visual search tasks. In the emotion-irrelevant task, participants were asked to indicate whether a discrepant face in a crowd of neutral, middle-aged faces was old or young. Irrelevant to the task, target faces displayed angry, happy, or neutral expressions. In the emotion-relevant task, participants were asked to indicate whether a discrepant face in a crowd of middle-aged neutral faces was happy or angry (target faces also varied in age). Trait anxiety was not associated with attention in the emotion-relevant task. However, in the emotion-irrelevant task, trait anxiety was associated with a bias for angry over happy faces. These findings demonstrate that the task relevance of emotional information affects conclusions about the presence of an anxiety-linked attention bias. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Study of target and non-target interplay in spatial attention task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sweeti; Joshi, Deepak; Panigrahi, B K; Anand, Sneh; Santhosh, Jayasree

    2018-02-01

    Selective visual attention is the ability to selectively pay attention to the targets while inhibiting the distractors. This paper aims to study the targets and non-targets interplay in spatial attention task while subject attends to the target object present in one visual hemifield and ignores the distractor present in another visual hemifield. This paper performs the averaged evoked response potential (ERP) analysis and time-frequency analysis. ERP analysis agrees to the left hemisphere superiority over late potentials for the targets present in right visual hemifield. Time-frequency analysis performed suggests two parameters i.e. event-related spectral perturbation (ERSP) and inter-trial coherence (ITC). These parameters show the same properties for the target present in either of the visual hemifields but show the difference while comparing the activity corresponding to the targets and non-targets. In this way, this study helps to visualise the difference between targets present in the left and right visual hemifields and, also the targets and non-targets present in the left and right visual hemifields. These results could be utilised to monitor subjects' performance in brain-computer interface (BCI) and neurorehabilitation.

  20. Sustained and transient attention in the Continuous Performance Task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smid, HGOM; de Witte, MR; Homminga, [No Value; van den Bosch, RJ

    One of the most frequently applied methods to study abnormal cognition is the Continuous Performance Task (CPT). It is unclear, however, which cognitive functions are engaged in normal CPT performance. The aims of the present study were to identify the neurocognitive functions engaged in the main

  1. Simultaneous attentional guidance by working-memory and selection history reveals two distinct sources of attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwark, Jeremy D; Dolgov, Igor; Sandry, Joshua; Volkman, C Brooks

    2013-10-01

    Recent theories of attention have proposed that selection history is a separate, dissociable source of information that influences attention. The current study sought to investigate the simultaneous involvement of selection history and working-memory on attention during visual search. Experiments 1 and 2 used target feature probability to manipulate selection history and found significant effects of both working-memory and selection history, although working-memory dominated selection history when they cued different locations. Experiment 3 eliminated the contribution of voluntary refreshing of working-memory and replicated the main effects, although selection history became dominant. Using the same methodology, but with reduced probability cue validity, both effects were present in Experiment 4 and did not significantly differ in their contribution to attention. Effects of selection history and working-memory never interacted. These results suggest that selection history and working-memory are separate influences on attention and have little impact on each other. Theoretical implications for models of attention are discussed. © 2013.

  2. Sensation seeking and visual selective attention in adults with HIV/AIDS.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hardy, David J; Castellon, Steven A; Hinkin, Charles H; Levine, Andrew J; Lam, Mona N

    2008-11-01

    The association between sensation seeking and visual selective attention was examined in 31 adults with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Sensation seeking was measured with Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scale Form V (SSS-V). Selective attention was assessed with a perceptual span task, where a target letter-character must be identified in a quickly presented array of nontarget letter-characters. As predicted, sensation seeking was strongly associated (R(2) = .229) with perceptual span performance in the array size 12 condition, where selective attention demands were greatest, but not in the easier conditions. The Disinhibition, Boredom Susceptibility, and Experience Seeking subscales of the SSS-V were associated with span performance. It is argued that personality factors such as sensation seeking may play a significant role in selective attention and related cognitive abilities in HIV positive adults. Furthermore, sensation seeking differences might explain certain inconsistencies in the HIV neuropsychology literature.

  3. Investigation of attention via the counting Stroop task in patients with functional constipation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Yi; Li, Xiao-Yi; Yao, Lin-Yan; Zhao, Lan; Dai, Ning; Wu, Hao

    2012-02-01

    The etiology and pathology of functional constipation (FC) is unclear. Some researches suggest that psychological factors may be related to this common problem. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between attention processing and emotional status in FC patients compared with healthy controls. We investigated selective attention and emotional status in patients with FC using the counting Stroop task. Thirty-five FC patients (FCP group) and 24 healthy controls (HCs) underwent an event-related potential (ERP) study while performing the task. Response time, latency and amplitude of P300 were collected and compared between the two groups. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD-17), Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA), Symptom Checklist-90 (SCL-90) and Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) were administered prior to the counting Stroop task. Scores for the FCP group differed significantly from those for the HCs on the HAMD-17, HAMA, SCL-90 (Global Severity Index, Positive Symptoms Total, dimensions of somatization, obsessive-compulsive, depression, anxiety, and psychosis), as well as extraversion and neurosis dimensions of the EPQ (P 0.05). ERP results showed prolonged latency at F4, additionally found enhanced activation at F3, FC1 and T8, and decreased activation at sites FC6 and P7 in the patients with FC. Statistically, significant differences of P300 latency at site F4 (P well as somatization, obsessive-compulsive tendencies and other neurotic personality characteristics. Patients may employ psychological defense mechanisms to avoid the pain of depression and anxiety. ERP results imply there may be some brain dysfunction and attention deficits in patients with FC.

  4. Modulation of the attentional span by foveal and parafoveal task load: An ERP study using attentional probes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kornrumpf, Benthe; Sommer, Werner

    2015-09-01

    Due to capacity limitation, visual attention must be focused to a limited region of the visual field. Nevertheless, it is assumed that the size of that region may vary with task demands. We aimed to obtain direct evidence for the modulation of visuospatial attention as a function of foveal and parafoveal task load. Participants were required to fixate the center word of word triplets. In separate task blocks, either just the fixated word or both the fixated and the parafoveal word to the right should be semantically classified. The spatiotemporal distribution of attention was assessed with task-irrelevant probes flashed briefly at center or parafoveal positions, during or in between word presentation trials. The N1 component of the ERP elicited by intertrial probes at possible target positions increased with task demands within a block. These results suggest the recruitment of additional attentional resources rather than a redistribution of a fixed resource pool, which persists across trials. © 2015 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

  5. A novel test for evaluating horses' spontaneous visual attention is predictive of attention in operant learning tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rochais, C.; Sébilleau, M.; Houdebine, M.; Bec, P.; Hausberger, M.; Henry, S.

    2017-08-01

    Attention is described as the ability to process selectively one aspect of the environment over others. In this study, we characterized horses' spontaneous attention by designing a novel visual attention test (VAT) that is easy to apply in the animal's home environment. The test was repeated over three consecutive days and repeated again 6 months later in order to assess inter-individual variations and intra-individual stability. Different patterns of attention have been revealed: `overall' attention when the horse merely gazed at the stimulus and `fixed' attention characterized by fixity and orientation of at least the visual and auditory organs towards the stimulus. The individual attention characteristics remained consistent over time (after 6 months, Spearman correlation test, P work situation (lunge working context). Our results revealed that (i) individual variations remained consistent across tests and (ii) the VAT attention measures were not only predictive of attentional skills but also of learning abilities. Differences appeared however between the first day of testing and the following test days: attention structure on the second day was predictive of learning abilities, attention performances in the 5-CSRRT and at work. The VAT appears as a promising easy-to-use tool to assess animals' attention characteristics and the impact of different factors of variation on attention.

  6. Selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates initial encoding of auditory words within the left hemisphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoncheva, Yuliya; Maurer, Urs; Zevin, Jason D; McCandliss, Bruce D

    2014-08-15

    Selective attention to phonology, i.e., the ability to attend to sub-syllabic units within spoken words, is a critical precursor to literacy acquisition. Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence has demonstrated that a left-lateralized network of frontal, temporal, and posterior language regions, including the visual word form area, supports this skill. The current event-related potential (ERP) study investigated the temporal dynamics of selective attention to phonology during spoken word perception. We tested the hypothesis that selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates stimulus encoding by recruiting left-lateralized processes specifically while the information critical for performance is unfolding. Selective attention to phonology was captured by manipulating listening goals: skilled adult readers attended to either rhyme or melody within auditory stimulus pairs. Each pair superimposed rhyming and melodic information ensuring identical sensory stimulation. Selective attention to phonology produced distinct early and late topographic ERP effects during stimulus encoding. Data-driven source localization analyses revealed that selective attention to phonology led to significantly greater recruitment of left-lateralized posterior and extensive temporal regions, which was notably concurrent with the rhyme-relevant information within the word. Furthermore, selective attention effects were specific to auditory stimulus encoding and not observed in response to cues, arguing against the notion that they reflect sustained task setting. Collectively, these results demonstrate that selective attention to phonology dynamically engages a left-lateralized network during the critical time-period of perception for achieving phonological analysis goals. These findings suggest a key role for selective attention in on-line phonological computations. Furthermore, these findings motivate future research on the role that neural mechanisms of attention may

  7. Visual attention and emotional memory: recall of aversive pictures is partially mediated by concurrent task performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pottage, Claire L; Schaefer, Alexandre

    2012-02-01

    The emotional enhancement of memory is often thought to be determined by attention. However, recent evidence using divided attention paradigms suggests that attention does not play a significant role in the formation of memories for aversive pictures. We report a study that investigated this question using a paradigm in which participants had to encode lists of randomly intermixed negative and neutral pictures under conditions of full attention and divided attention followed by a free recall test. Attention was divided by a highly demanding concurrent task tapping visual processing resources. Results showed that the advantage in recall for aversive pictures was still present in the DA condition. However, mediation analyses also revealed that concurrent task performance significantly mediated the emotional enhancement of memory under divided attention. This finding suggests that visual attentional processes play a significant role in the formation of emotional memories. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved

  8. The role of metacognition in prospective memory: anticipated task demands influence attention allocation strategies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rummel, Jan; Meiser, Thorsten

    2013-09-01

    The present study investigates how individuals distribute their attentional resources between a prospective memory task and an ongoing task. Therefore, metacognitive expectations about the attentional demands of the prospective-memory task were manipulated while the factual demands were held constant. In Experiments 1a and 1b, we found attentional costs from a prospective-memory task with low factual demands to be significantly reduced when information about the low to-be-expected demands were provided, while prospective-memory performance remained largely unaffected. In Experiment 2, attentional monitoring in a more demanding prospective-memory task also varied with information about the to-be-expected demands (high vs. low) and again there were no equivalent changes in prospective-memory performance. These findings suggest that attention-allocation strategies of prospective memory rely on metacognitive expectations about prospective-memory task demands. Furthermore, the results suggest that attentional monitoring is only functional for prospective memory to the extent to which anticipated task demands reflect objective task demands. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. The influence of caffeine on spatial-selective attention : an event-related potential study

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    de Ruiter, MB; Snel, J; Lorist, MM; Ruijter, J

    2000-01-01

    Objectives: Following the indications of previous studies that caffeine might have a specific effect on the processing of spatial information compared with other types of information, the present study investigated the influence of caffeine on an often used spatial-selective attention task. Methods:

  10. The effects of social stress and cortisol responses on the preconscious selective attention to social threat

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roelofs, K.; Bakvis, P.; Hermans, E.J.; Pelt, J. van; Honk, E.J. van

    2007-01-01

    The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of social stress and stress-induced cortisol on the preconscious selective attention to social threat. Twenty healthy participants were administered a masked emotional Stroop task (comparing color-naming latencies for angry, neutral and

  11. The effects of social stress and cortisol responses on the preconscious selective attention to social threat.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roelofs, K.; Bakvis, P.; Hermans, E.J.; Pelt, J. van; Honk, E.J. van

    2007-01-01

    The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of social stress and stress-induced cortisol on the preconscious selective attention to social threat. Twenty healthy participants were administered a masked emotional Stroop task (comparing color-naming latencies for angry, neutral and

  12. Development of Auditory Selective Attention: Why Children Struggle to Hear in Noisy Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Pete R.; Moore, David R.; Amitay, Sygal

    2015-01-01

    Children's hearing deteriorates markedly in the presence of unpredictable noise. To explore why, 187 school-age children (4-11 years) and 15 adults performed a tone-in-noise detection task, in which the masking noise varied randomly between every presentation. Selective attention was evaluated by measuring the degree to which listeners were…

  13. Simulating the Role of Visual Selective Attention during the Development of Perceptual Completion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlesinger, Matthew; Amso, Dima; Johnson, Scott P.

    2012-01-01

    We recently proposed a multi-channel, image-filtering model for simulating the development of visual selective attention in young infants (Schlesinger, Amso & Johnson, 2007). The model not only captures the performance of 3-month-olds on a visual search task, but also implicates two cortical regions that may play a role in the development of…

  14. Auditory Stream Segregation Improves Infants' Selective Attention to Target Tones Amid Distracters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Nicholas A.; Trainor, Laurel J.

    2011-01-01

    This study examined the role of auditory stream segregation in the selective attention to target tones in infancy. Using a task adapted from Bregman and Rudnicky's 1975 study and implemented in a conditioned head-turn procedure, infant and adult listeners had to discriminate the temporal order of 2,200 and 2,400 Hz target tones presented alone,…

  15. Threat Related Selective Attention Predicts Treatment Success in Childhood Anxiety Disorders

    Science.gov (United States)

    Legerstee, Jeroen S.; Tulen, Joke H. M.; Kallen, Victor L.; Dieleman, Gwen C.; Treffers, Philip D. A.; Verhulst, Frank C.; Utens, Elisabeth M. W. J.

    2009-01-01

    Threat-related selective attention was found to predict the success of the treatment of childhood anxiety disorders through administering a pictorial dot-probe task to 131 children with anxiety disorders prior to cognitive behavioral therapy. The diagnostic status of the subjects was evaluated with a semistructured clinical interview at both pre-…

  16. Processing Resources in Attention, Dual Task Performance, and Workload Assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    1981-07-01

    levels of processing in encoding and memory ( Craik & Lockhart , 1972) employs the capacity metaphore when describing the amount of processing ...depending upon the nature of a paired task. Second, encoding or rehearsal of verbal material may differ in the "depth of processing " ( Craik & Lockhart ...F.I.M., & Lockhart , F.S. Levels of processing : A framework for mem- ory research. Journal of Verbal Learning & Verbal Behavior, 1972, 11, 671-684.

  17. Attention and perceptual implicit memory: effects of selective versus divided attention and number of visual objects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mulligan, Neil W

    2002-08-01

    Extant research presents conflicting results on whether manipulations of attention during encoding affect perceptual priming. Two suggested mediating factors are type of manipulation (selective vs divided) and whether attention is manipulated across multiple objects or within a single object. Words printed in different colors (Experiment 1) or flanked by colored blocks (Experiment 2) were presented at encoding. In the full-attention condition, participants always read the word, in the unattended condition they always identified the color, and in the divided-attention conditions, participants attended to both word identity and color. Perceptual priming was assessed with perceptual identification and explicit memory with recognition. Relative to the full-attention condition, attending to color always reduced priming. Dividing attention between word identity and color, however, only disrupted priming when these attributes were presented as multiple objects (Experiment 2) but not when they were dimensions of a common object (Experiment 1). On the explicit test, manipulations of attention always affected recognition accuracy.

  18. Dividing attention between tasks : Testing whether explicit payoff functions elicit optimal dual-task performance

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Farmer, George D.; Janssen, C.P.|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/412781654; Nguyen, Anh T; Brumby, Duncan P.

    2018-01-01

    We test people's ability to optimize performance across two concurrent tasks. Participants performed a number entry task while controlling a randomly moving cursor with a joystick. Participants received explicit feedback on their performance on these tasks in the form of a single combined score.

  19. Sex Role Learning: A Test of the Selective Attention Hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryan, Janice Westlund; Luria, Zella

    This paper reports three studies designed to determine whether children show selective attention and/or differential memory to slide pictures of same-sex vs. opposite-sex models and activities. Attention was measured using a feedback EEG procedure, which measured the presence or absence of alpha rhythms in the subjects' brains during presentation…

  20. The Competitive Influences of Perceptual Load and Working Memory Guidance on Selective Attention.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jinfeng Tan

    Full Text Available The perceptual load theory in selective attention literature proposes that the interference from task-irrelevant distractor is eliminated when perceptual capacity is fully consumed by task-relevant information. However, the biased competition model suggests that the contents of working memory (WM can guide attentional selection automatically, even when this guidance is detrimental to visual search. An intriguing but unsolved question is what will happen when selective attention is influenced by both perceptual load and WM guidance. To study this issue, behavioral performances and event-related potentials (ERPs were recorded when participants were presented with a cue to either identify or hold in memory and had to perform a visual search task subsequently, under conditions of low or high perceptual load. Behavioural data showed that high perceptual load eliminated the attentional capture by WM. The ERP results revealed an obvious WM guidance effect in P1 component with invalid trials eliciting larger P1 than neutral trials, regardless of the level of perceptual load. The interaction between perceptual load and WM guidance was significant for the posterior N1 component. The memory guidance effect on N1 was eliminated by high perceptual load. Standardized Low Resolution Electrical Tomography Analysis (sLORETA showed that the WM guidance effect and the perceptual load effect on attention can be localized into the occipital area and parietal lobe, respectively. Merely identifying the cue produced no effect on the P1 or N1 component. These results suggest that in selective attention, the information held in WM could capture attention at the early stage of visual processing in the occipital cortex. Interestingly, this initial capture of attention by WM could be modulated by the level of perceptual load and the parietal lobe mediates target selection at the discrimination stage.

  1. The Competitive Influences of Perceptual Load and Working Memory Guidance on Selective Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tan, Jinfeng; Zhao, Yuanfang; Wang, Lijun; Tian, Xia; Cui, Yan; Yang, Qian; Pan, Weigang; Zhao, Xiaoyue; Chen, Antao

    2015-01-01

    The perceptual load theory in selective attention literature proposes that the interference from task-irrelevant distractor is eliminated when perceptual capacity is fully consumed by task-relevant information. However, the biased competition model suggests that the contents of working memory (WM) can guide attentional selection automatically, even when this guidance is detrimental to visual search. An intriguing but unsolved question is what will happen when selective attention is influenced by both perceptual load and WM guidance. To study this issue, behavioral performances and event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded when participants were presented with a cue to either identify or hold in memory and had to perform a visual search task subsequently, under conditions of low or high perceptual load. Behavioural data showed that high perceptual load eliminated the attentional capture by WM. The ERP results revealed an obvious WM guidance effect in P1 component with invalid trials eliciting larger P1 than neutral trials, regardless of the level of perceptual load. The interaction between perceptual load and WM guidance was significant for the posterior N1 component. The memory guidance effect on N1 was eliminated by high perceptual load. Standardized Low Resolution Electrical Tomography Analysis (sLORETA) showed that the WM guidance effect and the perceptual load effect on attention can be localized into the occipital area and parietal lobe, respectively. Merely identifying the cue produced no effect on the P1 or N1 component. These results suggest that in selective attention, the information held in WM could capture attention at the early stage of visual processing in the occipital cortex. Interestingly, this initial capture of attention by WM could be modulated by the level of perceptual load and the parietal lobe mediates target selection at the discrimination stage.

  2. Acute physical exercise affected processing efficiency in an auditory attention task more than processing effectiveness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dutke, Stephan; Jaitner, Thomas; Berse, Timo; Barenberg, Jonathan

    2014-02-01

    Research on effects of acute physical exercise on performance in a concurrent cognitive task has generated equivocal evidence. Processing efficiency theory predicts that concurrent physical exercise can increase resource requirements for sustaining cognitive performance even when the level of performance is unaffected. This hypothesis was tested in a dual-task experiment. Sixty young adults worked on a primary auditory attention task and a secondary interval production task while cycling on a bicycle ergometer. Physical load (cycling) and cognitive load of the primary task were manipulated. Neither physical nor cognitive load affected primary task performance, but both factors interacted on secondary task performance. Sustaining primary task performance under increased physical and/or cognitive load increased resource consumption as indicated by decreased secondary task performance. Results demonstrated that physical exercise effects on cognition might be underestimated when only single task performance is the focus.

  3. Neural mechanisms of selective attention in the somatosensory system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez-Ramirez, Manuel; Hysaj, Kristjana; Niebur, Ernst

    2016-09-01

    Selective attention allows organisms to extract behaviorally relevant information while ignoring distracting stimuli that compete for the limited resources of their central nervous systems. Attention is highly flexible, and it can be harnessed to select information based on sensory modality, within-modality feature(s), spatial location, object identity, and/or temporal properties. In this review, we discuss the body of work devoted to understanding mechanisms of selective attention in the somatosensory system. In particular, we describe the effects of attention on tactile behavior and corresponding neural activity in somatosensory cortex. Our focus is on neural mechanisms that select tactile stimuli based on their location on the body (somatotopic-based attention) or their sensory feature (feature-based attention). We highlight parallels between selection mechanisms in touch and other sensory systems and discuss several putative neural coding schemes employed by cortical populations to signal the behavioral relevance of sensory inputs. Specifically, we contrast the advantages and disadvantages of using a gain vs. spike-spike correlation code for representing attended sensory stimuli. We favor a neural network model of tactile attention that is composed of frontal, parietal, and subcortical areas that controls somatosensory cells encoding the relevant stimulus features to enable preferential processing throughout the somatosensory hierarchy. Our review is based on data from noninvasive electrophysiological and imaging data in humans as well as single-unit recordings in nonhuman primates. Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.

  4. Load Theory of Selective Attention and Cognitive Control

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lavie, Nilli; Hirst, Aleksandra; de Fockert, Jan W.; Viding, Essi

    2004-01-01

    A load theory of attention in which distractor rejection depends on the level and type of load involved in current processing was tested. A series of experiments demonstrates that whereas high perceptual load reduces distractor interference, working memory load or dual-task coordination load increases distractor interference. These findings…

  5. The influence of executive capacity on selective attention and subsequent processing

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kirk R. Daffner

    2012-06-01

    Full Text Available Recent investigations that suggest selective attention is dependent on top-down control mechanisms lead to the expectation that individuals with high executive capacity would exhibit more robust neural indices of selective attention. This prediction was tested by using event-related potentials (ERPs to examine differences in markers of information processing across 25 subjects divided into 2 groups based on high vs. average executive capacity, as defined by neuropsychological test scores. Subjects performed an experimental task requiring selective attention to a specified color. In contrast to expectation, individuals with high and average executive capacity did not differ in the size of ERP indices of selective attention: the anterior Selection Positivity (SP and posterior Selection Negativity (SN. However, there were substantial differences between groups in markers of subsequent processing, including the anterior N2 (a measure of attentional control and the P3a (an index of the orienting of attention. Executive capacity predicted speed of processing at both early and late attentional stages. Individuals with lower executive capacity exhibited prolonged SN, P3a, and P3b latencies. However, the delays in carrying out selective attention operations did not account for subsequent delays in decision making, or explain excessive orienting and reduced attentional control mechanisms in response to stimuli that should have been ignored. SN latency, P3 latency, and the size of the anterior N2 made independent contributions to the variance of executive capacity. In summary, our findings suggest that current views regarding the relationship between top-down control mechanisms and selective attention may need refinement.

  6. Selective Attention in Inattentional Blindness: Selection is Specific but Suppression is Not

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Katherine Wood

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available When we selectively attend to one set of objects and ignore another, we often fail to notice unexpected events. The likelihood of noticing varies depending on the similarity of an unexpected object to other items in the display, a process thought to be controlled by the attention set that we create for the attended and ignored objects. It remains unclear, though, how attention sets are formed and structured. Do they enhance features of attended objects (“white” and suppress features of ignored objects (“black”, or do they distinguish objects based on relations or categories (“darker” versus “lighter,” or “dark objects” versus “light objects”? In previous work, these explanations are confounded; the objects would be partitioned into the same groups regardless the structure of the attention set. In the present three experiments, the attended or ignored set of objects was a constant color while the other set was variable. When people attended white and ignored a multicolored set of objects (Experiment 1, novel colors were suppressed just as much as display colors, suggesting nonselective filtering of nonwhite objects. When the color of one set of objects varied across displays but was constant within them (Experiments 2 and 3, we again found as much suppression for task-irrelevant and novel colors as for actively ignored ones. Whenever people ignored a set of objects that varied in color, they suppressed unexpected objects that matched the ignored colors and that differed from the actively ignored items on the critical trial. In contrast, when people attended a varying set, noticing was enhanced only for unexpected objects that matched the currently attended color. In this task, attentional filtering is category-based and did not depend on the features of the individual objects.

  7. Effect of alcohol and divided attention task on simulated driving performance of young drivers

    OpenAIRE

    FREYDIER , Chloé; BERTHELON , Catherine; Bastien-Toniazzo , Mireille; GINEYT , Guy

    2013-01-01

    The aim of this study is to evaluate driving impairment linked to divided attention task and alcohol and determinate if it is higher for novice drivers compared to more experienced drivers. Sixteen novice drivers and sixteen experienced drivers participated in three experimental sessions corresponding to blood alcohol concentration [BAC] of 0.0 g/L, 0.2 g/L and 0.5 g/L. They performed a divided attention task [car-following task combined with a number parity identification task], and their re...

  8. Focal Suppression of Distractor Sounds by Selective Attention in Auditory Cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, Zachary P; David, Stephen V

    2018-01-01

    Auditory selective attention is required for parsing crowded acoustic environments, but cortical systems mediating the influence of behavioral state on auditory perception are not well characterized. Previous neurophysiological studies suggest that attention produces a general enhancement of neural responses to important target sounds versus irrelevant distractors. However, behavioral studies suggest that in the presence of masking noise, attention provides a focal suppression of distractors that compete with targets. Here, we compared effects of attention on cortical responses to masking versus non-masking distractors, controlling for effects of listening effort and general task engagement. We recorded single-unit activity from primary auditory cortex (A1) of ferrets during behavior and found that selective attention decreased responses to distractors masking targets in the same spectral band, compared with spectrally distinct distractors. This suppression enhanced neural target detection thresholds, suggesting that limited attention resources serve to focally suppress responses to distractors that interfere with target detection. Changing effort by manipulating target salience consistently modulated spontaneous but not evoked activity. Task engagement and changing effort tended to affect the same neurons, while attention affected an independent population, suggesting that distinct feedback circuits mediate effects of attention and effort in A1. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.

  9. Online Modulation of Selective Attention is not Impaired in Healthy Aging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sekuler, Robert; Huang, Jie; Sekuler, Allison B; Bennett, Patrick J

    2017-01-01

    Background/Study Context: Reduced processing speed pervades a great many aspects of human aging and cognition. However, little is known about one aspect of cognitive aging in which speed is of the essence, namely, the speed with which older adults can deploy attention in response to a cue. The authors compared rapid temporal modulation of cued visual attention in younger (M age  = 22.3 years) and older (M age  = 68.9 years) adults. On each trial of a short-term memory task, a cue identified which of two briefly presented stimuli was task relevant and which one should be ignored. After a short delay, subjects demonstrated recall by reproducing from memory the task-relevant stimulus. This produced estimates of (i) accuracy with which the task-relevant stimulus was recalled, (ii) the influence of stimuli encountered on previous trials (a prototype effect), and (iii) the influence of the trial's task-irrelevant stimulus. For both groups, errors in recall were considerably smaller when selective attention was cued before rather than after presentation of the stimuli. Both groups showed serial position effects to the same degree, and both seemed equally adept at exploiting the stimuli encountered on previous trials as a means of supplementing recall accuracy on the current trial. Younger and older subjects may not differ reliably in capacity for cue-directed temporal modulation of selective attention, or in ability to draw on previously seen stimuli as memory support.

  10. Two different mechanisms support selective attention at different phases of training.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Itthipuripat, Sirawaj; Cha, Kexin; Byers, Anna; Serences, John T

    2017-06-01

    Selective attention supports the prioritized processing of relevant sensory information to facilitate goal-directed behavior. Studies in human subjects demonstrate that attentional gain of cortical responses can sufficiently account for attention-related improvements in behavior. On the other hand, studies using highly trained nonhuman primates suggest that reductions in neural noise can better explain attentional facilitation of behavior. Given the importance of selective information processing in nearly all domains of cognition, we sought to reconcile these competing accounts by testing the hypothesis that extensive behavioral training alters the neural mechanisms that support selective attention. We tested this hypothesis using electroencephalography (EEG) to measure stimulus-evoked visual responses from human subjects while they performed a selective spatial attention task over the course of ~1 month. Early in training, spatial attention led to an increase in the gain of stimulus-evoked visual responses. Gain was apparent within ~100 ms of stimulus onset, and a quantitative model based on signal detection theory (SDT) successfully linked the magnitude of this gain modulation to attention-related improvements in behavior. However, after extensive training, this early attentional gain was eliminated even though there were still substantial attention-related improvements in behavior. Accordingly, the SDT-based model required noise reduction to account for the link between the stimulus-evoked visual responses and attentional modulations of behavior. These findings suggest that training can lead to fundamental changes in the way attention alters the early cortical responses that support selective information processing. Moreover, these data facilitate the translation of results across different species and across experimental procedures that employ different behavioral training regimes.

  11. Two different mechanisms support selective attention at different phases of training

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cha, Kexin; Byers, Anna; Serences, John T.

    2017-01-01

    Selective attention supports the prioritized processing of relevant sensory information to facilitate goal-directed behavior. Studies in human subjects demonstrate that attentional gain of cortical responses can sufficiently account for attention-related improvements in behavior. On the other hand, studies using highly trained nonhuman primates suggest that reductions in neural noise can better explain attentional facilitation of behavior. Given the importance of selective information processing in nearly all domains of cognition, we sought to reconcile these competing accounts by testing the hypothesis that extensive behavioral training alters the neural mechanisms that support selective attention. We tested this hypothesis using electroencephalography (EEG) to measure stimulus-evoked visual responses from human subjects while they performed a selective spatial attention task over the course of ~1 month. Early in training, spatial attention led to an increase in the gain of stimulus-evoked visual responses. Gain was apparent within ~100 ms of stimulus onset, and a quantitative model based on signal detection theory (SDT) successfully linked the magnitude of this gain modulation to attention-related improvements in behavior. However, after extensive training, this early attentional gain was eliminated even though there were still substantial attention-related improvements in behavior. Accordingly, the SDT-based model required noise reduction to account for the link between the stimulus-evoked visual responses and attentional modulations of behavior. These findings suggest that training can lead to fundamental changes in the way attention alters the early cortical responses that support selective information processing. Moreover, these data facilitate the translation of results across different species and across experimental procedures that employ different behavioral training regimes. PMID:28654635

  12. Darwinian algorithms and the Wason selection task: a factorial analysis of social contract selection task problems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Platt, R D; Griggs, R A

    1993-08-01

    In four experiments with 760 subjects, the present study examined Cosmides' Darwinian algorithm theory of reasoning: specifically, its explanation of facilitation on the Wason selection task. The first experiment replicated Cosmides' finding of facilitation for social contract versions of the selection task, using both her multiple-problem format and a single-problem format. Experiment 2 examined performance on Cosmides' three main social contract problems while manipulating the perspective of the subject and the presence and absence of cost-benefit information. The presence of cost-benefit information improved performance in two of the three problems while the perspective manipulation had no effect. In Experiment 3, the cost-benefit effect was replicated; and performance on one of the three problems was enhanced by the presence of explicit negatives on the NOT-P and NOT-Q cards. Experiment 4 examined the role of the deontic term "must" in the facilitation observed for two of the social contract problems. The presence of "must" led to a significant improvement in performance. The results of these experiments are strongly supportive of social contract theory in that cost-benefit information is necessary for substantial facilitation to be observed in Cosmides' problems. These findings also suggest the presence of other cues that can help guide subjects to a deontic social contract interpretation when the social contract nature of the problem is not clear.

  13. Attentional fluctuations in preschoolers: Direct and indirect relations with task accuracy, academic readiness, and school performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Isbell, Elif; Calkins, Susan D; Swingler, Margaret M; Leerkes, Esther M

    2018-03-01

    Attentional control fluctuates in the presence of internal and external distractors, wandering on and off a given task. The current study investigated individual differences in attentional fluctuations in 250 preschoolers. Attentional fluctuations were assessed via intra-individual variability in response time in a Go/No-Go task. Greater fluctuations in attentional control were linked to lower task accuracy. In addition, greater attentional fluctuations predicted lower performance in a task of cognitive flexibility, the Dimensional Change Card Sort task. Attentional fluctuations were also associated with laboratory measures of academic readiness in preschool, as assessed by the Applied Problems and Letter-Word Identification subscales of the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement, which in turn predicted teacher reports of academic performance in first grade. Attentional fluctuations also had indirect associations with emergent math skills in preschool, via cognitive flexibility, as well as indirect associations with first-grade teacher reports of academic performance, via the relations between cognitive flexibility and emergent math skills in preschool. These results suggest that consistency is an important aspect of attentional control during early childhood. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Effects of chewing gum and time-on-task on alertness and attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, A P; Smith, A P

    2012-07-01

    Chewing gum has been shown to reliably increase subjective alertness whereas the effects on attention are more variable. It has been suggested that chewing gum only enhances attention when the person has been performing a task for some time. The current research aimed to investigate if time-on-task trends enhancing effects of chewing gum could be observed in alertness and attention during and following chewing. Study 1 used tests of reported mood, including reported mood, and tests of attention (categoric search, focussed attention, simple reaction time, and vigilance). These tasks were performed shortly after the start of chewing. Study 2 examined effects of previous and current chewing on reported alertness and the attention tests. Study 1 showed that chewing gum increased reported alertness and hedonic tone and improved performance on the categoric search task. Chewing gum maintained reported alertness across sessions in study 2. In the first experimental session of study 2 gum improved categoric search performance, and during the second session gum broadened focus of attention and quickened vigilance reaction time. This effect on vigilance reaction time was moderated by time-on-task, with an initial negative effect being replaced by a positive effect. The results confirm the robust effect of chewing gum on reported alertness and show that changes in the effects of chewing gum on attention require further investigation. Future research may also determine underlying mechanisms for an alerting effect.

  15. Individual Alpha Peak Frequency Predicts 10 Hz Flicker Effects on Selective Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gulbinaite, Rasa; van Viegen, Tara; Wieling, Martijn; Cohen, Michael X; VanRullen, Rufin

    2017-10-18

    Rhythmic visual stimulation ("flicker") is primarily used to "tag" processing of low-level visual and high-level cognitive phenomena. However, preliminary evidence suggests that flicker may also entrain endogenous brain oscillations, thereby modulating cognitive processes supported by those brain rhythms. Here we tested the interaction between 10 Hz flicker and endogenous alpha-band (∼10 Hz) oscillations during a selective visuospatial attention task. We recorded EEG from human participants (both genders) while they performed a modified Eriksen flanker task in which distractors and targets flickered within (10 Hz) or outside (7.5 or 15 Hz) the alpha band. By using a combination of EEG source separation, time-frequency, and single-trial linear mixed-effects modeling, we demonstrate that 10 Hz flicker interfered with stimulus processing more on incongruent than congruent trials (high vs low selective attention demands). Crucially, the effect of 10 Hz flicker on task performance was predicted by the distance between 10 Hz and individual alpha peak frequency (estimated during the task). Finally, the flicker effect on task performance was more strongly predicted by EEG flicker responses during stimulus processing than during preparation for the upcoming stimulus, suggesting that 10 Hz flicker interfered more with reactive than proactive selective attention. These findings are consistent with our hypothesis that visual flicker entrained endogenous alpha-band networks, which in turn impaired task performance. Our findings also provide novel evidence for frequency-dependent exogenous modulation of cognition that is determined by the correspondence between the exogenous flicker frequency and the endogenous brain rhythms. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Here we provide novel evidence that the interaction between exogenous rhythmic visual stimulation and endogenous brain rhythms can have frequency-specific behavioral effects. We show that alpha-band (10 Hz) flicker impairs stimulus

  16. Individual differences in selective attention predict speech identification at a cocktail party.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oberfeld, Daniel; Klöckner-Nowotny, Felicitas

    2016-08-31

    Listeners with normal hearing show considerable individual differences in speech understanding when competing speakers are present, as in a crowded restaurant. Here, we show that one source of this variance are individual differences in the ability to focus selective attention on a target stimulus in the presence of distractors. In 50 young normal-hearing listeners, the performance in tasks measuring auditory and visual selective attention was associated with sentence identification in the presence of spatially separated competing speakers. Together, the measures of selective attention explained a similar proportion of variance as the binaural sensitivity for the acoustic temporal fine structure. Working memory span, age, and audiometric thresholds showed no significant association with speech understanding. These results suggest that a reduced ability to focus attention on a target is one reason why some listeners with normal hearing sensitivity have difficulty communicating in situations with background noise.

  17. Individual differences in selective attention predict speech identification at a cocktail party

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oberfeld, Daniel; Klöckner-Nowotny, Felicitas

    2016-01-01

    Listeners with normal hearing show considerable individual differences in speech understanding when competing speakers are present, as in a crowded restaurant. Here, we show that one source of this variance are individual differences in the ability to focus selective attention on a target stimulus in the presence of distractors. In 50 young normal-hearing listeners, the performance in tasks measuring auditory and visual selective attention was associated with sentence identification in the presence of spatially separated competing speakers. Together, the measures of selective attention explained a similar proportion of variance as the binaural sensitivity for the acoustic temporal fine structure. Working memory span, age, and audiometric thresholds showed no significant association with speech understanding. These results suggest that a reduced ability to focus attention on a target is one reason why some listeners with normal hearing sensitivity have difficulty communicating in situations with background noise. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.16747.001 PMID:27580272

  18. Different cortical mechanisms for spatial vs. feature-based attentional selection in visual working memory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anna Heuer

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available The limited capacity of visual working memory necessitates attentional mechanisms that selectively update and maintain only the most task-relevant content. Psychophysical experiments have shown that the retroactive selection of memory content can be based on visual properties such as location or shape, but the neural basis for such differential selection is unknown. For example, it is not known if there are different cortical modules specialized for spatial versus feature-based mnemonic attention, in the same way that has been demonstrated for attention to perceptual input. Here, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS to identify areas in human parietal and occipital cortex involved in the selection of objects from memory based on cues to their location (spatial information or their shape (featural information. We found that TMS over the supramarginal gyrus (SMG selectively facilitated spatial selection, whereas TMS over the lateral occipital cortex selectively enhanced feature-based selection for remembered objects in the contralateral visual field. Thus, different cortical regions are responsible for spatial vs. feature-based selection of working memory representations. Since the same regions are involved in attention to external events, these new findings indicate overlapping mechanisms for attentional control over perceptual input and mnemonic representations.

  19. Selecting Learning Tasks: Effects of Adaptation and Shared Control on Learning Efficiency and Task Involvement

    Science.gov (United States)

    Corbalan, Gemma; Kester, Liesbeth; van Merrienboer, Jeroen J. G.

    2008-01-01

    Complex skill acquisition by performing authentic learning tasks is constrained by limited working memory capacity [Baddeley, A. D. (1992). Working memory. "Science, 255", 556-559]. To prevent cognitive overload, task difficulty and support of each newly selected learning task can be adapted to the learner's competence level and perceived task…

  20. Detecting effects of donepezil on visual selective attention using signal detection parameters in Alzheimer's disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foldi, Nancy S; White, Richard E C; Schaefer, Lynn A

    2005-05-01

    Attentional function is impaired in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Moreover, attention is mediated by acetylcholine. But, despite the widespread use of acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChE-I) to augment available acetylcholine in AD, measures of attentional function have not been used to assess the drug response. We hypothesized that as cholinergic augmentation impacts directly on the attentional system, higher-order measures of visual selective attention would be sensitive to effects of treatment using an AChE-I (donepezil hydrochloride). We also sought to determine whether these attentional measures were more sensitive to treatment than other measures of cognitive function. Seventeen patients with AD (8 untreated, 9 treated with donepezil) were contrasted on performance of a selective cancellation task. Two signal detection parameters were used as outcome measures: decision strategy (beta, beta) and discriminability (d-prime, d'). Standard screening and cognitive domain measures of vigilance, language, memory, and executive function were also contrasted. Treated patients judged stimuli more conservatively (p = 0.29) by correctly endorsing targets and rejecting false alarms. They also discriminated targets from distractors more easily (p = 0.58). The screening and neuropsychological measures failed to differentiate the groups. Higher-order attentional measures captured the effects of donepezil treatment in small groups of patients with AD. The results suggest that cholinergic availability may directly affect the attentional system, and that these selective attention measures are sensitive markers to detect treatment response. Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  1. Moving attention - Evidence for time-invariant shifts of visual selective attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Remington, R.; Pierce, L.

    1984-01-01

    Two experiments measured the time to shift spatial selective attention across the visual field to targets 2 or 10 deg from central fixation. A central arrow cued the most likely target location. The direction of attention was inferred from reaction times to expected, unexpected, and neutral locations. The development of a spatial attentional set with time was examined by presenting target probes at varying times after the cue. There were no effects of distance on the time course of the attentional set. Reaction times for far locations were slower than for near, but the effects of attention were evident by 150 msec in both cases. Spatial attention does not shift with a characteristic, fixed velocity. Rather, velocity is proportional to distance, resulting in a movement time that is invariant over the distances tested.

  2. Visual Attention Allocation Between Robotic Arm and Environmental Process Control: Validating the STOM Task Switching Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wickens, Christopher; Vieanne, Alex; Clegg, Benjamin; Sebok, Angelia; Janes, Jessica

    2015-01-01

    Fifty six participants time shared a spacecraft environmental control system task with a realistic space robotic arm control task in either a manual or highly automated version. The former could suffer minor failures, whose diagnosis and repair were supported by a decision aid. At the end of the experiment this decision aid unexpectedly failed. We measured visual attention allocation and switching between the two tasks, in each of the eight conditions formed by manual-automated arm X expected-unexpected failure X monitoring- failure management. We also used our multi-attribute task switching model, based on task attributes of priority interest, difficulty and salience that were self-rated by participants, to predict allocation. An un-weighted model based on attributes of difficulty, interest and salience accounted for 96 percent of the task allocation variance across the 8 different conditions. Task difficulty served as an attractor, with more difficult tasks increasing the tendency to stay on task.

  3. Figure-ground mechanisms provide structure for selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qiu, Fangtu T; Sugihara, Tadashi; von der Heydt, Rüdiger

    2007-11-01

    Attention depends on figure-ground organization: figures draw attention, whereas shapes of the ground tend to be ignored. Recent research has revealed mechanisms for figure-ground organization in the visual cortex, but how these mechanisms relate to the attention process remains unclear. Here we show that the influences of figure-ground organization and volitional (top-down) attention converge in single neurons of area V2 in Macaca mulatta. Although we found assignment of border ownership for attended and for ignored figures, attentional modulation was stronger when the attended figure was located on the neuron's preferred side of border ownership. When the border between two overlapping figures was placed in the receptive field, responses depended on the side of attention, and enhancement was generally found on the neuron's preferred side of border ownership. This correlation suggests that the neural network that creates figure-ground organization also provides the interface for the top-down selection process.

  4. Action video games and improved attentional control: Disentangling selection- and response-based processes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chisholm, Joseph D; Kingstone, Alan

    2015-10-01

    Research has demonstrated that experience with action video games is associated with improvements in a host of cognitive tasks. Evidence from paradigms that assess aspects of attention has suggested that action video game players (AVGPs) possess greater control over the allocation of attentional resources than do non-video-game players (NVGPs). Using a compound search task that teased apart selection- and response-based processes (Duncan, 1985), we required participants to perform an oculomotor capture task in which they made saccades to a uniquely colored target (selection-based process) and then produced a manual directional response based on information within the target (response-based process). We replicated the finding that AVGPs are less susceptible to attentional distraction and, critically, revealed that AVGPs outperform NVGPs on both selection-based and response-based processes. These results not only are consistent with the improved-attentional-control account of AVGP benefits, but they suggest that the benefit of action video game playing extends across the full breadth of attention-mediated stimulus-response processes that impact human performance.

  5. Selective attention to sound location or pitch studied with fMRI.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Degerman, Alexander; Rinne, Teemu; Salmi, Juha; Salonen, Oili; Alho, Kimmo

    2006-03-10

    We used 3-T functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare the brain mechanisms underlying selective attention to sound location and pitch. In different tasks, the subjects (N = 10) attended to a designated sound location or pitch or to pictures presented on the screen. In the Attend Location conditions, the sound location varied randomly (left or right), while the pitch was kept constant (high or low). In the Attend Pitch conditions, sounds of randomly varying pitch (high or low) were presented at a constant location (left or right). Both attention to location and attention to pitch produced enhanced activity (in comparison with activation caused by the same sounds when attention was focused on the pictures) in widespread areas of the superior temporal cortex. Attention to either sound feature also activated prefrontal and inferior parietal cortical regions. These activations were stronger during attention to location than during attention to pitch. Attention to location but not to pitch produced a significant increase of activation in the premotor/supplementary motor cortices of both hemispheres and in the right prefrontal cortex, while no area showed activity specifically related to attention to pitch. The present results suggest some differences in the attentional selection of sounds on the basis of their location and pitch consistent with the suggested auditory "what" and "where" processing streams.

  6. You see what you have learned. Evidence for an interrelation of associative learning and visual selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feldmann-Wüstefeld, Tobias; Uengoer, Metin; Schubö, Anna

    2015-11-01

    Besides visual salience and observers' current intention, prior learning experience may influence deployment of visual attention. Associative learning models postulate that observers pay more attention to stimuli previously experienced as reliable predictors of specific outcomes. To investigate the impact of learning experience on deployment of attention, we combined an associative learning task with a visual search task and measured event-related potentials of the EEG as neural markers of attention deployment. In the learning task, participants categorized stimuli varying in color/shape with only one dimension being predictive of category membership. In the search task, participants searched a shape target while disregarding irrelevant color distractors. Behavioral results showed that color distractors impaired performance to a greater degree when color rather than shape was predictive in the learning task. Neurophysiological results show that the amplified distraction was due to differential attention deployment (N2pc). Experiment 2 showed that when color was predictive for learning, color distractors captured more attention in the search task (ND component) and more suppression of color distractor was required (PD component). The present results thus demonstrate that priority in visual attention is biased toward predictive stimuli, which allows learning experience to shape selection. We also show that learning experience can overrule strong top-down control (blocked tasks, Experiment 3) and that learning experience has a longer-term effect on attention deployment (tasks on two successive days, Experiment 4). © 2015 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

  7. Location versus task relevance: The impact of differing internal focus of attention instructions on motor performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pelleck, Valerie; Passmore, Steven R

    2017-05-01

    Impaired performance while executing a motor task is attributed to a disruption of normal automatic processes when an internal focus of attention is used. What remains unclear is whether the specificity of internally focused task instructions may impact task performance. The present study assessed the implications of changing the attentional focus of novice and skilled golfers by measuring behavioural, neurophysiological and kinematic changes during a golf putting task. Over six blocks of ten putting trials each, attention was directed either externally (towards the target) or internally in one of two ways: 1) proximal (keeping the elbows extended and the hands gripping the putter); or 2) distal (keeping the weight evenly distributed between both legs) to the critical elements of the task. Results provided evidence that when novice participants use an internal focus of attention more closely associated with task performance that their: 1) execution; 2) accuracy; 3) variability of surface electromyography (sEMG) activity; and 4) kinematics of the putter movement are all adversely affected. Skilled golfers are much more resilient to changes in attentional focus, while all participants interpret a distal internal focus of attention similar to an external focus. All participants produced decreased activity in the muscle (tibialis anterior) associated with the distal (less task relevant) focus of attention even when the "internal" focus was on the lower extremity. Our results provide evidence that the skill level of the participant and the distance of the internal focus of attention from the key elements of a motor skill directly impact the execution, muscle activity, and movement kinematics associated with skilled motor task performance. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  8. Classification of EEG signals to identify variations in attention during motor task execution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Aliakbaryhosseinabadi, Susan; Kamavuako, Ernest Nlandu; Jiang, Ning

    2017-01-01

    attentionlevels onmotor tasks ineachparticipant. Then, a globalfeature distribution was constructed with the projected time-frequency features of all participants from all channels and applied for attention classification during motor movement execution. Results: Time-frequency features led to significantly...... BCI systems with time-frequency features. This is the first step towards an adaptive real-time BCI with an integrated function to reveal attention shifts from the motor task....

  9. Neural bases of selective attention in action video game players.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bavelier, D; Achtman, R L; Mani, M; Föcker, J

    2012-05-15

    Over the past few years, the very act of playing action video games has been shown to enhance several different aspects of visual selective attention, yet little is known about the neural mechanisms that mediate such attentional benefits. A review of the aspects of attention enhanced in action game players suggests there are changes in the mechanisms that control attention allocation and its efficiency (Hubert-Wallander, Green, & Bavelier, 2010). The present study used brain imaging to test this hypothesis by comparing attentional network recruitment and distractor processing in action gamers versus non-gamers as attentional demands increased. Moving distractors were found to elicit lesser activation of the visual motion-sensitive area (MT/MST) in gamers as compared to non-gamers, suggestive of a better early filtering of irrelevant information in gamers. As expected, a fronto-parietal network of areas showed greater recruitment as attentional demands increased in non-gamers. In contrast, gamers barely engaged this network as attentional demands increased. This reduced activity in the fronto-parietal network that is hypothesized to control the flexible allocation of top-down attention is compatible with the proposal that action game players may allocate attentional resources more automatically, possibly allowing more efficient early filtering of irrelevant information. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Measuring attention in rodents: comparison of a modified signal detection task and the 5-choice serial reaction time task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karly Maree Turner

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Neuropsychiatric research has utilised cognitive testing in rodents to improve our understanding of cognitive deficits and for preclinical drug development. However, more sophisticated cognitive tasks have not been as widely exploited due to low throughput and the extensive training time required. We developed a modified signal detection task (SDT based on the growing body of literature aimed at improving cognitive testing in rodents. This study directly compares performance on the modified SDT with the traditional test for measuring attention, the 5-choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained on either the 5CSRTT or the SDT. Briefly, the 5CSRTT required rodents to pay attention to a spatial array of 5 apertures and respond with a nose poke when an aperture was illuminated. The SDT required the rat to attend to a light panel and respond either left or right to indicate the presence of a signal. In addition, modifications were made to the reward delivery, timing, control of body positioning and the self-initiation of trials. It was found that less training time was required for the SDT, with both sessions to criteria and daily session duration significantly reduced. Rats performed with a high level of accuracy (>87% on both tasks, however omissions were far more frequent on the 5CSRTT. The signal duration was reduced on both tasks as a manipulation of task difficulty relevant to attention and a similar pattern of decreasing accuracy was observed on both tasks. These results demonstrate some of the advantages of the SDT over the traditional 5CSRTT as being higher throughput with reduced training time, fewer omission responses and their body position at stimulus onset was controlled. In addition, rats performing the SDT had comparable high levels of accuracy. These results highlight the differences and similarities between the 5CSRTT and a modified SDT as tools for assessing attention in preclinical animal

  11. Classification of EEG signals to identify variations in attention during motor task execution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aliakbaryhosseinabadi, Susan; Kamavuako, Ernest Nlandu; Jiang, Ning; Farina, Dario; Mrachacz-Kersting, Natalie

    2017-06-01

    Brain-computer interface (BCI) systems in neuro-rehabilitation use brain signals to control external devices. User status such as attention affects BCI performance; thus detecting the user's attention drift due to internal or external factors is essential for high detection accuracy. An auditory oddball task was applied to divert the users' attention during a simple ankle dorsiflexion movement. Electroencephalogram signals were recorded from eighteen channels. Temporal and time-frequency features were projected to a lower dimension space and used to analyze the effect of two attention levels on motor tasks in each participant. Then, a global feature distribution was constructed with the projected time-frequency features of all participants from all channels and applied for attention classification during motor movement execution. Time-frequency features led to significantly better classification results with respect to the temporal features, particularly for electrodes located over the motor cortex. Motor cortex channels had a higher accuracy in comparison to other channels in the global discrimination of attention level. Previous methods have used the attention to a task to drive external devices, such as the P300 speller. However, here we focus for the first time on the effect of attention drift while performing a motor task. It is possible to explore user's attention variation when performing motor tasks in synchronous BCI systems with time-frequency features. This is the first step towards an adaptive real-time BCI with an integrated function to reveal attention shifts from the motor task. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. The effect of divided attention on novices and experts in laparoscopic task performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghazanfar, Mudassar Ali; Cook, Malcolm; Tang, Benjie; Tait, Iain; Alijani, Afshin

    2015-03-01

    Attention is important for the skilful execution of surgery. The surgeon's attention during surgery is divided between surgery and outside distractions. The effect of this divided attention has not been well studied previously. We aimed to compare the effect of dividing attention of novices and experts on a laparoscopic task performance. Following ethical approval, 25 novices and 9 expert surgeons performed a standardised peg transfer task in a laboratory setup under three randomly assigned conditions: silent as control condition and two standardised auditory distracting tasks requiring response (easy and difficult) as study conditions. Human reliability assessment was used for surgical task analysis. Primary outcome measures were correct auditory responses, task time, number of surgical errors and instrument movements. Secondary outcome measures included error rate, error probability and hand specific differences. Non-parametric statistics were used for data analysis. 21109 movements and 9036 total errors were analysed. Novices had increased mean task completion time (seconds) (171 ± 44SD vs. 149 ± 34, p 0.05). Divided attention conditions in theatre environment require careful consideration during surgical training as the junior surgeons are less able to focus their attention during these conditions.

  13. Attention Deficit ِDuring Dual-Task Performance in Alzheimer’s Disease Patients

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hamid Salehi

    2014-07-01

    Full Text Available Objectives: The aims of the present investigation was the evaluation of divided attention deficits in Alzheimer's disease (AD patients by using dual-task paradigm in order to ascertain whether this method can be useful in the early diagnosis of AD or not.  Methods & Materials: A total of 23 elderly individuals (11 females and 12 males voluntarily participated in the investigation: 13 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD and 10 healthy elderly individuals. The experimental setup consisted of (a single -task and (b dual-task trials at two levels of difficulty. In singletask condition, the participants were asked to recite the months of the year continuously with normal order (easy and backward (difficult. They also performed a computerized visuospatial/motor tracking task. The participants then performed the tracking task in conjunction with each of the months reciting tasks as dual-task condition. Results: The results showed a significant interaction (disease×level of difficulty effect. So that, the performance impairment on combine performance in two simultaneous tasks was related to task difficulty, but the elderly control group did not differ in the easy and difficult conditions. Conclusion: These findings not only increase our understanding of the attention deficits in AD patients, but also have implications for the mediating effect of cognitive load in using dual-task paradigm for studying attention mechanisms of cognitively suffered individuals.

  14. Effects of selective attention on the electrophysiological representation of concurrent sounds in the human auditory cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bidet-Caulet, Aurélie; Fischer, Catherine; Besle, Julien; Aguera, Pierre-Emmanuel; Giard, Marie-Helene; Bertrand, Olivier

    2007-08-29

    In noisy environments, we use auditory selective attention to actively ignore distracting sounds and select relevant information, as during a cocktail party to follow one particular conversation. The present electrophysiological study aims at deciphering the spatiotemporal organization of the effect of selective attention on the representation of concurrent sounds in the human auditory cortex. Sound onset asynchrony was manipulated to induce the segregation of two concurrent auditory streams. Each stream consisted of amplitude modulated tones at different carrier and modulation frequencies. Electrophysiological recordings were performed in epileptic patients with pharmacologically resistant partial epilepsy, implanted with depth electrodes in the temporal cortex. Patients were presented with the stimuli while they either performed an auditory distracting task or actively selected one of the two concurrent streams. Selective attention was found to affect steady-state responses in the primary auditory cortex, and transient and sustained evoked responses in secondary auditory areas. The results provide new insights on the neural mechanisms of auditory selective attention: stream selection during sound rivalry would be facilitated not only by enhancing the neural representation of relevant sounds, but also by reducing the representation of irrelevant information in the auditory cortex. Finally, they suggest a specialization of the left hemisphere in the attentional selection of fine-grained acoustic information.

  15. Developmental changes in children's abilities to share and allocate attention in a dual task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irwin-Chase, H; Burns, B

    2000-09-01

    Characterizing developmental changes in children's dual-task performance has been problematic because differences in divided attention abilities are easily confounded with differences in overall capacity. Two experiments showed that after individual differences in children's capacity for single-task performance were controlled for, age differences between second- (M = 8.1 years) and fifth-grade (M = 11.1 years) children did not exist in dual-task performance when tasks were of equal priority. However, when tasks had different priorities, only fifth-grade children could differentially allocate attention in the dual task. Results are discussed within the coordination hypothesis framework (see A. F. Kramer & J. L. Larish, 1996), which suggests that changes in dual-task performance with aging are due to changes in the ability to coordinate and control the allocation of attention. It is argued that linking the investigations of children's attention with research on attention and aging provides both methodological and theoretical benefits. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  16. Genetic Influence on Slope Variability in a Childhood Reflexive Attention Task.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca A Lundwall

    Full Text Available Individuals are not perfectly consistent, and interindividual variability is a common feature in all varieties of human behavior. Some individuals respond more variably than others, however, and this difference may be important to understanding how the brain works. In this paper, we explore genetic contributions to response time (RT slope variability on a reflexive attention task. We are interested in such variability because we believe it is an important part of the overall picture of attention that, if understood, has the potential to improve intervention for those with attentional deficits. Genetic association studies are valuable in discovering biological pathways of variability and several studies have found such associations with a sustained attention task. Here, we expand our knowledge to include a reflexive attention task. We ask whether specific candidate genes are associated with interindividual variability on a childhood reflexive attention task in 9-16 year olds. The genetic makers considered are on 11 genes: APOE, BDNF, CHRNA4, COMT, DRD4, HTR4, IGF2, MAOA, SLC5A7, SLC6A3, and SNAP25. We find significant associations with variability with markers on nine and we discuss the results in terms of neurotransmitters associated with each gene and the characteristics of the associated measures from the reflexive attention task.

  17. The influences of task repetition, napping, time of day, and instruction on the Sustained Attention to Response Task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schie, M.K.M. van; Alblas, E.E.; Thijs, R.D.; Fronczek, R.; Lammers, G.J.; Dijk, J.G. van

    2014-01-01

    Introduction: The Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) helps to quantify vigilance impairments. Previous studies, in which five SART sessions on one day were administered, demonstrated worse performance during the first session than during the others. The present study comprises two

  18. Selective attention to phonology dynamically modulates initial encoding of auditory words within the left hemisphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yoncheva; Maurer, Urs; Zevin, Jason; McCandliss, Bruce

    2015-01-01

    Selective attention to phonology, i.e., the ability to attend to sub-syllabic units within spoken words, is a critical precursor to literacy acquisition. Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence has demonstrated that a left-lateralized network of frontal, temporal, and posterior language regions, including the visual word form area, supports this skill. The current event-related potential (ERP) study investigated the temporal dynamics of selective attention to phonology during spoken word perception. We tested the hypothesis that selective atten tion to phonology dynamically modulates stimulus encoding by recruiting left-lateralized processes specifically while the information critical for performance is unfolding. Selective attention to phonology was captured by ma nipulating listening goals: skilled adult readers attended to either rhyme or melody within auditory stimulus pairs. Each pair superimposed rhyming and melodic information ensuring identical sensory stimulation. Selective attention to phonology produced distinct early and late topographic ERP effects during stimulus encoding. Data- driven source localization analyses revealed that selective attention to phonology led to significantly greater re cruitment of left-lateralized posterior and extensive temporal regions, which was notably concurrent with the rhyme-relevant information within the word. Furthermore, selective attention effects were specific to auditory stimulus encoding and not observed in response to cues, arguing against the notion that they reflect sustained task setting. Collectively, these results demonstrate that selective attention to phonology dynamically engages a left-lateralized network during the critical time-period of perception for achieving phonological analysis goals. These findings support the key role of selective attention to phonology in the development of literacy and motivate future research on the neural bases of the interaction between phonological

  19. Perceptual load manipulation reveals sensitivity of the face-selective N170 to attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohamed, Tarik N; Neumann, Markus F; Schweinberger, Stefan R

    2009-05-27

    It has been controversial whether the face-sensitive N170 is affected by selective attention. We manipulated attention sensu Lavie's perceptual load theory to short (200 ms) presentations of task-irrelevant unfamiliar faces or houses, while participants identified superimposed target letters 'X' versus 'N'. These targets were strings of either six identical (low load) or six different letters (high load). Under low load, we found a prominent face-selective N170 response. Under high load, however, we not only observed a dramatic reduction of the face N170 but also an unexpected enhancement of the house N170, such that face selectivity was almost completely lost. We conclude that the early stages of face processing indexed by the N170 strongly depend on selective attention.

  20. The role of time on task performance in modifying the effects of gum chewing on attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tucha, Lara; Simpson, William

    2011-04-01

    Recent research examined the effects of chewing gum on attention and reported a significant interaction of gum chewing with time. Using a crossover within-subject design, the present study examined the effect of gum chewing on sustained attention in healthy adults over a period of 30 min. The results revealed a significant main effect of time and a significant interaction between gum chewing and time. The findings suggest that gum chewing differentially affects attention performance. While gum chewing has detrimental effects on sustained attention in earlier stages of the task, beneficial effects on sustained attention were observed at later stages. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Effects of Task Repetition on Learners' Attention Orientation in L2 Oral Production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fukuta, Junya

    2016-01-01

    Task repetition facilitates learners' performance, at least temporarily: Since learners are already familiar with the content of the task at the initial enactment, they are capable of focusing their attention on linguistic form during the following enactment. However, the analysis in previous studies treated various aspects of "form" as…

  2. Differential brain activation patterns in adult attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) associated with task switching

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dibbets, P.; Evers, E.A.; Hurks, P.P.; Bakker, K.; Jolles, J.

    2010-01-01

    Objective: The main aim of the study was to examine blood oxygen level-dependent response during task switching in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Method: Fifteen male adults with ADHD and 14 controls participated and performed a task-switching paradigm. Results:

  3. An individual differences approach to temporal integration and order reversals in the attentional blink task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Willems, Charlotte; Saija, Jefta D.; Akyurek, Elkan G.; Martens, Sander

    2016-01-01

    Background The reduced ability to identify a second target when it is presented in close temporal succession of a first target is called the attentional blink (AB). Studies have shown large individual differences in AB task performance, where lower task performance has been associated with more

  4. Attentional Demand of a Virtual Reality-Based Reaching Task in Nondisabled Older Adults

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yi-An; Chung, Yu-Chen; Proffitt, Rachel; Wade, Eric; Winstein, Carolee

    2015-01-01

    Attention during exercise is known to affect performance; however, the attentional demand inherent to virtual reality (VR)-based exercise is not well understood. We used a dual-task paradigm to compare the attentional demands of VR-based and non-VR-based (conventional, real-world) exercise: 22 non-disabled older adults performed a primary reaching task to virtual and real targets in a counterbalanced block order while verbally responding to an unanticipated auditory tone in one third of the trials. The attentional demand of the primary reaching task was inferred from the voice response time (VRT) to the auditory tone. Participants' engagement level and task experience were also obtained using questionnaires. The virtual target condition was more attention demanding (significantly longer VRT) than the real target condition. Secondary analyses revealed a significant interaction between engagement level and target condition on attentional demand. For participants who were highly engaged, attentional demand was high and independent of target condition. However, for those who were less engaged, attentional demand was low and depended on target condition (i.e., virtual > real). These findings add important knowledge to the growing body of research pertaining to the development and application of technology-enhanced exercise for elders and for rehabilitation purposes. PMID:27004233

  5. Attentional Demand of a Virtual Reality-Based Reaching Task in Nondisabled Older Adults.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Yi-An; Chung, Yu-Chen; Proffitt, Rachel; Wade, Eric; Winstein, Carolee

    2015-12-01

    Attention during exercise is known to affect performance; however, the attentional demand inherent to virtual reality (VR)-based exercise is not well understood. We used a dual-task paradigm to compare the attentional demands of VR-based and non-VR-based (conventional, real-world) exercise: 22 non-disabled older adults performed a primary reaching task to virtual and real targets in a counterbalanced block order while verbally responding to an unanticipated auditory tone in one third of the trials. The attentional demand of the primary reaching task was inferred from the voice response time (VRT) to the auditory tone. Participants' engagement level and task experience were also obtained using questionnaires. The virtual target condition was more attention demanding (significantly longer VRT) than the real target condition. Secondary analyses revealed a significant interaction between engagement level and target condition on attentional demand. For participants who were highly engaged, attentional demand was high and independent of target condition. However, for those who were less engaged, attentional demand was low and depended on target condition (i.e., virtual > real). These findings add important knowledge to the growing body of research pertaining to the development and application of technology-enhanced exercise for elders and for rehabilitation purposes.

  6. More attentional focusing through binaural beats: evidence from the global-local task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Colzato, Lorenza S; Barone, Hayley; Sellaro, Roberta; Hommel, Bernhard

    2017-01-01

    A recent study showed that binaural beats have an impact on the efficiency of allocating attention over time. We were interested to see whether this impact affects attentional focusing or, even further, the top-down control over irrelevant information. Healthy adults listened to gamma-frequency (40 Hz) binaural beats, which are assumed to increase attentional concentration, or a constant tone of 340 Hz (control condition) for 3 min before and during a global-local task. While the size of the congruency effect (indicating the failure to suppress task-irrelevant information) was unaffected by the binaural beats, the global-precedence effect (reflecting attentional focusing) was considerably smaller after gamma-frequency binaural beats than after the control condition. Our findings suggest that high-frequency binaural beats bias the individual attentional processing style towards a reduced spotlight of attention.

  7. Divided attention selectively impairs memory for self-relevant information.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turk, David J; Brady-van den Bos, Mirjam; Collard, Philip; Gillespie-Smith, Karri; Conway, Martin A; Cunningham, Sheila J

    2013-05-01

    Information that is relevant to oneself tends to be remembered more than information that relates to other people, but the role of attention in eliciting this "self-reference effect" is unclear. In the present study, we assessed the importance of attention in self-referential encoding using an ownership paradigm, which required participants to encode items under conditions of imagined ownership by themselves or by another person. Previous work has established that this paradigm elicits a robust self-reference effect, with more "self-owned" items being remembered than "other-owned" items. Access to attentional resources was manipulated using divided-attention tasks at encoding. A significant self-reference effect emerged under full-attention conditions and was related to an increase in episodic recollection for self-owned items, but dividing attention eliminated this memory advantage. These findings are discussed in relation to the nature of self-referential cognition and the importance of attentional resources at encoding in the manifestation of the self-reference effect in memory.

  8. Selective attention modulates human auditory brainstem responses: relative contributions of frequency and spatial cues.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandre Lehmann

    Full Text Available Selective attention is the mechanism that allows focusing one's attention on a particular stimulus while filtering out a range of other stimuli, for instance, on a single conversation in a noisy room. Attending to one sound source rather than another changes activity in the human auditory cortex, but it is unclear whether attention to different acoustic features, such as voice pitch and speaker location, modulates subcortical activity. Studies using a dichotic listening paradigm indicated that auditory brainstem processing may be modulated by the direction of attention. We investigated whether endogenous selective attention to one of two speech signals affects amplitude and phase locking in auditory brainstem responses when the signals were either discriminable by frequency content alone, or by frequency content and spatial location. Frequency-following responses to the speech sounds were significantly modulated in both conditions. The modulation was specific to the task-relevant frequency band. The effect was stronger when both frequency and spatial information were available. Patterns of response were variable between participants, and were correlated with psychophysical discriminability of the stimuli, suggesting that the modulation was biologically relevant. Our results demonstrate that auditory brainstem responses are susceptible to efferent modulation related to behavioral goals. Furthermore they suggest that mechanisms of selective attention actively shape activity at early subcortical processing stages according to task relevance and based on frequency and spatial cues.

  9. Simulating the role of visual selective attention during the development of perceptual completion

    OpenAIRE

    Schlesinger, Matthew; Amso, Dima; Johnson, Scott P.

    2012-01-01

    We recently proposed a multi-channel, image-filtering model for simulating the development of visual selective attention in young infants (Schlesinger, Amso & Johnson, 2007). The model not only captures the performance of 3-month-olds on a visual search task, but also implicates two cortical regions that may play a role in the development of visual selective attention. In the current simulation study, we used the same model to simulate 3-month-olds’ performance on a second measure, the percep...

  10. Chewing gum benefits sustained attention in the absence of task degradation.

    OpenAIRE

    Johnson, A.J.; Muneem, M.; Miles, C.

    2013-01-01

    OBJECTIVES: The present study examined the effect of chewing gum on sustained attention and associated changes in subjective alertness. METHODS: In a within-participants design, 20 participants completed an extended version of the sustained attention response task (SART: Robertson et al., 1997), both with and without chewing gum. Self-rated measures of alertness, contentedness, and calmness were taken before and after the SART. RESULTS: Chewing gum was associated with improved attentional tas...

  11. More attentional focusing through binaural beats: Evidence from the global-local task

    OpenAIRE

    Colzato, L.S.; Barone, H.; Sellaro, R.; Hommel, B.

    2017-01-01

    A recent study showed that binaural beats have an impact on the efficiency of allocating attention over time. We were interested to see whether this impact affects attentional focusing or, even further, the top-down control over irrelevant information. Healthy adults listened to gamma-frequency (40?Hz) binaural beats, which are assumed to increase attentional concentration, or a constant tone of 340?Hz (control condition) for 3?min before and during a global?local task. While the size of the ...

  12. Using frequency tagging to quantify attentional deployment in a visual divided attention task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Toffanin, Paolo; de Jong, Ritske; Johnson, Addie; Martens, Sander

    Frequency tagging is an EEG method based on the quantification of the steady state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) elicited from stimuli which flicker with a distinctive frequency. Because the amplitude of the SSVEP is modulated by attention such that attended stimuli elicit higher SSVEP amplitudes

  13. The Neural Mechanisms Underlying Internally and Externally Guided Task Selection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Orr, Joseph M.; Banich, Marie T.

    2013-01-01

    While some prior work suggests that medial prefrontal cortex (MFC) regions mediate freely chosen actions, other work suggests that the lateral frontal pole (LFP) is responsible for control of abstract, internal goals. The present study uses fMRI to determine whether the voluntary selection of a task in pursuit of an overall goal relies on MFC regions or the LFP. To do so, we used a modified voluntary task switching (VTS) paradigm, in which participants choose an individual task to perform on each trial (i.e., a subgoal), under instructions to perform the tasks equally often and in a random order (i.e. the overall goal). In conjunction, we examined patterns of activation in the face of irrelevant, but task-related external stimuli that might nonetheless influence task selection. While there was some evidence that the MFC was involved in voluntary task selection, we found that the LFP and anterior insula (AI) were crucial to task selection in the pursuit of an overall goal. In addition, activation of the LFP and AI increased in the face of environmental stimuli that might serve as an interfering or conflicting external bias on voluntary task choice. These findings suggest that the LFP supports task selection according to abstract, internal goals, and leaves open the possibility that MFC may guide action selection in situations lacking in such top-down biases. As such, the current study represents a critical step towards understanding the neural underpinnings of how tasks are selected voluntarily to enable an overarching goal. PMID:23994316

  14. Sensorineural hearing loss degrades behavioral and physiological measures of human spatial selective auditory attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dai, Lengshi; Best, Virginia; Shinn-Cunningham, Barbara G.

    2018-01-01

    Listeners with sensorineural hearing loss often have trouble understanding speech amid other voices. While poor spatial hearing is often implicated, direct evidence is weak; moreover, studies suggest that reduced audibility and degraded spectrotemporal coding may explain such problems. We hypothesized that poor spatial acuity leads to difficulty deploying selective attention, which normally filters out distracting sounds. In listeners with normal hearing, selective attention causes changes in the neural responses evoked by competing sounds, which can be used to quantify the effectiveness of attentional control. Here, we used behavior and electroencephalography to explore whether control of selective auditory attention is degraded in hearing-impaired (HI) listeners. Normal-hearing (NH) and HI listeners identified a simple melody presented simultaneously with two competing melodies, each simulated from different lateral angles. We quantified performance and attentional modulation of cortical responses evoked by these competing streams. Compared with NH listeners, HI listeners had poorer sensitivity to spatial cues, performed more poorly on the selective attention task, and showed less robust attentional modulation of cortical responses. Moreover, across NH and HI individuals, these measures were correlated. While both groups showed cortical suppression of distracting streams, this modulation was weaker in HI listeners, especially when attending to a target at midline, surrounded by competing streams. These findings suggest that hearing loss interferes with the ability to filter out sound sources based on location, contributing to communication difficulties in social situations. These findings also have implications for technologies aiming to use neural signals to guide hearing aid processing. PMID:29555752

  15. Seeing People, Seeing Things: Individual Differences in Selective Attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McIntyre, Miranda M; Graziano, William G

    2016-09-01

    Individuals differ in how they deploy attention to their physical and social environments. These differences have been recognized in various forms as orientations, interests, and preferences, but empirical work examining these differences at a cognitive level is scarce. To address this gap, we conducted two studies to explore the links among attentional processes and interests in people and things. The first study measured selective visual attention toward person- and thing-related image content. In the second study, participants were randomly assigned to describe visually presented scenes using either an observational or narrative story format. Linguistic analyses were conducted to assess attentional bias toward interest-congruent content. Outcomes from both studies suggest that attention and motivational processes are linked to differential interests in physical and social environments. © 2016 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

  16. Genetic and developmental factors in spontaneous selective attention: a study of normal twins.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myles-Worsley, M; Coon, H

    1997-08-08

    The Spontaneous Selective Attention Task (SSAT) is a visual word identification task designed to measure the type of selective attention that occurs spontaneously when there are multiple stimuli, all potentially relevant, and insufficient time to process each of them fully. These are conditions which are common in everyday life. SSAT performance is measured by word identification accuracy, first under a baseline divided attention condition with no predictability, then under a selective attention condition with partial predictability introduced via word repetition. Accuracy to identify novel words in the upper location which becomes partially predictable (P words) vs. the lower location which remains non-predictable (N words) can be used to calculate a baseline performance index and a P/N ratio measure of selective attention. The SSAT has been shown to identify an attentional abnormality that may be useful in the development of an attentional endophenotype for family-genetic studies of schizophrenia. This study examined age and genetic effects on SSAT performance in normal children in order to evaluate whether the SSAT has the potential to qualify as a candidate endophenotype for schizophrenia in studies of at-risk children. A total of 59 monozygotic twin pairs and 33 same-sex dizygotic twin pairs ranging from 10 to 18 years of age were tested on the SSAT, a Continuous Performance Test. (CPT), a Span of Apprehension Test (SPAN) and a full-scale IQ test. Baseline performance on the SSAT, which was correlated with verbal IQ and SPAN performance, improved with age but showed no significant heritability. The P/N selectivity ratio was stable over the 10-18-year age range, was not significantly correlated with IQ, CPT, or SPAN performance, and its heritability was estimated to be 0.41. These findings suggest that the P/N selectivity ratio measured by the SSAT may be useful as a vulnerability marker in studies of children born into families segregating schizophrenia.

  17. Force control tasks with pure haptic feedback promote short-term focused attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Dangxiao; Zhang, Yuru; Yang, Xiaoxiao; Yang, Gaofeng; Yang, Yi

    2014-01-01

    Focused attention has great impact on our quality of life. Our learning, social skills and even happiness are closely intertwined with our capacity for focused attention. Attention promotion is replete with examples of training-induced increases in attention capability, most of which rely on visual and auditory stimulation. Pure haptic stimulation to increase attention capability is rarely found. We show that accurate force control tasks with pure haptic feedback enhance short-term focused attention. Participants were trained by a force control task in which information from visual and auditory channels was blocked, and only haptic feedback was provided. The trainees were asked to exert a target force within a pre-defined force tolerance for a specific duration. The tolerance was adaptively modified to different levels of difficulty to elicit full participant engagement. Three attention tests showed significant changes in different aspects of focused attention in participants who had been trained as compared with those who had not, thereby illustrating the role of haptic-based sensory-motor tasks in the promotion of short-term focused attention. The findings highlight the potential value of haptic stimuli in brain plasticity and serve as a new tool to extend existing computer games for cognitive enhancement.

  18. Chewing gum benefits sustained attention in the absence of task degradation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Andrew J; Muneem, Mohammed; Miles, Christopher

    2013-07-01

    The present study examined the effect of chewing gum on sustained attention and associated changes in subjective alertness. In a within-participants design, 20 participants completed an extended version of the sustained attention response task (SART: Robertson et al., 1997), both with and without chewing gum. Self-rated measures of alertness, contentedness, and calmness were taken before and after the SART. Chewing gum was associated with improved attentional task performance. This finding was not contingent upon a general decrease in attentional performance and was apparent at all stages of the task. Subjective measures of alertness, contentedness, and calmness were higher following the chewing of gum. Changes in sustained attention co-varied with subjective alertness. The effects of chewing gum on attention and alertness are consistent with past literature and were not contingent on declines in attention. Additionally, we found evidence that gum-induced changes in self-rated alertness and attention are related. We found no support for the proposition that chewing gum can impair attention due to the division of resources.

  19. Vegetarianism and food perception : selective visual attention to meat pictures

    OpenAIRE

    Stockburger, Jessica; Renner, Britta; Weike, Almut I.; Hamm, Alfons O.; Schupp, Harald Thomas

    2009-01-01

    Vegetarianism provides a model system to examine the impact of negative affect towards meat, based on ideational reasoning. It was hypothesized that meat stimuli are efficient attention catchers in vegetarians. Event-related brain potential recordings served to index selective attention processes at the level of initial stimulus perception. Consistent with the hypothesis, late positive potentials to meat pictures were enlarged in vegetarians compared to omnivores. This effect was specific fo...

  20. Templates for Rejection: Configuring Attention to Ignore Task-Irrelevant Features

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arita, Jason T.; Carlisle, Nancy B.; Woodman, Geoffrey F.

    2012-01-01

    Theories of attention are compatible with the idea that we can bias attention to avoid selecting objects that have known nontarget features. Although this may underlie several existing phenomena, the explicit guidance of attention away from known nontargets has yet to be demonstrated. Here we show that observers can use feature cues (i.e., color)…

  1. Selective Attention in Multi-Chip Address-Event Systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giacomo Indiveri

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available Selective attention is the strategy used by biological systems to cope with the inherent limits in their available computational resources, in order to efficiently process sensory information. The same strategy can be used in artificial systems that have to process vast amounts of sensory data with limited resources. In this paper we present a neuromorphic VLSI device, the “Selective Attention Chip” (SAC, which can be used to implement these models in multi-chip address-event systems. We also describe a real-time sensory-motor system, which integrates the SAC with a dynamic vision sensor and a robotic actuator. We present experimental results from each component in the system, and demonstrate how the complete system implements a real-time stimulus-driven selective attention model.

  2. Selective attention in multi-chip address-event systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bartolozzi, Chiara; Indiveri, Giacomo

    2009-01-01

    Selective attention is the strategy used by biological systems to cope with the inherent limits in their available computational resources, in order to efficiently process sensory information. The same strategy can be used in artificial systems that have to process vast amounts of sensory data with limited resources. In this paper we present a neuromorphic VLSI device, the "Selective Attention Chip" (SAC), which can be used to implement these models in multi-chip address-event systems. We also describe a real-time sensory-motor system, which integrates the SAC with a dynamic vision sensor and a robotic actuator. We present experimental results from each component in the system, and demonstrate how the complete system implements a real-time stimulus-driven selective attention model.

  3. Attentional Capture by Salient Distractors during Visual Search Is Determined by Temporal Task Demands

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kiss, Monika; Grubert, Anna; Petersen, Anders

    2012-01-01

    The question whether attentional capture by salient but taskirrelevant visual stimuli is triggered in a bottom–up fashion or depends on top–down task settings is still unresolved. Strong support for bottom–up capture was obtained in the additional singleton task, in which search arrays were visible...... until response onset. Equally strong evidence for top–down control of attentional capture was obtained in spatial cueing experiments in which display durations were very brief. To demonstrate the critical role of temporal task demands on salience-driven attentional capture, we measured ERP indicators...... component that was followed by a late Pd component, suggesting that they triggered attentional capture, which was later replaced by location-specific inhibition. When search arrays were visible for only 200 msec, the distractor-elicited N2pc was eliminated and was replaced by a Pd component in the same time...

  4. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Correlates of First-Episode Psychoses during Attentional and Memory Task Performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Del Casale, Antonio; Kotzalidis, Georgios D; Rapinesi, Chiara; Sorice, Serena; Girardi, Nicoletta; Ferracuti, Stefano; Girardi, Paolo

    2016-01-01

    The nature of the alteration of the response to cognitive tasks in first-episode psychosis (FEP) still awaits clarification. We used activation likelihood estimation, an increasingly used method in evaluating normal and pathological brain function, to identify activation changes in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of FEP during attentional and memory tasks. We included 11 peer-reviewed fMRI studies assessing FEP patients versus healthy controls (HCs) during performance of attentional and memory tasks. Our database comprised 290 patients with FEP, matched with 316 HCs. Between-group analyses showed that HCs, compared to FEP patients, exhibited hyperactivation of the right middle frontal gyrus (Brodmann area, BA, 9), right inferior parietal lobule (BA 40), and right insula (BA 13) during attentional task performances and hyperactivation of the left insula (BA 13) during memory task performances. Right frontal, parietal, and insular dysfunction during attentional task performance and left insular dysfunction during memory task performance are significant neural functional FEP correlates. © 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  5. Dynamics of excitatory and inhibitory networks are differentially altered by selective attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Snyder, Adam C.; Morais, Michael J.

    2016-01-01

    Inhibition and excitation form two fundamental modes of neuronal interaction, yet we understand relatively little about their distinct roles in service of perceptual and cognitive processes. We developed a multidimensional waveform analysis to identify fast-spiking (putative inhibitory) and regular-spiking (putative excitatory) neurons in vivo and used this method to analyze how attention affects these two cell classes in visual area V4 of the extrastriate cortex of rhesus macaques. We found that putative inhibitory neurons had both greater increases in firing rate and decreases in correlated variability with attention compared with putative excitatory neurons. Moreover, the time course of attention effects for putative inhibitory neurons more closely tracked the temporal statistics of target probability in our task. Finally, the session-to-session variability in a behavioral measure of attention covaried with the magnitude of this effect. Together, these results suggest that selective targeting of inhibitory neurons and networks is a critical mechanism for attentional modulation. PMID:27466133

  6. Simulating the role of visual selective attention during the development of perceptual completion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schlesinger, Matthew; Amso, Dima; Johnson, Scott P

    2012-11-01

    We recently proposed a multi-channel, image-filtering model for simulating the development of visual selective attention in young infants (Schlesinger, Amso & Johnson, 2007). The model not only captures the performance of 3-month-olds on a visual search task, but also implicates two cortical regions that may play a role in the development of visual selective attention. In the current simulation study, we used the same model to simulate 3-month-olds' performance on a second measure, the perceptual unity task. Two parameters in the model - corresponding to areas in the occipital and parietal cortices - were systematically varied while the gaze patterns produced by the model were recorded and subsequently analyzed. Three key findings emerged from the simulation study. First, the model successfully replicated the performance of 3-month-olds on the unity perception task. Second, the model also helps to explain the improved performance of 2-month-olds when the size of the occluder in the unity perception task is reduced. Third, in contrast to our previous simulation results, variation in only one of the two cortical regions simulated (i.e. recurrent activity in posterior parietal cortex) resulted in a performance pattern that matched 3-month-olds. These findings provide additional support for our hypothesis that the development of perceptual completion in early infancy is promoted by progressive improvements in visual selective attention and oculomotor skill. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  7. Sleep deprivation impairs object-selective attention: a view from the ventral visual cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lim, Julian; Tan, Jiat Chow; Parimal, Sarayu; Dinges, David F; Chee, Michael W L

    2010-02-05

    Most prior studies on selective attention in the setting of total sleep deprivation (SD) have focused on behavior or activation within fronto-parietal cognitive control areas. Here, we evaluated the effects of SD on the top-down biasing of activation of ventral visual cortex and on functional connectivity between cognitive control and other brain regions. Twenty-three healthy young adult volunteers underwent fMRI after a normal night of sleep (RW) and after sleep deprivation in a counterbalanced manner while performing a selective attention task. During this task, pictures of houses or faces were randomly interleaved among scrambled images. Across different blocks, volunteers responded to house but not face pictures, face but not house pictures, or passively viewed pictures without responding. The appearance of task-relevant pictures was unpredictable in this paradigm. SD resulted in less accurate detection of target pictures without affecting the mean false alarm rate or response time. In addition to a reduction of fronto-parietal activation, attending to houses strongly modulated parahippocampal place area (PPA) activation during RW, but this attention-driven biasing of PPA activation was abolished following SD. Additionally, SD resulted in a significant decrement in functional connectivity between the PPA and two cognitive control areas, the left intraparietal sulcus and the left inferior frontal lobe. SD impairs selective attention as evidenced by reduced selectivity in PPA activation. Further, reduction in fronto-parietal and ventral visual task-related activation suggests that it also affects sustained attention. Reductions in functional connectivity may be an important additional imaging parameter to consider in characterizing the effects of sleep deprivation on cognition.

  8. Sleep deprivation impairs object-selective attention: a view from the ventral visual cortex.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julian Lim

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Most prior studies on selective attention in the setting of total sleep deprivation (SD have focused on behavior or activation within fronto-parietal cognitive control areas. Here, we evaluated the effects of SD on the top-down biasing of activation of ventral visual cortex and on functional connectivity between cognitive control and other brain regions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Twenty-three healthy young adult volunteers underwent fMRI after a normal night of sleep (RW and after sleep deprivation in a counterbalanced manner while performing a selective attention task. During this task, pictures of houses or faces were randomly interleaved among scrambled images. Across different blocks, volunteers responded to house but not face pictures, face but not house pictures, or passively viewed pictures without responding. The appearance of task-relevant pictures was unpredictable in this paradigm. SD resulted in less accurate detection of target pictures without affecting the mean false alarm rate or response time. In addition to a reduction of fronto-parietal activation, attending to houses strongly modulated parahippocampal place area (PPA activation during RW, but this attention-driven biasing of PPA activation was abolished following SD. Additionally, SD resulted in a significant decrement in functional connectivity between the PPA and two cognitive control areas, the left intraparietal sulcus and the left inferior frontal lobe. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: SD impairs selective attention as evidenced by reduced selectivity in PPA activation. Further, reduction in fronto-parietal and ventral visual task-related activation suggests that it also affects sustained attention. Reductions in functional connectivity may be an important additional imaging parameter to consider in characterizing the effects of sleep deprivation on cognition.

  9. Context Modulates Congruency Effects in Selective Attention to Social Cues

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Ravagli

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available Head and gaze directions are used during social interactions as essential cues to infer where someone attends. When head and gaze are oriented toward opposite directions, we need to extract socially meaningful information despite stimulus conflict. Recently, a cognitive and neural mechanism for filtering-out conflicting stimuli has been identified while performing non-social attention tasks. This mechanism is engaged proactively when conflict is anticipated in a high proportion of trials and reactively when conflict occurs infrequently. Here, we investigated whether a similar mechanism is at play for limiting distraction from conflicting social cues during gaze or head direction discrimination tasks in contexts with different probabilities of conflict. Results showed that, for the gaze direction task only (Experiment 1, inverse efficiency (IE scores for distractor-absent trials (i.e., faces with averted gaze and centrally oriented head were larger (indicating worse performance when these trials were intermixed with congruent/incongruent distractor-present trials (i.e., faces with averted gaze and tilted head in the same/opposite direction relative to when the same distractor-absent trials were shown in isolation. Moreover, on distractor-present trials, IE scores for congruent (vs. incongruent head-gaze pairs in blocks with rare conflict were larger than in blocks with frequent conflict, suggesting that adaptation to conflict was more efficient than adaptation to infrequent events. However, when the task required discrimination of head orientation while ignoring gaze direction, performance was not impacted by both block-level and current trial congruency (Experiment 2, unless the cognitive load of the task was increased by adding a concurrent task (Experiment 3. Overall, our study demonstrates that during attention to social cues proactive cognitive control mechanisms are modulated by the expectation of conflicting stimulus information at both

  10. Interaction of hypertension and age in visual selective attention performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Madden, D J; Blumenthal, J A

    1998-01-01

    Previous research suggests that some aspects of cognitive performance decline as a joint function of age and hypertension. In this experiment, 51 unmedicated individuals with mild essential hypertension and 48 normotensive individuals, 18-78 years of age, performed a visual search task. The estimated time required to identify a display character and shift attention between display positions increased with age. This attention shift time did not differ significantly between hypertensive and normotensive participants, but regression analyses indicated some mediation of the age effect by blood pressure. For individuals less than 60 years of age, the error rate was greater for hypertensive than for normotensive participants. Although the present design could detect effects of only moderate to large size, the results suggest that effects of hypertension may be more evident in a relatively general measure of performance (mean error rate) than in the speed of shifting visual attention.

  11. Emotion has no impact on attention in a change detection flicker task

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert Colin Alan Bendall

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Past research provides conflicting findings regarding the influence of emotion on visual attention. Early studies suggested a broadening of attentional resources in relation to positive mood. However, more recent evidence indicates that positive emotions may not have a beneficial impact on attention, and that the relationship between emotion and attention may be mitigated by factors such as task demand or stimulus valence. The current study explored the effect of emotion on attention using the change detection flicker paradigm. Participants were induced into positive, neutral, and negative mood states and then completed a change detection task. A series of neutral scenes were presented and participants had to identify the location of a disappearing item in each scene. The change was made to the centre or the periphery of each scene and it was predicted that peripheral changes would be detected quicker in the positive mood condition and slower in the negative mood condition, compared to the neutral condition. In contrast to previous findings emotion had no influence on attention and whilst central changes were detected faster than peripheral changes, change blindness was not affected by mood. The findings suggest that the relationship between emotion and visual attention is influenced by the characteristics of a task, and any beneficial impact of positive emotion may be related to processing style rather than a broadening of attentional resources.

  12. Through their eyes: selective attention in peahens during courtship.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yorzinski, Jessica L; Patricelli, Gail L; Babcock, Jason S; Pearson, John M; Platt, Michael L

    2013-08-15

    Conspicuous, multicomponent ornamentation in male animals can be favored by female mate choice but we know little about the cognitive processes females use to evaluate these traits. Sexual selection may favor attention mechanisms allowing the choosing females to selectively and efficiently acquire relevant information from complex male display traits and, in turn, may favor male display traits that effectively capture and hold female attention. Using a miniaturized telemetric gaze-tracker, we show that peahens (Pavo cristatus) selectively attend to specific components of peacock courtship displays and virtually ignore other, highly conspicuous components. Females gazed at the lower train but largely ignored the head, crest and upper train. When the lower train was obscured, however, females spent more time gazing at the upper train and approached the upper train from a distance. Our results suggest that peahens mainly evaluate the lower train during close-up courtship but use the upper train as a long-distance attraction signal. Furthermore, we found that behavioral display components (train rattling and wing shaking) captured and maintained female attention, indicating that interactions between display components may promote the evolution of multicomponent displays. Taken together, these findings suggest that selective attention plays a crucial role in sexual selection and likely influences the evolution of male display traits.

  13. An attentional bias for LEGO® people using a change detection task: Are LEGO® people animate?

    Science.gov (United States)

    LaPointe, Mitchell R P; Cullen, Rachael; Baltaretu, Bianca; Campos, Melissa; Michalski, Natalie; Sri Satgunarajah, Suja; Cadieux, Michelle L; Pachai, Matthew V; Shore, David I

    2016-09-01

    Animate objects have been shown to elicit attentional priority in a change detection task. This benefit has been seen for both human and nonhuman animals compared with inanimate objects. One explanation for these results has been based on the importance animate objects have served over the course of our species' history. In the present set of experiments, we present stimuli, which could be perceived as animate, but with which our distant ancestors would have had no experience, and natural selection could have no direct pressure on their prioritization. In the first experiment, we compared LEGO® "people" with LEGO "nonpeople" in a change detection task. In a second experiment, we attempt to control the heterogeneity of the nonanimate objects by using LEGO blocks, matched in size and colour to LEGO people. In the third experiment, we occlude the faces of the LEGO people to control for facial pattern recognition. In the final 2 experiments, we attempt to obscure high-level categorical information processing of the stimuli by inverting and blurring the scenes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).

  14. Aging, Emotion, Attention, and Binding in the Taboo Stroop Task: Data and Theories

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacKay, Donald G.; Johnson, Laura W.; Graham, Elizabeth R.; Burke, Deborah M.

    2015-01-01

    How does aging impact relations between emotion, memory, and attention? To address this question, young and older adults named the font colors of taboo and neutral words, some of which recurred in the same font color or screen location throughout two color-naming experiments. The results indicated longer color-naming response times (RTs) for taboo than neutral base-words (taboo Stroop interference); better incidental recognition of colors and locations consistently associated with taboo versus neutral words (taboo context-memory enhancement); and greater speed-up in color-naming RTs with repetition of color-consistent than color-inconsistent taboo words, but no analogous speed-up with repetition of location-consistent or location-inconsistent taboo words (the consistency type by repetition interaction for taboo words). All three phenomena remained constant with aging, consistent with the transmission deficit hypothesis and binding theory, where familiar emotional words trigger age-invariant reactions for prioritizing the binding of contextual features to the source of emotion. Binding theory also accurately predicted the interaction between consistency type and repetition for taboo words. However, one or more aspects of these phenomena failed to support the inhibition deficit hypothesis, resource capacity theory, or socio-emotional selectivity theory. We conclude that binding theory warrants further test in a range of paradigms, and that relations between aging and emotion, memory, and attention may depend on whether the task and stimuli trigger fast-reaction, involuntary binding processes, as in the taboo Stroop paradigm. PMID:26473909

  15. Aging, Emotion, Attention, and Binding in the Taboo Stroop Task: Data and Theories

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Donald G. MacKay

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available How does aging impact relations between emotion, memory, and attention? To address this question, young and older adults named the font colors of taboo and neutral words, some of which recurred in the same font color or screen location throughout two color-naming experiments. The results indicated longer color-naming response times (RTs for taboo than neutral base-words (taboo Stroop interference; better incidental recognition of colors and locations consistently associated with taboo versus neutral words (taboo context-memory enhancement; and greater speed-up in color-naming RTs with repetition of color-consistent than color-inconsistent taboo words, but no analogous speed-up with repetition of location-consistent or location-inconsistent taboo words (the consistency type by repetition interaction for taboo words. All three phenomena remained constant with aging, consistent with the transmission deficit hypothesis and binding theory, where familiar emotional words trigger age-invariant reactions for prioritizing the binding of contextual features to the source of emotion. Binding theory also accurately predicted the interaction between consistency type and repetition for taboo words. However, one or more aspects of these phenomena failed to support the inhibition deficit hypothesis, resource capacity theory, or socio-emotional selectivity theory. We conclude that binding theory warrants further test in a range of paradigms, and that relations between aging and emotion, memory, and attention may depend on whether the task and stimuli trigger fast-reaction, involuntary binding processes, as in the taboo Stroop paradigm.

  16. Aging, Emotion, Attention, and Binding in the Taboo Stroop Task: Data and Theories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacKay, Donald G; Johnson, Laura W; Graham, Elizabeth R; Burke, Deborah M

    2015-10-14

    How does aging impact relations between emotion, memory, and attention? To address this question, young and older adults named the font colors of taboo and neutral words, some of which recurred in the same font color or screen location throughout two color-naming experiments. The results indicated longer color-naming response times (RTs) for taboo than neutral base-words (taboo Stroop interference); better incidental recognition of colors and locations consistently associated with taboo versus neutral words (taboo context-memory enhancement); and greater speed-up in color-naming RTs with repetition of color-consistent than color-inconsistent taboo words, but no analogous speed-up with repetition of location-consistent or location-inconsistent taboo words (the consistency type by repetition interaction for taboo words). All three phenomena remained constant with aging, consistent with the transmission deficit hypothesis and binding theory, where familiar emotional words trigger age-invariant reactions for prioritizing the binding of contextual features to the source of emotion. Binding theory also accurately predicted the interaction between consistency type and repetition for taboo words. However, one or more aspects of these phenomena failed to support the inhibition deficit hypothesis, resource capacity theory, or socio-emotional selectivity theory. We conclude that binding theory warrants further test in a range of paradigms, and that relations between aging and emotion, memory, and attention may depend on whether the task and stimuli trigger fast-reaction, involuntary binding processes, as in the taboo Stroop paradigm.

  17. ERP Correlates of Encoding Success and Encoding Selectivity in Attention Switching

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yeung, Nick

    2016-01-01

    Long-term memory encoding depends critically on effective processing of incoming information. The degree to which participants engage in effective encoding can be indexed in electroencephalographic (EEG) data by studying event-related potential (ERP) subsequent memory effects. The current study investigated ERP correlates of memory success operationalised with two different measures—memory selectivity and global memory—to assess whether previously observed ERP subsequent memory effects reflect focused encoding of task-relevant information (memory selectivity), general encoding success (global memory), or both. Building on previous work, the present study combined an attention switching paradigm—in which participants were presented with compound object-word stimuli and switched between attending to the object or the word across trials—with a later recognition memory test for those stimuli, while recording their EEG. Our results provided clear evidence that subsequent memory effects resulted from selective attentional focusing and effective top-down control (memory selectivity) in contrast to more general encoding success effects (global memory). Further analyses addressed the question of whether successful encoding depended on similar control mechanisms to those involved in attention switching. Interestingly, differences in the ERP correlates of attention switching and successful encoding, particularly during the poststimulus period, indicated that variability in encoding success occurred independently of prestimulus demands for top-down cognitive control. These results suggest that while effects of selective attention and selective encoding co-occur behaviourally their ERP correlates are at least partly dissociable. PMID:27907075

  18. Common region wins the competition between extrinsic grouping cues: Evidence from a task without explicit attention to grouping.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montoro, Pedro R; Villalba-García, Cristina; Luna, Dolores; Hinojosa, José A

    2017-12-01

    The competition between perceptual grouping factors is a relatively ignored topic, especially in the case of extrinsic grouping cues (e.g., common region or connectedness). Recent studies have examined the integration of extrinsic cues using tasks that induce selective attention to groups based on different grouping cues. However, this procedure could generate alternative strategies for task performance, which are non-related to the perceptual grouping operations. In the current work, we used an indirect task, i.e. repetition discrimination task, without explicit attention to grouping cues to further examine the rules that govern dominance between competing extrinsic grouping factors. This procedure allowed us to obtain an unbiased measure of the competition between common region and connectedness cues acting within the same display. The results corroborate previous data showing that grouping by common region dominated the perceived organization of the display, even though the phenomenological strength of the grouping cues was equated for each participant by means of a preliminary scaling task. Our results highlight the relevance of using indirect tasks as an essential tool for the systematic study of the integration of extrinsic grouping cues.

  19. Can attentional control settings be maintained for two color-location conjunctions? Evidence from an RSVP task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Irons, Jessica L; Remington, Roger W

    2013-07-01

    Previous investigations of the ability to maintain separate attentional control settings for different spatial locations have relied principally on a go/no-go spatial-cueing paradigm. The results have suggested that control of attention is accomplished only late in processing. However, the go/no-go task does not provide strong incentives to withhold attention from irrelevant color-location conjunctions. We used a modified version of the task in which failing to adopt multiple control settings would be detrimental to performance. Two RSVP streams of colored letters appeared to the left and right of fixation. Participants searched for targets that were a conjunction of color and location, so that the target color for one stream acted as a distractor when presented in the opposite stream. Distractors that did not match the target conjunctions nevertheless captured attention and interfered with performance. This was the case even when the target conjunctions were previewed early in the trial prior to the target (Exp. 2). However, distractor interference was reduced when the upcoming distractor was previewed early on in the trial (Exp. 3). Attentional selection of targets by color-location conjunctions may be effective if facilitative attentional sets are accompanied by the top-down inhibition of irrelevant items.

  20. Disadvantageous Deck Selection in the Iowa Gambling Task: The Effect of Cognitive Load

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Melissa J. Hawthorne

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Research has shown that cognitive load affects overall Iowa Gambling Task (IGT performance, but it is unknown whether such load impacts the selection of the individual decks that correspond to gains or losses. Here, participants performed the IGT either in a full attention condition or while engaged in a number monitoring task to divide attention. Results showed that the full attention group was more aware of the magnitude of gains or losses for each draw (i.e., payoff awareness than was the divided attention group. However, the divided attention group was more sensitive to the frequency of the losses (i.e., frequency awareness, as evidenced by their increased preference for Deck B, which is the large but infrequent loss deck. An analysis across blocks showed that the number monitoring group was consistently more aware of loss frequency, whereas the full attention group shifted between awareness of loss frequency and awareness of payoff amount. Furthermore, the full attention group was better able to weigh loss frequency and payoff amount when making deck selections. These findings support the notion that diminished cognitive resources may result in greater selection of Deck B, otherwise known as the prominent Deck B phenomenon.

  1. The effects of task difficulty and resource requirements on attention strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Teresa

    1991-01-01

    The patterns of attention strategies for task difficulty/resource tasks for which experimental results are presented and analyzed support the hypothesis that subjects may adopt an alternating (rather than concurrent one) when compelled to do so by either the size or the complexity of a visual display. According to the multiple resource model, if subjects had been performing the two tasks concurrently, the cost of this strategy would have been shown by a decrement in the spatial format, rather than the verbal format, due to competition for the same resource. Subjects may apply different strategies as a function of task difficulty and/or resource demand.

  2. Spatial attention enhances the selective integration of activity from area MT.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Masse, Nicolas Y; Herrington, Todd M; Cook, Erik P

    2012-09-01

    Distinguishing which of the many proposed neural mechanisms of spatial attention actually underlies behavioral improvements in visually guided tasks has been difficult. One attractive hypothesis is that attention allows downstream neural circuits to selectively integrate responses from the most informative sensory neurons. This would allow behavioral performance to be based on the highest-quality signals available in visual cortex. We examined this hypothesis by asking how spatial attention affects both the stimulus sensitivity of middle temporal (MT) neurons and their corresponding correlation with behavior. Analyzing a data set pooled from two experiments involving four monkeys, we found that spatial attention did not appreciably affect either the stimulus sensitivity of the neurons or the correlation between their activity and behavior. However, for those sessions in which there was a robust behavioral effect of attention, focusing attention inside the neuron's receptive field significantly increased the correlation between these two metrics, an indication of selective integration. These results suggest that, similar to mechanisms proposed for the neural basis of perceptual learning, the behavioral benefits of focusing spatial attention are attributable to selective integration of neural activity from visual cortical areas by their downstream targets.

  3. Feature-Selective Attention Adaptively Shifts Noise Correlations in Primary Auditory Cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Downer, Joshua D; Rapone, Brittany; Verhein, Jessica; O'Connor, Kevin N; Sutter, Mitchell L

    2017-05-24

    Sensory environments often contain an overwhelming amount of information, with both relevant and irrelevant information competing for neural resources. Feature attention mediates this competition by selecting the sensory features needed to form a coherent percept. How attention affects the activity of populations of neurons to support this process is poorly understood because population coding is typically studied through simulations in which one sensory feature is encoded without competition. Therefore, to study the effects of feature attention on population-based neural coding, investigations must be extended to include stimuli with both relevant and irrelevant features. We measured noise correlations ( r noise ) within small neural populations in primary auditory cortex while rhesus macaques performed a novel feature-selective attention task. We found that the effect of feature-selective attention on r noise depended not only on the population tuning to the attended feature, but also on the tuning to the distractor feature. To attempt to explain how these observed effects might support enhanced perceptual performance, we propose an extension of a simple and influential model in which shifts in r noise can simultaneously enhance the representation of the attended feature while suppressing the distractor. These findings present a novel mechanism by which attention modulates neural populations to support sensory processing in cluttered environments. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Although feature-selective attention constitutes one of the building blocks of listening in natural environments, its neural bases remain obscure. To address this, we developed a novel auditory feature-selective attention task and measured noise correlations ( r noise ) in rhesus macaque A1 during task performance. Unlike previous studies showing that the effect of attention on r noise depends on population tuning to the attended feature, we show that the effect of attention depends on the tuning

  4. Sustained and selective attention deficits as vulnerability markers to psychosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mulet, B; Valero, J; Gutiérrez-Zotes, A; Montserrat, C; Cortés, M J; Jariod, M; Martorell, L; Vilella, E; Labad, A

    2007-04-01

    The first descriptions of schizophrenia emphasized attention problems patients with schizophrenia have but recent results evidence that other psychotic disorders share them. We compared the performance in sustained and selective attention between psychotic patients (P), their healthy first degree relatives (R) and healthy volunteers (C) to prove whether these alterations could be an endophenotype of vulnerability to psychosis. We also compared the performance of schizophrenic patients (SZP) and that of patients with other functional psychoses (OP) in order to prove whether these alterations are specific of any psychotic disorder. Seventy-six P, 70 R and 39 C were included in the study. A selective attention index, comprising TMT A and B and Stroop Test, and a sustained attention index comprising the Continuous Performance Test were calculated. We conducted an univariant general linear model to compare three group performances in these indexes, with age, sex and years of education as a covariables. We found significant differences between the indexes when we compared P, R and C. No differences in performance were found between SZP and OP. Our data showed that sustained and selective attention alterations could be a vulnerability factor to psychotic disorders in general, but they were not specific of schizophrenia.

  5. Sustaining attention to simple visual tasks: a central deficit in schizophrenia? A systematic review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoonakker, Marc; Doignon-Camus, Nadège; Bonnefond, Anne

    2017-11-01

    Impairments in sustained attention, that is, the ability to achieve and maintain the focus of cognitive activity on a given stimulation source or task, have been described as central to schizophrenia. Today, sustained attention deficit is still considered as a hallmark of schizophrenia. Nevertheless, current findings on this topic are not consistent. To clarify these findings, we attempt to put these results into perspective according to the type of assessment (i.e., overall and over time assessment), the participants' characteristics (i.e., clinical and demographic characteristics), and the paradigms (i.e., traditionally formatted tasks, go/no-go tasks, and the sustained attention task) and measures used. Two types of assessment lead to opposite findings; they do not evaluate sustained attention the same way. Studies using overall assessments of sustained attention ability tend to reveal a deficit, whereas studies using over time assessments do not. Therefore, further research is needed to investigate the underlying cognitive control mechanisms of changes in sustained attention in schizophrenia. © 2017 New York Academy of Sciences.

  6. Relationship between weekend catch-up sleep and poor performance on attention tasks in Korean adolescents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Seog Ju; Lee, Yu Jin; Cho, Seong-Jin; Cho, In-Hee; Lim, Weonjeong; Lim, Wonshin

    2011-09-01

    To investigate the relationship between insufficient sleep and poor attention in Korean adolescents, adjusting for potential confounding factors of depressed mood and habitual snoring. School-based cross-sectional study. Eight high schools in 3 cities in the Republic of Korea. A sample of 2638 urban high school students (42.2% male and 57.8% female; mean [SD] age, 17.3 [0.6] years [age range, 14-19 years]) completed questionnaires and computerized attention tasks during the school term. Weekend catch-up sleep. Self-reported sleep schedules and habits, including sleep duration, bedtime, wake-up time, depressed mood, and habitual snoring. Also measured were numbers of omission and commission errors on computerized attention tasks. The mean (SD) sleep duration on weekdays was 5 hours 42 minutes (1 hour 0 minutes) per day and on weekends was 8 hours 24 minutes (1 hour 36 minutes) per day. The mean (SD) weekend catch-up sleep was 2 hours 42 minutes (1 hour 42 minutes) per day. After adjusting for age, sex, depressed mood (Beck Depression Inventory score, ≥10), habitual snoring, and weekday sleep duration, increased weekend catch-up sleep was significantly associated with more omission and commission errors on sustained attention tasks (P sleep as an indicator of insufficient weekday sleep is associated with poor performance on objective attention tasks. Assessment of catch-up sleep and sleep duration may be useful for physicians to evaluate sleep insufficiency and its adverse effects on attention in adolescents.

  7. Individual Differences in Temporal Selective Attention as Reflected in Pupil Dilation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Charlotte Willems

    Full Text Available Attention is restricted for the second of two targets when it is presented within 200-500 ms of the first target. This attentional blink (AB phenomenon allows one to study the dynamics of temporal selective attention by varying the interval between the two targets (T1 and T2. Whereas the AB has long been considered as a robust and universal cognitive limitation, several studies have demonstrated that AB task performance greatly differs between individuals, with some individuals showing no AB whatsoever.Here, we studied these individual differences in AB task performance in relation to differences in attentional timing. Furthermore, we investigated whether AB magnitude is predictive for the amount of attention allocated to T1. For both these purposes pupil dilation was measured, and analyzed with our recently developed deconvolution method. We found that the dynamics of temporal attention in small versus large blinkers differ in a number of ways. Individuals with a relatively small AB magnitude seem better able to preserve temporal order information. In addition, they are quicker to allocate attention to both T1 and T2 than large blinkers. Although a popular explanation of the AB is that it is caused by an unnecessary overinvestment of attention allocated to T1, a more complex picture emerged from our data, suggesting that this may depend on whether one is a small or a large blinker.The use of pupil dilation deconvolution seems to be a powerful approach to study the temporal dynamics of attention, bringing us a step closer to understanding the elusive nature of the AB. We conclude that the timing of attention to targets may be more important than the amount of allocated attention in accounting for individual differences.

  8. Individual Differences in Temporal Selective Attention as Reflected in Pupil Dilation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Willems, Charlotte; Herdzin, Johannes; Martens, Sander

    2015-01-01

    Attention is restricted for the second of two targets when it is presented within 200-500 ms of the first target. This attentional blink (AB) phenomenon allows one to study the dynamics of temporal selective attention by varying the interval between the two targets (T1 and T2). Whereas the AB has long been considered as a robust and universal cognitive limitation, several studies have demonstrated that AB task performance greatly differs between individuals, with some individuals showing no AB whatsoever. Here, we studied these individual differences in AB task performance in relation to differences in attentional timing. Furthermore, we investigated whether AB magnitude is predictive for the amount of attention allocated to T1. For both these purposes pupil dilation was measured, and analyzed with our recently developed deconvolution method. We found that the dynamics of temporal attention in small versus large blinkers differ in a number of ways. Individuals with a relatively small AB magnitude seem better able to preserve temporal order information. In addition, they are quicker to allocate attention to both T1 and T2 than large blinkers. Although a popular explanation of the AB is that it is caused by an unnecessary overinvestment of attention allocated to T1, a more complex picture emerged from our data, suggesting that this may depend on whether one is a small or a large blinker. The use of pupil dilation deconvolution seems to be a powerful approach to study the temporal dynamics of attention, bringing us a step closer to understanding the elusive nature of the AB. We conclude that the timing of attention to targets may be more important than the amount of allocated attention in accounting for individual differences.

  9. Attentional selection in visual perception, memory and action: a quest for cross-domain integration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, Werner X.; Einhäuser, Wolfgang; Horstmann, Gernot

    2013-01-01

    For decades, the cognitive and neural sciences have benefitted greatly from a separation of mind and brain into distinct functional domains. The tremendous success of this approach notwithstanding, it is self-evident that such a view is incomplete. Goal-directed behaviour of an organism requires the joint functioning of perception, memory and sensorimotor control. A prime candidate for achieving integration across these functional domains are attentional processes. Consequently, this Theme Issue brings together studies of attentional selection from many fields, both experimental and theoretical, that are united in their quest to find overreaching integrative principles of attention between perception, memory and action. In all domains, attention is understood as combination of competition and priority control (‘bias’), with the task as a decisive driving factor to ensure coherent goal-directed behaviour and cognition. Using vision as the predominant model system for attentional selection, many studies of this Theme Issue focus special emphasis on eye movements as a selection process that is both a fundamental action and serves a key function in perception. The Theme Issue spans a wide range of methods, from measuring human behaviour in the real word to recordings of single neurons in the non-human primate brain. We firmly believe that combining such a breadth in approaches is necessary not only for attentional selection, but also to take the next decisive step in all of the cognitive and neural sciences: to understand cognition and behaviour beyond isolated domains. PMID:24018715

  10. Attentional selection in visual perception, memory and action: a quest for cross-domain integration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schneider, Werner X; Einhäuser, Wolfgang; Horstmann, Gernot

    2013-10-19

    For decades, the cognitive and neural sciences have benefitted greatly from a separation of mind and brain into distinct functional domains. The tremendous success of this approach notwithstanding, it is self-evident that such a view is incomplete. Goal-directed behaviour of an organism requires the joint functioning of perception, memory and sensorimotor control. A prime candidate for achieving integration across these functional domains are attentional processes. Consequently, this Theme Issue brings together studies of attentional selection from many fields, both experimental and theoretical, that are united in their quest to find overreaching integrative principles of attention between perception, memory and action. In all domains, attention is understood as combination of competition and priority control ('bias'), with the task as a decisive driving factor to ensure coherent goal-directed behaviour and cognition. Using vision as the predominant model system for attentional selection, many studies of this Theme Issue focus special emphasis on eye movements as a selection process that is both a fundamental action and serves a key function in perception. The Theme Issue spans a wide range of methods, from measuring human behaviour in the real word to recordings of single neurons in the non-human primate brain. We firmly believe that combining such a breadth in approaches is necessary not only for attentional selection, but also to take the next decisive step in all of the cognitive and neural sciences: to understand cognition and behaviour beyond isolated domains.

  11. From shunting inhibition to dynamic normalization: Attentional selection and decision-making in brief visual displays.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Philip L; Sewell, David K; Lilburn, Simon D

    2015-11-01

    Normalization models of visual sensitivity assume that the response of a visual mechanism is scaled divisively by the sum of the activity in the excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms in its neighborhood. Normalization models of attention assume that the weighting of excitatory and inhibitory mechanisms is modulated by attention. Such models have provided explanations of the effects of attention in both behavioral and single-cell recording studies. We show how normalization models can be obtained as the asymptotic solutions of shunting differential equations, in which stimulus inputs and the activity in the mechanism control growth rates multiplicatively rather than additively. The value of the shunting equation approach is that it characterizes the entire time course of the response, not just its asymptotic strength. We describe two models of attention based on shunting dynamics, the integrated system model of Smith and Ratcliff (2009) and the competitive interaction theory of Smith and Sewell (2013). These models assume that attention, stimulus salience, and the observer's strategy for the task jointly determine the selection of stimuli into visual short-term memory (VSTM) and the way in which stimulus representations are weighted. The quality of the VSTM representation determines the speed and accuracy of the decision. The models provide a unified account of a variety of attentional phenomena found in psychophysical tasks using single-element and multi-element displays. Our results show the generality and utility of the normalization approach to modeling attention. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  12. Sex differences in sensorimotor mu rhythms during selective attentional processing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Popovich, C; Dockstader, C; Cheyne, D; Tannock, R

    2010-12-01

    We used magnetoencephalography to investigate the effect of directed attention on sensorimotor mu (8-12 Hz) response (mu reactivity) to non-painful electrical stimulation of the median nerve in healthy adults. Mu desynchronization in the 10-12 Hz bandwidth is typically observed during higher-order cognitive functions including selective attentional processing of sensorimotor information (Pfurtscheller, Neuper, & Krauz, 2000). We found attention-related sex differences in mu reactivity, with females showing (i) prolonged mu desynchrony when attending to somatosensory stimuli, (ii) attentional modulation of the mu response based on whether attention was directed towards or away from somatosensory stimuli, which was absent in males, and (iii) a trend for greater neuronal excitability of the primary somatosensory region suggesting greater physiological responsiveness to sensory stimulation overall. Our findings suggest sex differences in attentional control strategies when processing somatosensory stimuli, whose salience may be greater for females. These sex differences in attention to somatosensory stimuli may help elucidate the well-documented sex biases in pain processing wherein females typically report greater sensitivity to experimental and clinical pain. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Modeling selective attention using a neuromorphic analog VLSI device.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Indiveri, G

    2000-12-01

    Attentional mechanisms are required to overcome the problem of flooding a limited processing capacity system with information. They are present in biological sensory systems and can be a useful engineering tool for artificial visual systems. In this article we present a hardware model of a selective attention mechanism implemented on a very large-scale integration (VLSI) chip, using analog neuromorphic circuits. The chip exploits a spike-based representation to receive, process, and transmit signals. It can be used as a transceiver module for building multichip neuromorphic vision systems. We describe the circuits that carry out the main processing stages of the selective attention mechanism and provide experimental data for each circuit. We demonstrate the expected behavior of the model at the system level by stimulating the chip with both artificially generated control signals and signals obtained from a saliency map, computed from an image containing several salient features.

  14. Neuroelectrical signs of selective attention to color in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Stelt, O.; van der Molen, M.W.; Gunning, W.B.; Kok, A.

    2001-01-01

    In order to gain insight into the functional and macroanatornical loci of visual selective processing deficits that may be basic to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), multi-channel event related potentials recorded from 24 7-11-yr-old boys clinically diagnosed as having ADHD and 24

  15. Development of Selective Auditory Attention Skills in Children.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cherry, Rochelle Silberzweig

    1981-01-01

    Fifty-three children (ages 5-9) were individually tested on their ability to select pictures of monosyllabic words presented diotically via headphones. Tasks were presented in quiet and under three noise (distractor) conditions: white noise, speech backwards, and speech forward. Age and type of distractor significantly influenced test scores.…

  16. Common mechanisms of spatial attention in memory and perception: a tactile dual-task study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Katus, Tobias; Andersen, Søren K; Müller, Matthias M

    2014-03-01

    Orienting attention to locations in mnemonic representations engages processes that functionally and anatomically overlap the neural circuitry guiding prospective shifts of spatial attention. The attention-based rehearsal account predicts that the requirement to withdraw attention from a memorized location impairs memory accuracy. In a dual-task study, we simultaneously presented retro-cues and pre-cues to guide spatial attention in short-term memory (STM) and perception, respectively. The spatial direction of each cue was independent of the other. The locations indicated by the combined cues could be compatible (same hand) or incompatible (opposite hands). Incompatible directional cues decreased lateralized activity in brain potentials evoked by visual cues, indicating interference in the generation of prospective attention shifts. The detection of external stimuli at the prospectively cued location was impaired when the memorized location was part of the perceptually ignored hand. The disruption of attention-based rehearsal by means of incompatible pre-cues reduced memory accuracy and affected encoding of tactile test stimuli at the retrospectively cued hand. These findings highlight the functional significance of spatial attention for spatial STM. The bidirectional interactions between both tasks demonstrate that spatial attention is a shared neural resource of a capacity-limited system that regulates information processing in internal and external stimulus representations.

  17. Selective control of attention supports the positivity effect in aging.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laura K Sasse

    Full Text Available There is emerging evidence for a positivity effect in healthy aging, which describes an age-specific increased focus on positive compared to negative information. Life-span researchers have attributed this effect to the selective allocation of cognitive resources in the service of prioritized emotional goals. We explored the basic principles of this assumption by assessing selective attention and memory for visual stimuli, differing in emotional content and self-relevance, in young and old participants. To specifically address the impact of cognitive control, voluntary attentional selection during the presentation of multiple-item displays was analyzed and linked to participants' general ability of cognitive control. Results revealed a positivity effect in older adults' selective attention and memory, which was particularly pronounced for self-relevant stimuli. Focusing on positive and ignoring negative information was most evident in older participants with a generally higher ability to exert top-down control during visual search. Our findings highlight the role of controlled selectivity in the occurrence of a positivity effect in aging. Since the effect has been related to well-being in later life, we suggest that the ability to selectively allocate top-down control might represent a resilience factor for emotional health in aging.

  18. Selective control of attention supports the positivity effect in aging.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sasse, Laura K; Gamer, Matthias; Büchel, Christian; Brassen, Stefanie

    2014-01-01

    There is emerging evidence for a positivity effect in healthy aging, which describes an age-specific increased focus on positive compared to negative information. Life-span researchers have attributed this effect to the selective allocation of cognitive resources in the service of prioritized emotional goals. We explored the basic principles of this assumption by assessing selective attention and memory for visual stimuli, differing in emotional content and self-relevance, in young and old participants. To specifically address the impact of cognitive control, voluntary attentional selection during the presentation of multiple-item displays was analyzed and linked to participants' general ability of cognitive control. Results revealed a positivity effect in older adults' selective attention and memory, which was particularly pronounced for self-relevant stimuli. Focusing on positive and ignoring negative information was most evident in older participants with a generally higher ability to exert top-down control during visual search. Our findings highlight the role of controlled selectivity in the occurrence of a positivity effect in aging. Since the effect has been related to well-being in later life, we suggest that the ability to selectively allocate top-down control might represent a resilience factor for emotional health in aging.

  19. Event-related potentials during visual selective attention in children of alcoholics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van der Stelt, O; Gunning, W B; Snel, J; Kok, A

    1998-12-01

    Event-related potentials were recorded from 7- to 18-year-old children of alcoholics (COAs, n = 50) and age- and sex-matched control children (n = 50) while they performed a visual selective attention task. The task was to attend selectively to stimuli with a specified color (red or blue) in an attempt to detect the occurrence of target stimuli. COAs manifested a smaller P3b amplitude to attended-target stimuli over the parietal and occipital scalp than did the controls. A more specific analysis indicated that both the attentional relevance and the target properties of the eliciting stimulus determined the observed P3b amplitude differences between COAs and controls. In contrast, no significant group differences were observed in attention-related earlier occurring event-related potential components, referred to as frontal selection positivity, selection negativity, and N2b. These results represent neurophysiological evidence that COAs suffer from deficits at a late (semantic) level of visual selective information processing that are unlikely a consequence of deficits at earlier (sensory) levels of selective processing. The findings support the notion that a reduced visual P3b amplitude in COAs represents a high-level processing dysfunction indicating their increased vulnerability to alcoholism.

  20. Auditory Selective Attention in Cerebral-Palsied Individuals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laraway, Lee Ann

    1985-01-01

    To examine differences between auditory selective attention abilities of normal and cerebral-palsied individuals, 23 cerebral-palsied and 23 normal subjects (5-21) were asked to repeat a series of 30 items in presence of intermittent white noise. Results indicated that cerebral-palsied individuals perform significantly more poorly when the…

  1. Selective Attention in Early Dementia of Alzheimer Type

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernandez-Duque, Diego; Black, Sandra E.

    2008-01-01

    This study explored possible deficits in selective attention brought about by Dementia of Alzheimer Type (DAT). In three experiments, we tested patients with early DAT, healthy elderly, and young adults under low memory demands to assess perceptual filtering, conflict resolution, and set switching abilities. We found no evidence of impaired…

  2. Selective Attention, Working Memory, and Executive Function as Potential Independent Sources of Cognitive Dysfunction in Schizophrenia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gold, James M; Robinson, Benjamin; Leonard, Carly J; Hahn, Britta; Chen, Shuo; McMahon, Robert P; Luck, Steven J

    2017-11-11

    People with schizophrenia demonstrate impairments in selective attention, working memory, and executive function. Given the overlap in these constructs, it is unclear if these represent distinct impairments or different manifestations of one higher-order impairment. To examine this question, we administered tasks from the basic cognitive neuroscience literature to measure visual selective attention, working memory capacity, and executive function in 126 people with schizophrenia and 122 healthy volunteers. Patients demonstrated deficits on all tasks with the exception of selective attention guided by strong bottom-up inputs. Although the measures of top-down control of selective attention, working memory, and executive function were all intercorrelated, several sources of evidence indicate that working memory and executive function are separate sources of variance. Specifically, both working memory and executive function independently contributed to the discrimination of group status and independently accounted for variance in overall general cognitive ability as assessed by the MATRICS battery. These two cognitive functions appear to be separable features of the cognitive impairments observed in schizophrenia. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  3. Social exclusion impairs distractor suppression but not target enhancement in selective attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Mengsi; Li, Zhiai; Diao, Liuting; Fan, Lingxia; Zhang, Lijie; Yuan, Shuge; Yang, Dong

    2017-11-01

    Social exclusion has been thought to weaken one's ability to exert inhibitory control. Existing studies have primarily focused on the relationship between exclusion and behavioral inhibition, and have reported that exclusion impairs behavioral inhibition. However, whether exclusion also affects selective attention, another important aspect of inhibitory control, remains unknown. Therefore, the current study aimed to explore whether social exclusion impairs selective attention, and to specifically examine its effect on two hypothesized mechanisms of selective attention: target enhancement and distractor suppression. The Cyberball game was used to manipulate social exclusion. Participants then performed a visual search task while event-related potentials were recorded. In the visual search task, target and salient distractor were either both presented laterally or one was presented on the vertical midline and the other laterally. Results showed that social exclusion differentially affected target and distractor processing. While exclusion impaired distractor suppression, reflected as smaller distractor-positivity (Pd) amplitudes for the exclusion group compared to the inclusion group, it did not affect target enhancement, reflected as similar target-negativity (Nt) amplitudes for both the exclusion and inclusion groups. Together, these results extend our understanding of the relationship between exclusion and inhibitory control, and suggest that social exclusion affects selective attention in a more complex manner than previously thought. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  4. [Selective attention and schizophrenia before the administration of neuroleptics].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lussier, I; Stip, E

    1999-01-01

    In recent years, the presence of attention deficits has been recognized as a key feature of schizophrenia. Past studies reveal that selective attention, or the ability to select relevant information while ignoring simultaneously irrelevant information, is disturbed in schizophrenic patients. According to Treisman feature-integration theory of selective attention, visual search for conjunctive targets (e.g., shape and color) requires controlled processes, that necessitate attention and operate in a serial manner. Reaction times (RTs) are therefore function of the number of stimuli in the display. When subjects are asked to detect the presence or absence of a target in an array of a variable number of stimuli, different performance patterns are expected for positive (present target) and negative trials (absent target). For positive trials, a self-terminating search is triggered, that is, the search is ended when the target is encountered. For negative trials, an exhaustive search strategy is displayed, where each stimulus is examined before the search can end; the RT slope pattern is thus double that of the positive trials. To assess the integrity of these processes, thirteen drug naive schizophrenic patients were compared to twenty normal control subjects. Neuroleptic naive patients were chosen as subjects to avoid the potential influence of medication and chronicity-related factors on performance. The subjects had to specify as fast as possible the presence or absence of the target in an array of a variable number of stimuli presented in a circular display, and comprising or not the target. Results showed that the patients can use self-terminating search strategies as well as normal control subjects. However, their ability to trigger exhaustive search strategies is impaired. Not only were patients slower than controls, but their pattern of RT results was different. These results argue in favor of an early impairment in selective attention capacities in

  5. Computerized assessment of sustained attention: interactive effects of task demand, noise, and anxiety.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballard, J C

    1996-12-01

    In a sample of 163 college undergraduates, the effects of task demand, noise, and anxiety on Continuous Performance Test (CPT) errors were evaluated with multiple regression and multivariate analysis of variance. Results indicated significantly more omission errors on the difficult task. Complex interaction effects of noise and self-reported anxiety yielded more omissions in quiet intermittent white noise, particularly for high-anxious subjects performing the difficult task. Anxiety levels tended to increase from pretest to posttest, particularly for low-anxious subjects in the quiet, difficult-task condition, while a decrease was seen for high-anxious subjects in the loud, easy-task condition. Commission errors were unrelated to any predictor variables, suggesting that "attention" cannot be considered a unitary phenomenon. The variety of direct and interactive effects on vigilance performance underscore the need for clinicians to use a variety of measures to assess attentional skills, to avoid diagnosis of attention deficits on the basis of a single computerized task performance, and to rule out anxiety and other contributors to poor vigilance task performance.

  6. Acute exercise and aerobic fitness influence selective attention during visual search.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bullock, Tom; Giesbrecht, Barry

    2014-01-01

    Successful goal directed behavior relies on a human attention system that is flexible and able to adapt to different conditions of physiological stress. However, the effects of physical activity on multiple aspects of selective attention and whether these effects are mediated by aerobic capacity, remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of a prolonged bout of physical activity on visual search performance and perceptual distraction. Two groups of participants completed a hybrid visual search flanker/response competition task in an initial baseline session and then at 17-min intervals over a 2 h 16 min test period. Participants assigned to the exercise group engaged in steady-state aerobic exercise between completing blocks of the visual task, whereas participants assigned to the control group rested in between blocks. The key result was a correlation between individual differences in aerobic capacity and visual search performance, such that those individuals that were more fit performed the search task more quickly. Critically, this relationship only emerged in the exercise group after the physical activity had begun. The relationship was not present in either group at baseline and never emerged in the control group during the test period, suggesting that under these task demands, aerobic capacity may be an important determinant of visual search performance under physical stress. The results enhance current understanding about the relationship between exercise and cognition, and also inform current models of selective attention.

  7. Acute exercise and aerobic fitness influence selective attention during visual search

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bullock, Tom; Giesbrecht, Barry

    2014-01-01

    Successful goal directed behavior relies on a human attention system that is flexible and able to adapt to different conditions of physiological stress. However, the effects of physical activity on multiple aspects of selective attention and whether these effects are mediated by aerobic capacity, remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of a prolonged bout of physical activity on visual search performance and perceptual distraction. Two groups of participants completed a hybrid visual search flanker/response competition task in an initial baseline session and then at 17-min intervals over a 2 h 16 min test period. Participants assigned to the exercise group engaged in steady-state aerobic exercise between completing blocks of the visual task, whereas participants assigned to the control group rested in between blocks. The key result was a correlation between individual differences in aerobic capacity and visual search performance, such that those individuals that were more fit performed the search task more quickly. Critically, this relationship only emerged in the exercise group after the physical activity had begun. The relationship was not present in either group at baseline and never emerged in the control group during the test period, suggesting that under these task demands, aerobic capacity may be an important determinant of visual search performance under physical stress. The results enhance current understanding about the relationship between exercise and cognition, and also inform current models of selective attention. PMID:25426094

  8. Acute exercise and aerobic fitness influence selective attention during visual search

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tom eBullock

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Successful goal directed behavior relies on a human attention system that is flexible and able to adapt to different conditions of physiological stress. However, the effects of physical activity on multiple aspects of selective attention and whether these effects are mediated by aerobic capacity, remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of a prolonged bout of physical activity on visual search performance and perceptual distraction. Two groups of participants completed a hybrid visual search flanker/response competition task in an initial baseline session and then at 17-minute intervals over a 2 hour 16 minute test period. Participants assigned to the exercise group engaged in steady-state aerobic exercise between completing blocks of the visual task, whereas participants assigned to the control group rested in between blocks. The key result was a correlation between individual differences in aerobic capacity and visual search performance, such that those individuals that were more fit performed the search task more quickly. Critically, this relationship only emerged in the exercise group after the physical activity had begun. The relationship was not present in either group at baseline and never emerged in the control group during the test period, suggesting that under these task demands, aerobic capacity may be an important determinant of visual search performance under physical stress. The results enhance current understanding about the relationship between exercise and cognition, and also inform current models of selective attention.

  9. Selective attention affects conceptual object priming and recognition: A study with young and older adults

    OpenAIRE

    Soledad eBallesteros; Julia eMayas

    2015-01-01

    In the present study, we investigated the effects of selective attention at encoding on conceptual object priming (Experiment 1) and old–new recognition memory (Experiment 2) tasks in young and older adults. The procedures of both experiments included encoding and memory test phases separated by a short delay. At encoding, the picture outlines of two familiar objects, one in blue and the other in green, were presented to the left and to the right of fixation. In Experiment 1, participants wer...

  10. Beyond perceptual load and dilution: a review of the role of working memory in selective attention

    OpenAIRE

    de Fockert, Jan W.

    2013-01-01

    The perceptual load and dilution models differ fundamentally in terms of the proposed mechanism underlying variation in distractibility during different perceptual conditions. However, both models predict that distracting information can be processed beyond perceptual processing under certain conditions, a prediction that is well-supported by the literature. Load theory proposes that in such cases, where perceptual task aspects do not allow for sufficient attentional selectivity, the maintena...

  11. Cultural differences in attention: Eye movement evidence from a comparative visual search task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alotaibi, Albandri; Underwood, Geoffrey; Smith, Alastair D

    2017-10-01

    Individual differences in visual attention have been linked to thinking style: analytic thinking (common in individualistic cultures) is thought to promote attention to detail and focus on the most important part of a scene, whereas holistic thinking (common in collectivist cultures) promotes attention to the global structure of a scene and the relationship between its parts. However, this theory is primarily based on relatively simple judgement tasks. We compared groups from Great Britain (an individualist culture) and Saudi Arabia (a collectivist culture) on a more complex comparative visual search task, using simple natural scenes. A higher overall number of fixations for Saudi participants, along with longer search times, indicated less efficient search behaviour than British participants. Furthermore, intra-group comparisons of scan-path for Saudi participants revealed less similarity than within the British group. Together, these findings suggest that there is a positive relationship between an analytic cognitive style and controlled attention. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  12. L-theanine and caffeine improve task switching but not intersensory attention or subjective alertness.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Einöther, Suzanne J L; Martens, Vanessa E G; Rycroft, Jane A; De Bruin, Eveline A

    2010-04-01

    Tea ingredients L-theanine and caffeine have repeatedly been shown to deliver unique cognitive benefits when consumed in combination. The current randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over study compared a combination of L-theanine (97 mg) and caffeine (40 mg) to a placebo on two attention tasks and a self-report questionnaire before, and 10 and 60 min after consumption. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine significantly improved attention on a switch task as compared to the placebo, while subjective alertness and intersensory attention were not improved significantly. The results support previous evidence that L-theanine and caffeine in combination can improve attention. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  13. Attentional Selection and Suppression in Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Encong; Sun, Li; Sun, Meirong; Huang, Jing; Tao, Ye; Zhao, Xixi; Wu, Zhanliang; Ding, Yulong; Newman, Daniel P; Bellgrove, Mark A; Wang, Yufeng; Song, Yan

    2016-07-01

    Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder with prominent impairments in directing and sustaining attention. The aim of this study was to identify the neurophysiologic bases of attention deficits in ADHD, focusing on electroencephalography markers of attentional selection (posterior contralateral N2 [N2pc]) and suppression (distractor positivity [P D ]). The electroencephalography data were collected from 135 children 9-15 years old with and without ADHD while they searched for a shape target in either the absence (experiment 1) or the presence (experiment 2) of a salient but irrelevant color distractor. In experiment 1, the shape target elicited a smaller N2pc in children with ADHD (n = 38) compared with typically developing children (n = 36). The smaller N2pc amplitude predicted higher levels of inattentive symptoms in children with ADHD. Moreover, the target-elicited N2pc was followed by a positivity in typically developing children but not in children with ADHD. In experiment 2, the salient but irrelevant color distractor elicited a smaller P D component in children with ADHD (n = 32) compared with typically developing children (n = 29). The smaller P D predicted higher inattentive symptom severity as well as lower behavioral accuracy in children with ADHD. The correlation between N2pc/P D amplitudes and ADHD symptom severity suggests that these signals of attentional selection and suppression may serve as potential candidates for neurophysiologic markers of ADHD. Our findings provide a neurophysiologic basis for the subjective reports of attention deficits in children with ADHD and highlight the importance of spatial attention impairments in ADHD. Copyright © 2016 Society of Biological Psychiatry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Selective attentional deficit in essential tremor: Evidence from the attention network test.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pauletti, Caterina; Mannarelli, Daniela; De Lucia, Maria Caterina; Locuratolo, Nicoletta; Currà, Antonio; Missori, Paolo; Marinelli, Lucio; Fattapposta, Francesco

    2015-11-01

    The traditional view of essential tremor (ET) as a monosymptomatic and benign disorder has been reconsidered after patients with ET have been shown to experience cognitive deficits that are also related to attention. The Attention Network Test (ANT) is a rapid, widely used test to measure the efficiency of three attentional networks, i.e. alerting, orienting and executive, by evaluating reaction times (RTs) in response to visual stimuli. The aim of this study was to investigate attentional functioning in ET patients by means of the ANT. 21 non-demented patients with ET and 21 age- and sex-matched healthy controls performed the ANT. RT was significantly longer in ET patients than in controls (p attention in ET patients, probably owing to a dysfunction in the cerebello-thalamo-cortical loop. These selective attentional deficits are not related to clinical motor symptoms, contributing to shed further light on the clinical picture of ET. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Effects of smoking history on selective attention in schizophrenia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hahn, Constanze; Hahn, Eric; Dettling, Michael; Güntürkün, Onur; Ta, Thi Minh Tam; Neuhaus, Andres H

    2012-03-01

    Smoking prevalence is highly elevated in schizophrenia compared to the general population and to other psychiatric populations. Evidence suggests that smoking may lead to improvements of schizophrenia-associated attention deficits; however, large-scale studies on this important issue are scarce. We examined whether sustained, selective, and executive attention processes are differentially modulated by long-term nicotine consumption in 104 schizophrenia patients and 104 carefully matched healthy controls. A significant interaction of 'smoking status' × 'diagnostic group' was obtained for the domain of selective attention. Smoking was significantly associated with a detrimental conflict effect in controls, while the opposite effect was revealed for schizophrenia patients. Likewise, a positive correlation between a cumulative measure of nicotine consumption and conflict effect in controls and a negative correlation in patients were found. These results provide evidence for specific directional effects of smoking on conflict processing that critically dissociate with diagnosis. The data supports the self-medication hypothesis of smoking in schizophrenia and suggests selective attention as a specific cognitive domain targeted by nicotine consumption. A potential mechanistic model explaining these findings is discussed. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Selection in spatial working memory is independent of perceptual selective attention, but they interact in a shared spatial priority map.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hedge, Craig; Oberauer, Klaus; Leonards, Ute

    2015-11-01

    We examined the relationship between the attentional selection of perceptual information and of information in working memory (WM) through four experiments, using a spatial WM-updating task. Participants remembered the locations of two objects in a matrix and worked through a sequence of updating operations, each mentally shifting one dot to a new location according to an arrow cue. Repeatedly updating the same object in two successive steps is typically faster than switching to the other object; this object switch cost reflects the shifting of attention in WM. In Experiment 1, the arrows were presented in random peripheral locations, drawing perceptual attention away from the selected object in WM. This manipulation did not eliminate the object switch cost, indicating that the mechanisms of perceptual selection do not underlie selection in WM. Experiments 2a and 2b corroborated the independence of selection observed in Experiment 1, but showed a benefit to reaction times when the placement of the arrow cue was aligned with the locations of relevant objects in WM. Experiment 2c showed that the same benefit also occurs when participants are not able to mark an updating location through eye fixations. Together, these data can be accounted for by a framework in which perceptual selection and selection in WM are separate mechanisms that interact through a shared spatial priority map.

  17. When congruence breeds preference: the influence of selective attention processes on evaluative conditioning.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blask, Katarina; Walther, Eva; Frings, Christian

    2017-09-01

    We investigated in two experiments whether selective attention processes modulate evaluative conditioning (EC). Based on the fact that the typical stimuli in an EC paradigm involve an affect-laden unconditioned stimulus (US) and a neutral conditioned stimulus (CS), we started from the assumption that learning might depend in part upon selective attention to the US. Attention to the US was manipulated by including a variant of the Eriksen flanker task in the EC paradigm. Similarly to the original Flanker paradigm, we implemented a target-distracter logic by introducing the CS as the task-relevant stimulus (i.e. the target) to which the participants had to respond and the US as a task-irrelevant distracter. Experiment 1 showed that CS-US congruence modulated EC if the CS had to be selected against the US. Specifically, EC was more pronounced for congruent CS-US pairs as compared to incongruent CS-US pairs. Experiment 2 disentangled CS-US congruence and CS-US compatibility and suggested that it is indeed CS-US stimulus congruence rather than CS-US response compatibility that modulates EC.

  18. Attentional bias in high math-anxious individuals: evidence from an emotional Stroop task

    OpenAIRE

    Su?rez-Pellicioni, Macarena; N??ez-Pe?a, Maria Isabel; Colom?, ?ngels

    2015-01-01

    Attentional bias towards threatening or emotional information is considered a cognitive marker of anxiety, and it has been described in various clinical and subclinical populations. This study used an emotional Stroop task to investigate whether math anxiety is characterized by an attentional bias towards math-related words. Two previous studies failed to observe such an effect in math-anxious individuals, although the authors acknowledged certain methodological limitations that the present s...

  19. Differentiation of Rodent Behavioral Phenotypes and Methylphenidate Action in Sustained and Flexible Attention Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chu, Richard; Shumsky, Jed; Waterhouse, Barry D.

    2016-01-01

    Methyphenidate (MPH) is the primary drug treatment of choice for ADHD. It is also frequently used off-label as a cognitive enhancer by otherwise healthy individuals from all age groups and walks of life. Military personnel, students, and health professionals use MPH illicitly to increase attention and improve workplace performance over extended periods of work activity. Despite the frequency of its use, the efficacy of MPH to enhance cognitive function across individuals and in a variety of circumstances is not well characterized. We sought to better understand MPH’s cognitive enhancing properties in two different rodent models of attention. We found that MPH could enhance performance in a sustained attention task, but that its effects in this test were subject dependent. More specifically, MPH increased attention in low baseline performing rats but had little to no effect on high performing rats. MPH exerted a similar subject specific effect in a test of flexible attention, i.e. the attention set shifting task. In this test MPH increased behavioral flexibility in animals with poor flexibility but impaired performance in more flexible animals. Overall, our results indicate that the effects of MPH are subject-specific and depend on the baseline level of performance. Furthermore, good performance in in the sustained attention task was correlated with good performance in the flexible attention task; i.e. animals with better vigilance exhibited greater behavioral flexibility. The findings are discussed in terms of potential neurobiological substrates, in particular noradrenergic mechanisms, that might underlie subject specific performance and subject specific responses to MPH. PMID:26688113

  20. Task-irrelevant own-race faces capture attention: eye-tracking evidence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cao, Rong; Wang, Shuzhen; Rao, Congquan; Fu, Jia

    2013-04-01

    To investigate attentional capture by face's race, the current study recorded saccade latencies of eye movement measurements in an inhibition of return (IOR) task. Compared to Caucasian (other-race) faces, Chinese (own-race) faces elicited longer saccade latency. This phenomenon disappeared when faces were inverted. The results indicated that own-race faces capture attention automatically with high-level configural processing. © 2013 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology © 2013 The Scandinavian Psychological Associations.

  1. Additive effects of emotional content and spatial selective attention on electrocortical facilitation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Keil, Andreas; Moratti, Stephan; Sabatinelli, Dean; Bradley, Margaret M; Lang, Peter J

    2005-08-01

    Affectively arousing visual stimuli have been suggested to automatically attract attentional resources in order to optimize sensory processing. The present study crosses the factors of spatial selective attention and affective content, and examines the relationship between instructed (spatial) and automatic attention to affective stimuli. In addition to response times and error rate, electroencephalographic data from 129 electrodes were recorded during a covert spatial attention task. This task required silent counting of random-dot targets embedded in a 10 Hz flicker of colored pictures presented to both hemifields. Steady-state visual evoked potentials (ssVEPs) were obtained to determine amplitude and phase of electrocortical responses to pictures. An increase of ssVEP amplitude was observed as an additive function of spatial attention and emotional content. Statistical parametric mapping of this effect indicated occipito-temporal and parietal cortex activation contralateral to the attended visual hemifield in ssVEP amplitude modulation. This difference was most pronounced during selection of the left visual hemifield, at right temporal electrodes. In line with this finding, phase information revealed accelerated processing of aversive arousing, compared to affectively neutral pictures. The data suggest that affective stimulus properties modulate the spatiotemporal process along the ventral stream, encompassing amplitude amplification and timing changes of posterior and temporal cortex.

  2. Attentional selection and suppression in children and adults.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Meirong; Wang, Encong; Huang, Jing; Zhao, Chenguang; Guo, Jialiang; Li, Dongwei; Sun, Li; Du, Boqi; Ding, Yulong; Song, Yan

    2018-05-15

    The fundamental role of covert spatial attention is to enhance the processing of attended items while simultaneously ignoring irrelevant items. However, relatively little is known about how brain electrophysiological activities associated with target selection and distractor suppression are involved as they develop and become fully functional. The current study aimed to identify the neurophysiological bases of the development of covert spatial attention, focusing on electroencephalographic (EEG) markers of attentional selection (N2pc) and suppression (P D ). EEG data were collected from healthy young adults and typically developing children (9-15 years old) as they searched for a shape singleton target in either the absence or the presence of a salient-but-irrelevant color singleton distractor. The ERP results showed that a lateral shape target elicited a smaller N2pc in children compared with adults regardless of whether a distractor was present or not. Moreover, the target-elicited N2pc was always followed by a similar positivity in both age groups. Counterintuitively, a lateral salient-but-irrelevant distractor elicited a large P D in children with low behavioral accuracy, whereas high-accuracy children exhibited a small and "adult-like" P D . More importantly, we found no evidence for a correlation between the target-elicited N2pc and the distractor-elicited P D in either age group. Our results provide neurophysiological evidence for the developmental differences between target selection and distractor suppression. Compared with adults, 9-15-year-old children deploy insufficient attentional selection resources to targets but use "adult-like" or even more attentional suppression resources to resist irrelevant distractors. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhWapx0d75I. © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  3. Visual selective attention is impaired in children prenatally exposed to opioid agonist medication.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konijnenberg, Carolien; Melinder, Annika

    2015-01-01

    To examine whether prenatal exposure to opioid agonist medication is associated with visual selective attention and general attention problems in early childhood. Twenty-two children (mean age = 52.17 months, SD = 1.81) prenatally exposed to methadone, 9 children (mean age = 52.41 months, SD = 1.42) prenatally exposed to buprenorphine and 25 nonexposed comparison children (mean age = 51.44 months, SD = 1.31) were tested. Visual selective attention was measured with a Tobii 1750 Eye Tracker using a spatial negative priming paradigm. Attention problems were measured using the Child Behavior Checklist. The comparison group demonstrated a larger spatial negative priming effect (mean = 23.50, SD = 45.50) than the exposed group [mean = -6.84, SD = 86.39, F(1,50) = 5.91, p = 0.019, η(2) = 0.11]. No difference in reported attention problems was found [F(1,51) = 1.63, p = 0.21, η(2) = 0.03]. Neonatal abstinence syndrome and prenatal exposure to marijuana were found to predict slower saccade latencies in the exposed group (b = 54.55, SE = 23.56, p = 0.03 and b = 88.86, SE = 32.07, p = 0.01, respectively). Although exposed children did not appear to have attention deficits in daily life, lower performance on the SNP task indicates subtle alteration in the attention system. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.

  4. Modulation of human extrastriate visual processing by selective attention to colours and words.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nobre, A C; Allison, T; McCarthy, G

    1998-07-01

    The present study investigated the effect of visual selective attention upon neural processing within functionally specialized regions of the human extrastriate visual cortex. Field potentials were recorded directly from the inferior surface of the temporal lobes in subjects with epilepsy. The experimental task required subjects to focus attention on words from one of two competing texts. Words were presented individually and foveally. Texts were interleaved randomly and were distinguishable on the basis of word colour. Focal field potentials were evoked by words in the posterior part of the fusiform gyrus. Selective attention strongly modulated long-latency potentials evoked by words. The attention effect co-localized with word-related potentials in the posterior fusiform gyrus, and was independent of stimulus colour. The results demonstrated that stimuli receive differential processing within specialized regions of the extrastriate cortex as a function of attention. The late onset of the attention effect and its co-localization with letter string-related potentials but not with colour-related potentials recorded from nearby regions of the fusiform gyrus suggest that the attention effect is due to top-down influences from downstream regions involved in word processing.

  5. Visual selective attention in body dysmorphic disorder, bulimia nervosa and healthy controls.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kollei, Ines; Horndasch, Stefanie; Erim, Yesim; Martin, Alexandra

    2017-01-01

    Cognitive behavioral models postulate that selective attention plays an important role in the maintenance of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). It is suggested that individuals with BDD overfocus on perceived defects in their appearance, which may contribute to the excessive preoccupation with their appearance. The present study used eye tracking to examine visual selective attention in individuals with BDD (n=19), as compared to individuals with bulimia nervosa (BN) (n=21) and healthy controls (HCs) (n=21). Participants completed interviews, questionnaires, rating scales and an eye tracking task: Eye movements were recorded while participants viewed photographs of their own face and attractive as well as unattractive other faces. Eye tracking data showed that BDD and BN participants focused less on their self-rated most attractive facial part than HCs. Scanning patterns in own and other faces showed that BDD and BN participants paid as much attention to attractive as to unattractive features in their own face, whereas they focused more on attractive features in attractive other faces. HCs paid more attention to attractive features in their own face and did the same in attractive other faces. Results indicate an attentional bias in BDD and BN participants manifesting itself in a neglect of positive features compared to HCs. Perceptual retraining may be an important aspect to focus on in therapy in order to overcome the neglect of positive facial aspects. Future research should aim to disentangle attentional processes in BDD by examining the time course of attentional processing. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Development of selective attention in preschool-age children from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amanda Hampton Wray

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Although differences in selective attention skills have been identified in children from lower compared to higher socioeconomic status (SES backgrounds, little is known about these differences in early childhood, a time of rapid attention development. The current study evaluated the development of neural systems for selective attention in children from lower SES backgrounds. Event-related potentials (ERPs were acquired from 33 children from lower SES and 14 children from higher SES backgrounds during a dichotic listening task. The lower SES group was followed longitudinally for one year. At age four, the higher SES group exhibited a significant attention effect (larger ERP response to attended compared to unattended condition, an effect not observed in the lower SES group. At age five, the lower SES group exhibited a significant attention effect comparable in overall magnitude to that observed in the 4-year-old higher SES group, but with poorer distractor suppression (larger response to the unattended condition. Together, these findings suggest both a maturational delay and divergent developmental pattern in neural mechanisms for selective attention in young children from lower compared to higher SES backgrounds. Furthermore, these findings highlight the importance of studying neurodevelopment within narrow age ranges and in children from diverse backgrounds.

  7. Development of selective attention in preschool-age children from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hampton Wray, Amanda; Stevens, Courtney; Pakulak, Eric; Isbell, Elif; Bell, Theodore; Neville, Helen

    2017-08-01

    Although differences in selective attention skills have been identified in children from lower compared to higher socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds, little is known about these differences in early childhood, a time of rapid attention development. The current study evaluated the development of neural systems for selective attention in children from lower SES backgrounds. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were acquired from 33 children from lower SES and 14 children from higher SES backgrounds during a dichotic listening task. The lower SES group was followed longitudinally for one year. At age four, the higher SES group exhibited a significant attention effect (larger ERP response to attended compared to unattended condition), an effect not observed in the lower SES group. At age five, the lower SES group exhibited a significant attention effect comparable in overall magnitude to that observed in the 4-year-old higher SES group, but with poorer distractor suppression (larger response to the unattended condition). Together, these findings suggest both a maturational delay and divergent developmental pattern in neural mechanisms for selective attention in young children from lower compared to higher SES backgrounds. Furthermore, these findings highlight the importance of studying neurodevelopment within narrow age ranges and in children from diverse backgrounds. Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

  8. Brain indices of nicotine's effects on attentional bias to smoking and emotional pictures and to task-relevant targets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilbert, David G; Sugai, Chihiro; Zuo, Yantao; Rabinovich, Norka E; McClernon, F Joseph; Froeliger, Brett

    2007-03-01

    Aversive and smoking-related stimuli are related to smoking urges and relapse and can be potent distractors of selective attention. It has been suggested that the beneficial effect of nicotine replacement therapy may be mediated partly by the ability of nicotine to reduce distraction by such stimuli and thereby to facilitate attention to task-relevant stimuli. The present study tested the hypothesis that nicotine reduces distraction by aversive and smoking-related stimuli as indexed by the parietal P3b brain response to a task-relevant target digit. We assessed the effect of nicotine on distraction by emotionally negative, positive, neutral, and smoking-related pictures immediately preceding target digits during a rapid visual information processing task in 16 smokers in a double-blind, counterbalanced, within-subjects design. The study included two experimental sessions. After overnight smoking deprivation (12+ hr), active nicotine patches were applied to participants during one of the sessions and placebo patches were applied during the other session. Nicotine enhanced P3b responses associated with target digits immediately subsequent to negative emotional pictures bilaterally and subsequent to smoking-related pictures only in the right hemisphere. No effects of nicotine were observed for P3bs subsequent to positive and neutral distractor pictures. Another measure of attention, contingent negative variation amplitude in anticipation of the target digits also was increased by nicotine, especially in the left hemisphere and at posterior sites. Together, these findings suggest that nicotine reduces the distraction by emotionally negative and smoking-related stimuli and promotes attention to task-related stimuli by modulating somewhat lateralized and task-specific neural networks.

  9. Advert saliency distracts children's visual attention during task-oriented internet use

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nils eHolmberg

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available The general research question of the present study was to assess the impact of visually salient online adverts on children's task-oriented internet use. In order to answer this question, an experimental study was constructed in which 9-year-old and 12-year-old Swedish children were asked to solve a number of tasks while interacting with a mockup website. In each trial, web adverts in several saliency conditions were presented. By both measuring children's task accuracy, as well as the visual processing involved in solving these tasks, this study allows us to infer how two types of visual saliency affect children's attentional behavior, and whether such behavioral effects also impacts their task performance. Analyses show that low-level visual features and task relevance in online adverts have different effects on performance measures and process measures respectively. Whereas task performance is stable with regard to several advert saliency conditions, a marked effect is seen on children's gaze behavior. On the other hand, task performance is shown to be more sensitive to individual differences such as age, gender and level of gaze control. The results provide evidence about cognitive and behavioral distraction effects in children's task-oriented internet use caused by visual saliency in online adverts. The experiment suggests that children to some extent are able to compensate for behavioral effects caused by distracting visual stimuli when solving prospective memory tasks. Suggestions are given for further research into the interdiciplinary area between media research and cognitive science.

  10. Selective attention in peacocks during assessment of rival males.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yorzinski, Jessica L; Patricelli, Gail L; Bykau, Siarhei; Platt, Michael L

    2017-03-15

    Males in many species compete intensely for access to females. In order to minimize costly interactions, they can assess their rivals' competitive abilities by evaluating traits and behaviors. We know little about how males selectively direct their attention to make these assessments. Using Indian peafowl ( Pavo cristatus ) as a model system, we examined how males visually assess their competitors by continuously tracking the gaze of freely moving peacocks during the mating season. When assessing rivals, peacocks selectively gazed toward the lower display regions of their rivals, including the lower eyespot and fishtail feathers, dense feathers, body and wings. Their attention was modified based on the rivals' behavior such that they spent more time looking at rivals when rivals were shaking their wings and moving. The results indicate that peacocks selectively allocate their attention during rival assessment. The gaze patterns of males assessing rivals were largely similar to those of females evaluating mates, suggesting that some male traits serve a dual function in both intra- and intersexual selection. However, males spent more time than females looking at the upper eyespots and this could indicate that the upper eyespots function more in close-up rival assessment than mate choice. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

  11. Evaluation of selective attention in patients with misophonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Silva, Fúlvia Eduarda da; Sanchez, Tanit Ganz

    2018-03-21

    Misophonia is characterized by the aversion to very selective sounds, which evoke a strong emotional reaction. It has been inferred that misophonia, as well as tinnitus, is associated with hyperconnectivity between auditory and limbic systems. Individuals with bothersome tinnitus may have selective attention impairment, but it has not been demonstrated in case of misophonia yet. To characterize a sample of misophonic subjects and compare it with two control groups, one with tinnitus individuals (without misophonia) and the other with asymptomatic individuals (without misophonia and without tinnitus), regarding the selective attention. We evaluated 40 normal-hearing participants: 10 with misophonia, 10 with tinnitus (without misophonia) and 20 without tinnitus and without misophonia. In order to evaluate the selective attention, the dichotic sentence identification test was applied in three situations: firstly, the Brazilian Portuguese test was applied. Then, the same test was applied, combined with two competitive sounds: chewing sound (representing a sound that commonly triggers misophonia), and white noise (representing a common type of tinnitus which causes discomfort to patients). The dichotic sentence identification test with chewing sound, showed that the average of correct responses differed between misophonia and without tinnitus and without misophonia (p=0.027) and between misophonia and tinnitus (without misophonia) (p=0.002), in both cases lower in misophonia. Both, the dichotic sentence identification test alone, and with white noise, failed to show differences in the average of correct responses among the three groups (p≥0.452). The misophonia participants presented a lower percentage of correct responses in the dichotic sentence identification test with chewing sound; suggesting that individuals with misophonia may have selective attention impairment when they are exposed to sounds that trigger this condition. Copyright © 2018 Associa

  12. The influence of caffeine on spatial-selective attention: an event-related potential study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruijter, J; de Ruiter, M B; Snel, J; Lorist, M M

    2000-12-01

    Following the indications of previous studies that caffeine might have a specific effect on the processing of spatial information compared with other types of information, the present study investigated the influence of caffeine on an often used spatial-selective attention task. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 11 participants under conditions of caffeine (250 mg) and placebo. Spatial-selective attention effects were reflected in the ERPs as more positive going occipital P1 and broadly distributed P2 components, and more negative going occipital-temporal N1 and broadly distributed N2 components. A treatment effect was found as a more positive going frontal P2 component in the caffeine condition, whereas interactions between treatment and attention were observed for P2 and N2 components, but not for P1 and N1 components. This pattern of results suggests that caffeine has no specific influence on spatial-selective attention, but rather, has a more general facilitating effect on perceptual processing, as well as a possible effect on the frontal control mechanisms, i.e. focusing attention and increasing selectivity.

  13. Adaptive attunement of selective covert attention to evolutionary-relevant emotional visual scenes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fernández-Martín, Andrés; Gutiérrez-García, Aída; Capafons, Juan; Calvo, Manuel G

    2017-05-01

    We investigated selective attention to emotional scenes in peripheral vision, as a function of adaptive relevance of scene affective content for male and female observers. Pairs of emotional-neutral images appeared peripherally-with perceptual stimulus differences controlled-while viewers were fixating on a different stimulus in central vision. Early selective orienting was assessed by the probability of directing the first fixation towards either scene, and the time until first fixation. Emotional scenes selectively captured covert attention even when they were task-irrelevant, thus revealing involuntary, automatic processing. Sex of observers and specific emotional scene content (e.g., male-to-female-aggression, families and babies, etc.) interactively modulated covert attention, depending on adaptive priorities and goals for each sex, both for pleasant and unpleasant content. The attentional system exhibits domain-specific and sex-specific biases and attunements, probably rooted in evolutionary pressures to enhance reproductive and protective success. Emotional cues selectively capture covert attention based on their bio-social significance. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  14. Visual evoked potentials and selective attention to points in space

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van Voorhis, S.; Hillyard, S. A.

    1977-01-01

    Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were recorded to sequences of flashes delivered to the right and left visual fields while subjects responded promptly to designated stimuli in one field at a time (focused attention), in both fields at once (divided attention), or to neither field (passive). Three stimulus schedules were used: the first was a replication of a previous study (Eason, Harter, and White, 1969) where left- and right-field flashes were delivered quasi-independently, while in the other two the flashes were delivered to the two fields in random order (Bernoulli sequence). VEPs to attended-field stimuli were enhanced at both occipital (O2) and central (Cz) recording sites under all stimulus sequences, but different components were affected at the two scalp sites. It was suggested that the VEP at O2 may reflect modality-specific processing events, while the response at Cz, like its auditory homologue, may index more general aspects of selective attention.

  15. Are divided attention tasks useful in the assessment and management of sport-related concussion?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Register-Mihalik, Johna K; Littleton, Ashley C; Guskiewicz, Kevin M

    2013-12-01

    This article is a systematic review of the literature on divided attention assessment inclusive of a cognitive and motor task (balance or gait) for use in concussion management. The systematic review drew from published papers listed in PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL databases. The search identified 19 empirical research papers meeting the inclusion criteria. Study results were considered for the psychometric properties of the paradigms, the influence of divided attention on measures of cognition and postural control and the comparison of divided attention task outcomes between individuals with concussion and healthy controls (all samples were age 17 years or older). The review highlights that the reliability of the tasks under a divided attention paradigm presented ranges from low to high (ICC: 0.1-0.9); however, only 3/19 articles included psychometric information. Response times are greater, gait strategies are less efficient, and postural control deficits are greater in concussed participants compared with healthy controls both immediately and for some period following concussive injury, specifically under divided attention conditions. Dual task assessments in some cases were more reliable than single task assessments and may be better able to detect lingering effects following concussion. Few of the studies have been replicated and applied across various age groups. A key limitation of these studies is that many include laboratory and time-intensive measures. Future research is needed to refine a time and cost efficient divided attention assessment paradigm, and more work is needed in younger (pre-teens) populations where the application may be of greatest utility.

  16. Effects of an attention demanding task on dynamic stability during treadmill walking

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Troy Karen L

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background People exhibit increased difficulty balancing when they perform secondary attention-distracting tasks while walking. However, a previous study by Grabiner and Troy (J. Neuroengineering Rehabil., 2005 found that young healthy subjects performing a concurrent Stroop task while walking on a motorized treadmill exhibited decreased step width variability. However, measures of variability do not directly quantify how a system responds to perturbations. This study re-analyzed data from Grabiner and Troy 2005 to determine if performing the concurrent Stroop task directly affected the dynamic stability of walking in these same subjects. Methods Thirteen healthy volunteers walked on a motorized treadmill at their self-selected constant speed for 10 minutes both while performing the Stroop test and during undisturbed walking. This Stroop test consisted of projecting images of the name of one color, printed in text of a different color, onto a wall and asking subjects to verbally identify the color of the text. Three-dimensional motions of a marker attached to the base of the neck (C5/T1 were recorded. Marker velocities were calculated over 3 equal intervals of 200 sec each in each direction. Mean variability was calculated for each time series as the average standard deviation across all strides. Both "local" and "orbital" dynamic stability were quantified for each time series using previously established methods. These measures directly quantify how quickly small perturbations grow or decay, either continuously in real time (local or discretely from one cycle to the next (orbital. Differences between Stroop and Control trials were evaluated using a 2-factor repeated measures ANOVA. Results Mean variability of trunk movements was significantly reduced during the Stroop tests compared to normal walking. Conversely, local and orbital stability results were mixed: some measures showed slight increases, while others showed slight decreases

  17. The effect of sleep deprivation on BOLD activity elicited by a divided attention task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Melinda L; Hughes, Matthew E; Croft, Rodney J; Howard, Mark E; Crewther, David; Kennedy, Gerard A; Owens, Katherine; Pierce, Rob J; O'Donoghue, Fergal J; Johnston, Patrick

    2011-06-01

    Sleep loss, widespread in today's society and associated with a number of clinical conditions, has a detrimental effect on a variety of cognitive domains including attention. This study examined the sequelae of sleep deprivation upon BOLD fMRI activation during divided attention. Twelve healthy males completed two randomized sessions; one after 27 h of sleep deprivation and one after a normal night of sleep. During each session, BOLD fMRI was measured while subjects completed a cross-modal divided attention task (visual and auditory). After normal sleep, increased BOLD activation was observed bilaterally in the superior frontal gyrus and the inferior parietal lobe during divided attention performance. Subjects reported feeling significantly more sleepy in the sleep deprivation session, and there was a trend towards poorer divided attention task performance. Sleep deprivation led to a down regulation of activation in the left superior frontal gyrus, possibly reflecting an attenuation of top-down control mechanisms on the attentional system. These findings have implications for understanding the neural correlates of divided attention and the neurofunctional changes that occur in individuals who are sleep deprived.

  18. Functional mobility in a divided attention task in older adults with cognitive impairment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borges, Sheila de Melo; Radanovic, Márcia; Forlenza, Orestes Vicente

    2015-01-01

    Motor disorders may occur in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and at early stages of Alzheimer's disease (AD), particularly under divided attention conditions. We examined functional mobility in 104 older adults (42 with MCI, 26 with mild AD, and 36 cognitively healthy) using the Timed Up and Go test (TUG) under 4 experimental conditions: TUG single task, TUG plus a cognitive task, TUG plus a manual task, and TUG plus a cognitive and a manual task. Statistically significant differences in mean time of execution were found in all four experimental conditions when comparing MCI and controls (p .8, p .7, p < .001 for MCI vs. AD). The authors conclude that functional motor deficits occurring in MCI can be assessed by the TUG test, in single or dual task modality.

  19. Weak surround suppression of the attentional focus characterizes visual selection in the ventral stream in autism

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    Luca Ronconi

    Full Text Available Neurophysiological findings in the typical population demonstrate that spatial scrutiny for visual selection determines a center-surround profile of the attentional focus, which is the result of recurrent processing in the visual system. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD manifest several anomalies in their visual selection, with strengths in detail-oriented tasks, but also difficulties in distractor inhibition tasks. Here, we asked whether contradictory aspects of perception in ASD might be due to a different center-surround profile of their attentional focus. In two experiments, we tested two independent samples of children with ASD, comparing them with typically developing (TD peers. In Experiment 1, we used a psychophysical task that mapped the entire spatial profile of the attentional focus. In Experiment 2, we used dense-array electroencephalography (EEG to explore its neurophysiological underpinnings. Experiment 1 results showed that the suppression, surrounding the attentional focus, was markedly reduced in children with ASD. Experiment 2 showed that the center-surround profile in TD children resulted in a modulation of the posterior N2 ERP component, with cortical sources in the lateral-occipital and medial/inferior temporal areas. In contrast, children with ASD did not show modulation of the N2 and related activations in the ventral visual stream. Furthermore, behavioural and neurophysiological measures of weaker suppression predicted more severe autistic symptomatology. The present findings, showing an altered center-surround profile during attentional selection, give an important insight to understand superior visual processing in autism as well as the experiencing of sensory overload. Keywords: EEG, Source analysis, Ventral visual stream, Perception, Rehabilitation

  20. Effects of selective attention on continuous opinions and discrete decisions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Si, Xia-Meng; Liu, Yun; Xiong, Fei; Zhang, Yan-Chao; Ding, Fei; Cheng, Hui

    2010-09-01

    Selective attention describes that individuals have a preference on information according to their involving motivation. Based on achievements of social psychology, we propose an opinion interacting model to improve the modeling of individuals’ interacting behaviors. There are two parameters governing the probability of agents interacting with opponents, i.e. individual relevance and time-openness. It is found that, large individual relevance and large time-openness advance the appearance of large clusters, but large individual relevance and small time-openness favor the lessening of extremism. We also put this new model into application to work out some factor leading to a successful product. Numerical simulations show that selective attention, especially individual relevance, cannot be ignored by launcher firms and information spreaders so as to attain the most successful promotion.

  1. Effects of Attentional Focus and Age on Suprapostural Task Performance and Postural Control

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNevin, Nancy; Weir, Patricia; Quinn, Tiffany

    2013-01-01

    Purpose: Suprapostural task performance (manual tracking) and postural control (sway and frequency) were examined as a function of attentional focus, age, and tracking difficulty. Given the performance benefits often found under external focus conditions, it was hypothesized that external focus instructions would promote superior tracking and…

  2. Priming T2 in a Visual and Auditory Attentional Blink Task

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Burg, E. van der; Olivers, C.N.L.; Bronkhorst, A.W.; Theeuwes, J.

    2008-01-01

    Participants performed an attentional blink (AB) task including digits as targets and letters as distractors within the visual and auditory domains. Prior to the rapid serial visual presentation, a visual or auditory prime was presented in the form of a digit that was identical to the second target

  3. Attentional Sensitization of Unconscious Cognition: Task Sets Modulate Subsequent Masked Semantic Priming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiefer, Markus; Martens, Ulla

    2010-01-01

    According to classical theories, automatic processes are autonomous and independent of higher level cognitive influence. In contrast, the authors propose that automatic processing depends on attentional sensitization of task-congruent processing pathways. In 3 experiments, the authors tested this hypothesis with a modified masked semantic priming…

  4. Attention, gaze shifting, and dual-task interference from phonological encoding in spoken word planning

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Roelofs, A.P.A.

    2008-01-01

    Controversy exists about whether dual-task interference from word planning reflects structural bottleneck or attentional control factors. Here, participants named pictures whose names could or could not be phonologically prepared. and they manually responded to arrows presented away from (Experiment

  5. Attention-based Memory Selection Recurrent Network for Language Modeling

    OpenAIRE

    Liu, Da-Rong; Chuang, Shun-Po; Lee, Hung-yi

    2016-01-01

    Recurrent neural networks (RNNs) have achieved great success in language modeling. However, since the RNNs have fixed size of memory, their memory cannot store all the information about the words it have seen before in the sentence, and thus the useful long-term information may be ignored when predicting the next words. In this paper, we propose Attention-based Memory Selection Recurrent Network (AMSRN), in which the model can review the information stored in the memory at each previous time ...

  6. Benefit salience and consumers' selective attention to product features

    OpenAIRE

    Ratneshwar, S; Warlop, Luk; Mick, DG; Seeger, G

    1997-01-01

    Although attention is a key construct in models of marketing communication and consumer choice, its selective nature has rarely been examined in common time-pressured conditions. We focus on the role of benefit salience, that is, the readiness with which particular benefits are brought to mind by consumers in relation to a given product category. Study I demonstrated that when product feature information was presented rapidly, individuals for whom the benefit of personalised customer service ...

  7. Mindfulness Training Improves Attentional Task Performance in Incarcerated Youth: A Group Randomized Controlled Intervention Trial

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Noelle R Leonard

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available We investigated the impact of cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness training (CBT/MT on attentional task performance in incarcerated adolescents. Attention is a cognitive system necessary for managing cognitive demands and regulating emotions. Yet persistent and intensive demands, such as those experienced during high-stress intervals like incarceration and the events leading to incarceration, may deplete attention resulting in cognitive failures, emotional disturbances, and impulsive behavior. We hypothesized that CBT/MT may mitigate these deleterious effects of high stress and protect against degradation in attention over the high-stress interval of incarceration. Using a group randomized controlled trial design, we randomly assigned dormitories of incarcerated youth, ages 16 to 18, to a CBT/MT intervention (youth n = 147 or an active control intervention (youth n = 117. Both arms received approximately 750 minutes of intervention in a small-group setting over a 3-5 week period. Youth in the CBT/MT arm also logged the amount of out-of-session time spent practicing MT exercises. The Attention Network Test was used to index attentional task performance at baseline and 4 months post-baseline. Overall, task performance degraded over time in all participants. The magnitude of performance degradation was significantly less in the CBT/MT vs. control arm. Further, within the CBT/MT arm, performance degraded over time in those with no outside-of-class practice time, but remained stable over time in those who practiced mindfulness exercises outside of the session meetings. Thus, these findings suggest that sufficient CBT/MT practice may protect against functional attentional impairments associated with high-stress intervals. Keywords: adolescent development, incarcerated adolescents, detained adolescents, stress, attention, mindfulness meditation.

  8. Behind the scenes: how visual memory load biases selective attention during processing of visual streams.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klaver, Peter; Talsma, Durk

    2013-11-01

    We recorded ERPs to investigate whether the visual memory load can bias visual selective attention. Participants memorized one or four letters and then responded to memory-matching letters presented in a relevant color while ignoring distractor letters or letters in an irrelevant color. Stimuli in the relevant color elicited larger frontal selection positivities (FSP) and occipital selection negativities (OSN) compared to irrelevant color stimuli. Only distractors elicited a larger FSP in the high than in the low memory load task. Memory load prolonged the OSN for all letters. Response mapping complexity was also modulated but did not affect the FSP and OSN. Together, the FSP data suggest that high memory load increased distractability. The OSN data suggest that memory load sustained attention to letters in a relevant color until working memory processing was completed, independently of whether the letters were in working memory or not. Copyright © 2013 Society for Psychophysiological Research.

  9. Game-based training of flexibility and attention improves task-switch performance: near and far transfer of cognitive training in an EEG study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olfers, Kerwin J F; Band, Guido P H

    2018-01-01

    There is a demand for ways to enhance cognitive flexibility, as it can be a limiting factor for performance in daily life. Video game training has been linked to advantages in cognitive functioning, raising the question if training with video games can promote cognitive flexibility. In the current study, we investigated if game-based computerized cognitive training (GCCT) could enhance cognitive flexibility in a healthy young adult sample (N = 72), as measured by task-switch performance. Three GCCT schedules were contrasted, which targeted: (1) cognitive flexibility and task switching, (2) attention and working memory, or (3) an active control involving basic math games, in twenty 45-min sessions across 4-6 weeks. Performance on an alternating-runs task-switch paradigm during pretest and posttest sessions indicated greater overall reaction time improvements after both flexibility and attention training as compared to control, although not related to local switch cost. Flexibility training enhanced performance in the presence of distractor-related interference. In contrast, attention training was beneficial when low task difficulty undermined sustained selective attention. Furthermore, flexibility training improved response selection as indicated by a larger N2 amplitude after training as compared to control, and more efficient conflict monitoring as indicated by reduced Nc/CRN and larger Pe amplitude after training. These results provide tentative support for the efficacy of GCCT and suggest that an ideal training might include both task switching and attention components, with maximal task diversity both within and between training games.

  10. Effects of emotion regulation strategies on smoking craving, attentional bias, and task persistence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Szasz, Paul Lucian; Szentagotai, Aurora; Hofmann, Stefan G

    2012-05-01

    The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of different strategies for regulating emotions associated with smoking on subjective, cognitive, and behavioral correlates of smoking. Emotion regulation was manipulated by instructing participants to reappraise (n = 32), accept (n = 31), or suppress (n = 31) their emotions associated with smoking. The dependent measures included subjective reports of craving, negative affect, and attentional biases, as measured by a modified dot-probe task, and persistence during a task to measure distress tolerance. Individuals who were encouraged to reappraise the consequences of smoking showed diminished craving, lower negative affect, had reduced attentional biases for smoking-related cues, and exhibited greater task persistence than those who were instructed to accept and suppress their urge to smoke. These findings suggest that reappraisal techniques are more effective than acceptance or suppression strategies for targeting smoking-related problems. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  11. Attentional Demands of Balance Under Dual Task Conditions in Young Adults

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Monire Nobahar Ahari

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Objectives: The aim of this study was to identify the role of attentional process in postural control using choice reaction time task while changing the visual and proprioceptive cues under difficult balance task (standing on one-leg. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted by participating 20 young people (22.75±2.29. Each subject performed one-leg standing as balance task for each of the following 2 test conditions: free balance position (single task, and balancing while performing secondary cognitive task (choice reaction time task. Each test was carried out for each of the following 3 sensory conditions: on hard surface with open eyes, on hard surface with closed eyes and on foam surface with closed eyes. One way ANOVA was used for analysis. Results: Analyses of the task conditions didn’t show significant difference between single and dual task under two sensory conditions, in open and in closed eye on hard surface (P>0.05, but there was significant difference between single and dual tasks on soft foam with closed eyes [t(19=-2.391, P=0.027]. Discussion: Findings revealed that significant difference in balance performance of individuals under three different sensory conditions caused by reduction in base of support and this effect can be seen in dual task condition as well. Therefore it can be concluded that the nature of the primary task have the most influence on balance performance and this is not the effect of dual task condition.

  12. Global dynamics of selective attention and its lapses in primary auditory cortex.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lakatos, Peter; Barczak, Annamaria; Neymotin, Samuel A; McGinnis, Tammy; Ross, Deborah; Javitt, Daniel C; O'Connell, Monica Noelle

    2016-12-01

    Previous research demonstrated that while selectively attending to relevant aspects of the external world, the brain extracts pertinent information by aligning its neuronal oscillations to key time points of stimuli or their sampling by sensory organs. This alignment mechanism is termed oscillatory entrainment. We investigated the global, long-timescale dynamics of this mechanism in the primary auditory cortex of nonhuman primates, and hypothesized that lapses of entrainment would correspond to lapses of attention. By examining electrophysiological and behavioral measures, we observed that besides the lack of entrainment by external stimuli, attentional lapses were also characterized by high-amplitude alpha oscillations, with alpha frequency structuring of neuronal ensemble and single-unit operations. Entrainment and alpha-oscillation-dominated periods were strongly anticorrelated and fluctuated rhythmically at an ultra-slow rate. Our results indicate that these two distinct brain states represent externally versus internally oriented computational resources engaged by large-scale task-positive and task-negative functional networks.

  13. Narcissism dimensions differentially moderate selective attention to evaluative stimuli in incarcerated offenders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krusemark, Elizabeth A; Lee, Christopher; Newman, Joseph P

    2015-01-01

    Narcissistic personality disorder is associated with distinguishing traits including self-enhancement, arrogance, and intense reactivity to ego threat. Theoretical accounts of narcissism suggest these heterogeneous behaviors reflect a defensive motivational style that functions to both uphold and protect the self-concept. However, the notion that narcissism can be characterized by grandiose and vulnerable dimensions raises the possibility that these diverse behaviors represent distinct expressions of narcissistic defensiveness. The present study examined whether both dimensions exhibit a general defensive style marked by selective attention to evaluative stimuli or are differentially associated with selective attention to positive and negative information, respectively. Using a dot probe task consisting of valenced and neutral trait adjectives, we evaluated these hypotheses in a group of male offenders. Results indicated that vulnerable narcissism was associated with attention biases for both positive and negative stimuli, though the dimension was further distinguished by disengagement difficulties and a greater recognition memory bias in response to negative words. Conversely, grandiose narcissism was associated with increased accuracy when attending to positive stimuli and directing attention away from negative stimuli. Overall, these findings suggest narcissistic individuals share motivated selective attention in response to evaluative stimuli, while simultaneously highlighting important phenotypic differences between grandiose and vulnerable dimensions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).

  14. Auditory-Cortex Short-Term Plasticity Induced by Selective Attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jääskeläinen, Iiro P.; Ahveninen, Jyrki

    2014-01-01

    The ability to concentrate on relevant sounds in the acoustic environment is crucial for everyday function and communication. Converging lines of evidence suggests that transient functional changes in auditory-cortex neurons, “short-term plasticity”, might explain this fundamental function. Under conditions of strongly focused attention, enhanced processing of attended sounds can take place at very early latencies (~50 ms from sound onset) in primary auditory cortex and possibly even at earlier latencies in subcortical structures. More robust selective-attention short-term plasticity is manifested as modulation of responses peaking at ~100 ms from sound onset in functionally specialized nonprimary auditory-cortical areas by way of stimulus-specific reshaping of neuronal receptive fields that supports filtering of selectively attended sound features from task-irrelevant ones. Such effects have been shown to take effect in ~seconds following shifting of attentional focus. There are findings suggesting that the reshaping of neuronal receptive fields is even stronger at longer auditory-cortex response latencies (~300 ms from sound onset). These longer-latency short-term plasticity effects seem to build up more gradually, within tens of seconds after shifting the focus of attention. Importantly, some of the auditory-cortical short-term plasticity effects observed during selective attention predict enhancements in behaviorally measured sound discrimination performance. PMID:24551458

  15. A dissociation between selective attention and conscious awareness in the representation of temporal order information.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eimer, Martin; Grubert, Anna

    2015-09-01

    Previous electrophysiological studies have shown that attentional selection processes are highly sensitive to the temporal order of task-relevant visual events. When two successively presented colour-defined target stimuli are separated by a stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) of only 10 ms, the onset latencies of N2pc components to these stimuli (which reflect their attentional selection) precisely match their objective temporal separation. We tested whether such small onset differences are accessible to conscious awareness by instructing participants to report the category (letter or digit) of the first of two target-colour items that were separated by an SOA of 10, 20, or 30 ms. Performance was at chance level for the 10 ms SOA, demonstrating that temporal order information which is available to attentional control processes cannot be utilized for conscious temporal order judgments. These results provide new evidence that selective attention and conscious awareness are functionally separable, and support the hypothesis that attention and awareness operate at different stages of cognitive processing. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Auditory Attention and Comprehension During a Simulated Night Shift: Effects of Task Characteristics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pilcher, June J; Jennings, Kristen S; Phillips, Ginger E; McCubbin, James A

    2016-11-01

    The current study investigated performance on a dual auditory task during a simulated night shift. Night shifts and sleep deprivation negatively affect performance on vigilance-based tasks, but less is known about the effects on complex tasks. Because language processing is necessary for successful work performance, it is important to understand how it is affected by night work and sleep deprivation. Sixty-two participants completed a simulated night shift resulting in 28 hr of total sleep deprivation. Performance on a vigilance task and a dual auditory language task was examined across four testing sessions. The results indicate that working at night negatively impacts vigilance, auditory attention, and comprehension. The effects on the auditory task varied based on the content of the auditory material. When the material was interesting and easy, the participants performed better. Night work had a greater negative effect when the auditory material was less interesting and more difficult. These findings support research that vigilance decreases during the night. The results suggest that auditory comprehension suffers when individuals are required to work at night. Maintaining attention and controlling effort especially on passages that are less interesting or more difficult could improve performance during night shifts. The results from the current study apply to many work environments where decision making is necessary in response to complex auditory information. Better predicting the effects of night work on language processing is important for developing improved means of coping with shiftwork. © 2016, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

  17. Functional localization of a "Time Keeper" function separate from attentional resources and task strategy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tracy, J I; Faro, S H; Mohamed, F B; Pinsk, M; Pinus, A

    2000-03-01

    The functional neuroanatomy of time estimation has not been well-documented. This research investigated the fMRI measured brain response to an explicit, prospective time interval production (TIP) task. The study tested for the presence of brain activity reflecting a primary time keeper function, distinct from the brain systems involved either in conscious strategies to monitor time or attentional resource and other cognitive processes to accomplish the task. In the TIP task participants were given a time interval and asked to indicate when it elapsed. Two control tasks (counting forwards, backwards) were administered, in addition to a dual task format of the TIP task. Whole brain images were collected at 1.5 Tesla. Analyses (n = 6) yielded a statistical parametric map (SPM ¿z¿) reflecting time keeping and not strategy (counting, number manipulation) or attention resource utilization. Additional SPM ¿z¿s involving activation associated with the accuracy and magnitude the of time estimation response are presented. Results revealed lateral cerebellar and inferior temporal lobe activation were associated with primary time keeping. Behavioral data provided evidence that the procedures for the explicit time judgements did not occur automatically and utilized controlled processes. Activation sites associated with accuracy, magnitude, and the dual task provided indications of the other structures involved in time estimation that implemented task components related to controlled processing. The data are consistent with prior proposals that the cerebellum is a repository of codes for time processing, but also implicate temporal lobe structures for this type of time estimation task. Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

  18. Cholinergic enhancement modulates neural correlates of selective attention and emotional processing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bentley, Paul; Vuilleumier, Patrik; Thiel, Christiane M; Driver, Jon; Dolan, Raymond J

    2003-09-01

    Neocortical cholinergic afferents are proposed to influence both selective attention and emotional processing. In a study of healthy adults we used event-related fMRI while orthogonally manipulating attention and emotionality to examine regions showing effects of cholinergic modulation by the anticholinesterase physostigmine. Either face or house pictures appeared at task-relevant locations, with the alternative picture type at irrelevant locations. Faces had either neutral or fearful expressions. Physostigmine increased relative activity within the anterior fusiform gyrus for faces at attended, versus unattended, locations, but decreased relative activity within the posterolateral occipital cortex for houses in attended, versus unattended, locations. A similar pattern of regional differences in the effect of physostigmine on cue-evoked responses was also present in the absence of stimuli. Cholinergic enhancement augmented the relative neuronal response within the middle fusiform gyrus to fearful faces, whether at attended or unattended locations. By contrast, physostigmine influenced responses in the orbitofrontal, intraparietal and cingulate cortices to fearful faces when faces occupied task-irrelevant locations. These findings suggest that acetylcholine may modulate both selective attention and emotional processes through independent, region-specific effects within the extrastriate cortex. Furthermore, cholinergic inputs to the frontoparietal cortex may influence the allocation of attention to emotional information.

  19. Differential effects of a visuospatial attention task on measures of postural control in young and older adults.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, Jeffrey J; Keenan, Kevin G

    2018-02-01

    The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of a visuospatial attention task on three measures of postural control in young and older adults. 20 young (19-36  years) and 20 older (67-91 years) adults performed a choice stepping response time (CSRT) task, a submaximal dorsiflexion force steadiness task, and quiet standing in 3 bilateral stances. All tasks were performed with and without a visuospatial (VS) attention task that involved visualizing a star moving within a 2 × 2 grid. CSRT increased with the addition of the VS task in both groups (p   .084). The findings suggest that visuospatial attention differentially affects postural control in young and older adults and the effect is task-specific. These findings suggest the need to include stepping and force control tasks to further determine what role visuospatial attention plays in postural control. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  20. CHARACTERIZATION OF THE EFFECTS OF INHALED PERCHLOROETHYLENE ON SUSTAINED ATTENTION IN RATS PERFORMING A VISUAL SIGNAL DETECTION TASK

    Science.gov (United States)

    The aliphatic hydrocarbon perchloroethyelene (PCE) has been associated with neurobehavioral dysfunction including reduced attention in humans. The current study sought to assess the effects of inhaled PCE on sustained attention in rats performing a visual signal detection task (S...

  1. Achieving a hybrid brain-computer interface with tactile selective attention and motor imagery

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahn, Sangtae; Ahn, Minkyu; Cho, Hohyun; Jun, Sung Chan

    2014-12-01

    Objective. We propose a new hybrid brain-computer interface (BCI) system that integrates two different EEG tasks: tactile selective attention (TSA) using a vibro-tactile stimulator on the left/right finger and motor imagery (MI) of left/right hand movement. Event-related desynchronization (ERD) from the MI task and steady-state somatosensory evoked potential (SSSEP) from the TSA task are retrieved and combined into two hybrid senses. Approach. One hybrid approach is to measure two tasks simultaneously; the features of each task are combined for testing. Another hybrid approach is to measure two tasks consecutively (TSA first and MI next) using only MI features. For comparison with the hybrid approaches, the TSA and MI tasks are measured independently. Main results. Using a total of 16 subject datasets, we analyzed the BCI classification performance for MI, TSA and two hybrid approaches in a comparative manner; we found that the consecutive hybrid approach outperformed the others, yielding about a 10% improvement in classification accuracy relative to MI alone. It is understood that TSA may play a crucial role as a prestimulus in that it helps to generate earlier ERD prior to MI and thus sustains ERD longer and to a stronger degree; this ERD may give more discriminative information than ERD in MI alone. Significance. Overall, our proposed consecutive hybrid approach is very promising for the development of advanced BCI systems.

  2. Role of the right inferior parietal cortex in auditory selective attention: An rTMS study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bareham, Corinne A; Georgieva, Stanimira D; Kamke, Marc R; Lloyd, David; Bekinschtein, Tristan A; Mattingley, Jason B

    2018-02-01

    Selective attention is the process of directing limited capacity resources to behaviourally relevant stimuli while ignoring competing stimuli that are currently irrelevant. Studies in healthy human participants and in individuals with focal brain lesions have suggested that the right parietal cortex is crucial for resolving competition for attention. Following right-hemisphere damage, for example, patients may have difficulty reporting a brief, left-sided stimulus if it occurs with a competitor on the right, even though the same left stimulus is reported normally when it occurs alone. Such "extinction" of contralesional stimuli has been documented for all the major sense modalities, but it remains unclear whether its occurrence reflects involvement of one or more specific subregions of the temporo-parietal cortex. Here we employed repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the right hemisphere to examine the effect of disruption of two candidate regions - the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) and the superior temporal gyrus (STG) - on auditory selective attention. Eighteen neurologically normal, right-handed participants performed an auditory task, in which they had to detect target digits presented within simultaneous dichotic streams of spoken distractor letters in the left and right channels, both before and after 20 min of 1 Hz rTMS over the SMG, STG or a somatosensory control site (S1). Across blocks, participants were asked to report on auditory streams in the left, right, or both channels, which yielded focused and divided attention conditions. Performance was unchanged for the two focused attention conditions, regardless of stimulation site, but was selectively impaired for contralateral left-sided targets in the divided attention condition following stimulation of the right SMG, but not the STG or S1. Our findings suggest a causal role for the right inferior parietal cortex in auditory selective attention. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights

  3. Age-related decline in bottom-up processing and selective attention in the very old.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhuravleva, Tatyana Y; Alperin, Brittany R; Haring, Anna E; Rentz, Dorene M; Holcomb, Philip J; Daffner, Kirk R

    2014-06-01

    Previous research demonstrating age-related deficits in selective attention have not included old-old adults, an increasingly important group to study. The current investigation compared event-related potentials in 15 young-old (65-79 years old) and 23 old-old (80-99 years old) subjects during a color-selective attention task. Subjects responded to target letters in a specified color (Attend) while ignoring letters in a different color (Ignore) under both low and high loads. There were no group differences in visual acuity, accuracy, reaction time, or latency of early event-related potential components. The old-old group showed a disruption in bottom-up processing, indexed by a substantially diminished posterior N1 (smaller amplitude). They also demonstrated markedly decreased modulation of bottom-up processing based on selected visual features, indexed by the posterior selection negativity (SN), with similar attenuation under both loads. In contrast, there were no group differences in frontally mediated attentional selection, measured by the anterior selection positivity (SP). There was a robust inverse relationship between the size of the SN and SP (the smaller the SN, the larger the SP), which may represent an anteriorly supported compensatory mechanism. In the absence of a decline in top-down modulation indexed by the SP, the diminished SN may reflect age-related degradation of early bottom-up visual processing in old-old adults.

  4. Bayesian accounts of covert selective attention: A tutorial review.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vincent, Benjamin T

    2015-05-01

    Decision making and optimal observer models offer an important theoretical approach to the study of covert selective attention. While their probabilistic formulation allows quantitative comparison to human performance, the models can be complex and their insights are not always immediately apparent. Part 1 establishes the theoretical appeal of the Bayesian approach, and introduces the way in which probabilistic approaches can be applied to covert search paradigms. Part 2 presents novel formulations of Bayesian models of 4 important covert attention paradigms, illustrating optimal observer predictions over a range of experimental manipulations. Graphical model notation is used to present models in an accessible way and Supplementary Code is provided to help bridge the gap between model theory and practical implementation. Part 3 reviews a large body of empirical and modelling evidence showing that many experimental phenomena in the domain of covert selective attention are a set of by-products. These effects emerge as the result of observers conducting Bayesian inference with noisy sensory observations, prior expectations, and knowledge of the generative structure of the stimulus environment.

  5. Predictive distractor context facilitates attentional selection of high, but not intermediate and low, salience targets.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Töllner, Thomas; Conci, Markus; Müller, Hermann J

    2015-03-01

    It is well established that we can focally attend to a specific region in visual space without shifting our eyes, so as to extract action-relevant sensory information from covertly attended locations. The underlying mechanisms that determine how fast we engage our attentional spotlight in visual-search scenarios, however, remain controversial. One dominant view advocated by perceptual decision-making models holds that the times taken for focal-attentional selection are mediated by an internal template that biases perceptual coding and selection decisions exclusively through target-defining feature coding. This notion directly predicts that search times remain unaffected whether or not participants can anticipate the upcoming distractor context. Here we tested this hypothesis by employing an illusory-figure localization task that required participants to search for an invariant target amongst a variable distractor context, which gradually changed--either randomly or predictably--as a function of distractor-target similarity. We observed a graded decrease in internal focal-attentional selection times--correlated with external behavioral latencies--for distractor contexts of higher relative to lower similarity to the target. Critically, for low but not intermediate and high distractor-target similarity, these context-driven effects were cortically and behaviorally amplified when participants could reliably predict the type of distractors. This interactive pattern demonstrates that search guidance signals can integrate information about distractor, in addition to target, identities to optimize distractor-target competition for focal-attentional selection. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  6. Mazindol attenuates ketamine-induced cognitive deficit in the attentional set shifting task in rats.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nikiforuk, Agnieszka; Gołembiowska, Krystyna; Popik, Piotr

    2010-01-01

    Cognitive impairments associated with schizophrenia await an effective treatment. In order to model schizophrenia-like cognitive deficits in rats, we evaluated the effects of ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic NMDA/glutamate receptor channel blocker in the attentional set-shifting task (ASST). Acute administration of ketamine (10 but not 3mg/kg) selectively impaired solving of the extradimensional (ED) set-shifting component. Next, we investigated whether the co-administration of mazindol, a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor would protect rats from ketamine-induced deficits. Mazindol dose-dependently and selectively alleviated ketamine-induced ED deficit with a minimal effective dose of 0.5mg/kg. The ED component improvement was noted primarily in ketamine - but not in vehicle co-treated rats, in which the drug facilitated ED shift solving at the dose as high as 5mg/kg. A "positive control", sertindole (2.5mg/kg) also ameliorated ketamine-induced ED deficit. Microdialysis of the prefrontal cortex in a separate group of animals revealed that 2-3h after the administration of 5mg/kg of mazindol and ketamine (i.e., at the time of ED component solving), the extracellular concentrations of dopamine were enhanced by ~300% as compared to the baseline and were intermediate between the mazindol- and ketamine-treated reference groups. However, at that time the levels of norepinephrine, serotonin and glutamate appeared unaffected. We conclude that ketamine may be useful in mimicking deficits specifically related to cognitive inflexibility observed in schizophrenia, and suggest that these anomalies could be ameliorated by mazindol. The beneficial effects of mazindol on ASST performance may have therapeutic implications for the treatment of schizophrenia.

  7. Neural Correlates of Expert Behavior During a Domain-Specific Attentional Cueing Task in Badminton Players.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Chun-Hao; Tu, Kuo-Cheng

    2017-06-01

    The present study aimed to investigate the neural correlates associated with sports expertise during a domain-specific task in badminton players. We compared event-related potentials activity from collegiate male badminton players and a set of matched athletic controls when they performed a badminton-specific attentional cueing task in which the uncertainty and validity were manipulated. The data showed that, regardless of cue type, the badminton players had faster responses along with greater P3 amplitudes than the athletic controls on the task. Specifically, the contingent negative variation amplitude was smaller for the players than for the controls in the condition involving higher uncertainty. Such an effect, however, was absent in the condition with lower uncertainty. We conclude that expertise in sports is associated with proficient modulation of brain activity during cognitive and motor preparation, as well as response execution, when performing a task related to an individual's specific sport domain.

  8. Parietal theta burst TMS: Functional fractionation observed during bistable perception not evident in attention tasks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schauer, Georg; Kanai, Ryota; Brascamp, Jan W

    2016-02-01

    When visual input is ambiguous, perception spontaneously alternates between interpretations: bistable perception. Studies have identified two distinct sites near the right intraparietal sulcus where inhibitory transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) affects the frequency of occurrence of these alternations, but strikingly with opposite directions of effect for the two sites. Lesion and TMS studies on spatial and sustained attention have also indicated a parcellation of right parietal cortex, into areas serving distinct attentional functions. We used the exact TMS procedure previously employed to affect bistable perception, yet measured its effect on spatial and sustained attention tasks. Although there was a trend for TMS to affect performance, trends were consistently similar for both parietal sites, with no indication of opposite effects. We interpret this as signifying that the previously observed parietal fractionation of function regarding the perception of ambiguous stimuli is not due to TMS-induced modification of spatial or sustained attention. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  9. Theory of Visual Attention (TVA) applied to mice in the 5-choice serial reaction time task

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fitzpatrick, C. M.; Caballero-Puntiverio, M.; Gether, U.

    2017-01-01

    Rationale The 5-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRTT) is widely used to measure rodent attentional functions. In humans, many attention studies in healthy and clinical populations have used testing based on Bundesen’s Theory of Visual Attention (TVA) to estimate visual processing speeds...... on an individual level. Scopolamine HBr dose-dependently reduced 5-CSRTT attentional performance while also increasing reward collection latency at the highest dose. Upon TVA modelling, scopolamine HBr significantly reduced visual processing speed at both doses, while having less pronounced effects on visual...... modelled using a new three-parameter version of TVA to obtain estimates of visual processing speeds, visual thresholds and motor response baselines in each mouse. Results The parameter estimates for each animal were reliable across sessions, showing that the data were stable enough to support analysis...

  10. Selective attention and control of action: comparative psychology of an artificial, evolved agent and people.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ward, Robert; Ward, Ronnie

    2008-10-01

    This study examined the selective attention abilities of a simple, artificial, evolved agent and considered implications of the agent's performance for theories of selective attention and action. The agent processed two targets in continuous time, catching one and then the other. This task required many cognitive operations, including prioritizing the first target (T1) over the second (T2); selectively focusing responses on T1, while preventing T2 from interfering with responses; creating a memory for the unselected T2 item, so that it could be efficiently processed later; and reallocating processing towards T2 after catching T1. The evolved agent demonstrated all these abilities. Analysis shows that the agent used reactive inhibition to selectively focus behavior. That is, the more salient T2, the more strongly responses towards T2 were inhibited and the slower the agent was to subsequently reallocate processing towards T2. Reactive inhibition was also suggested in two experiments with people, performing a virtually identical catch task. The presence of reactive inhibition in the simple agent and in people suggests that it is an important mechanism for selective processing.

  11. Task-irrelevant novel sounds improve attentional performance in children with and without ADHD

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jana eTegelbeckers

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Task-irrelevant salient stimuli involuntarily capture attention and can lead to distraction from an ongoing task, especially in children with ADHD. However, there has been tentative evidence that the presentation of novel sounds can have beneficial effects on cognitive performance. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the influence of novel sounds compared to no sound and a repeatedly presented standard sound on attentional performance in children and adolescents with and without ADHD. We therefore had 32 patients with ADHD and 32 typically developing children and adolescents (8 to 13 years executed a flanker task in which each trial was preceded either by a repeatedly presented standard sound (33%, an unrepeated novel sound (33% or no auditory stimulation (33%. Task-irrelevant novel sounds facilitated attentional performance similarly in children with and without ADHD, as indicated by reduced omission error rates, reaction times, and reaction time variability without compromising performance accuracy. By contrast, standard sounds, while also reducing omission error rates and reaction times, led to increased commission error rates. Therefore, the beneficial effect of novel sounds exceeds cueing of the target display by potentially increased alerting and/or enhanced behavioral control.

  12. Contingent attentional capture across multiple feature dimensions in a temporal search task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ito, Motohiro; Kawahara, Jun I

    2016-01-01

    The present study examined whether attention can be flexibly controlled to monitor two different feature dimensions (shape and color) in a temporal search task. Specifically, we investigated the occurrence of contingent attentional capture (i.e., interference from task-relevant distractors) and resulting set reconfiguration (i.e., enhancement of single task-relevant set). If observers can restrict searches to a specific value for each relevant feature dimension independently, the capture and reconfiguration effect should only occur when the single relevant distractor in each dimension appears. Participants identified a target letter surrounded by a non-green square or a non-square green frame. The results revealed contingent attentional capture, as target identification accuracy was lower when the distractor contained a target-defining feature than when it contained a nontarget feature. Resulting set reconfiguration was also obtained in that accuracy was superior when the current target's feature (e.g., shape) corresponded to the defining feature of the present distractor (shape) than when the current target's feature did not match the distractor's feature (color). This enhancement was not due to perceptual priming. The present study demonstrated that the principles of contingent attentional capture and resulting set reconfiguration held even when multiple target feature dimensions were monitored. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  13. Investigating the time course of tactile reflexive attention using a non-spatial discrimination task.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miles, Eleanor; Poliakoff, Ellen; Brown, Richard J

    2008-06-01

    Peripheral cues are thought to facilitate responses to stimuli presented at the same location because they lead to exogenous attention shifts. Facilitation has been observed in numerous studies of visual and auditory attention, but there have been only four demonstrations of tactile facilitation, all in studies with potential confounds. Three studies used a spatial (finger versus thumb) discrimination task, where the cue could have provided a spatial framework that might have assisted the discrimination of subsequent targets presented on the same side as the cue. The final study circumvented this problem by using a non-spatial discrimination; however, the cues were informative and interspersed with visual cues which may have affected the attentional effects observed. In the current study, therefore, we used a non-spatial tactile frequency discrimination task following a non-informative tactile white noise cue. When the target was presented 150 ms after the cue, we observed faster discrimination responses to targets presented on the same side compared to the opposite side as the cue; by 1000 ms, responses were significantly faster to targets presented on the opposite side to the cue. Thus, we demonstrated that tactile attentional facilitation can be observed in a non-spatial discrimination task, under unimodal conditions and with entirely non-predictive cues. Furthermore, we provide the first demonstration of significant tactile facilitation and tactile inhibition of return within a single experiment.

  14. Task-selective memory effects for successfully implemented encoding strategies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leshikar, Eric D; Duarte, Audrey; Hertzog, Christopher

    2012-01-01

    Previous behavioral evidence suggests that instructed strategy use benefits associative memory formation in paired associate tasks. Two such effective encoding strategies--visual imagery and sentence generation--facilitate memory through the production of different types of mediators (e.g., mental images and sentences). Neuroimaging evidence suggests that regions of the brain support memory reflecting the mental operations engaged at the time of study. That work, however, has not taken into account self-reported encoding task success (i.e., whether participants successfully generated a mediator). It is unknown, therefore, whether task-selective memory effects specific to each strategy might be found when encoding strategies are successfully implemented. In this experiment, participants studied pairs of abstract nouns under either visual imagery or sentence generation encoding instructions. At the time of study, participants reported their success at generating a mediator. Outside of the scanner, participants further reported the quality of the generated mediator (e.g., images, sentences) for each word pair. We observed task-selective memory effects for visual imagery in the left middle occipital gyrus, the left precuneus, and the lingual gyrus. No such task-selective effects were observed for sentence generation. Intriguingly, activity at the time of study in the left precuneus was modulated by the self-reported quality (vividness) of the generated mental images with greater activity for trials given higher ratings of quality. These data suggest that regions of the brain support memory in accord with the encoding operations engaged at the time of study.

  15. The deployment of intersensory selective attention: a high-density electrical mapping study of the effects of theanine.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gomez-Ramirez, Manuel; Higgins, Beth A; Rycroft, Jane A; Owen, Gail N; Mahoney, Jeannette; Shpaner, Marina; Foxe, John J

    2007-01-01

    : Ingestion of the nonproteinic amino acid theanine (5-N-ethylglutamine) has been shown to increase oscillatory brain activity in the so-called alpha band (8-14 Hz) during resting electroencephalographic recordings in humans. Independently, alpha band activity has been shown to be a key component in selective attentional processes. Here, we set out to assess whether theanine would cause modulation of anticipatory alpha activity during selective attentional deployments to stimuli in different sensory modalities, a paradigm in which robust alpha attention effects have previously been established. : Electrophysiological data from 168 scalp electrode channels were recorded while participants performed a standard intersensory attentional cuing task. : As in previous studies, significantly greater alpha band activity was measured over parieto-occipital scalp for attentional deployments to the auditory modality than to the visual modality. Theanine ingestion resulted in a substantial overall decrease in background alpha levels relative to placebo while subjects were actively performing this demanding attention task. Despite this decrease in background alpha activity, attention-related alpha effects were significantly greater for the theanine condition. : This increase of attention-related anticipatory alpha over the right parieto-occipital scalp suggests that theanine may have a specific effect on the brain's attention circuitry. We conclude that theanine has clear psychoactive properties, and that it represents a potentially interesting, naturally occurring compound for further study, as it relates to the brain's attentional system.

  16. The spectrotemporal filter mechanism of auditory selective attention

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lakatos, Peter; Musacchia, Gabriella; O’Connell, Monica N.; Falchier, Arnaud Y.; Javitt, Daniel C.; Schroeder, Charles E.

    2013-01-01

    SUMMARY While we have convincing evidence that attention to auditory stimuli modulates neuronal responses at or before the level of primary auditory cortex (A1), the underlying physiological mechanisms are unknown. We found that attending to rhythmic auditory streams resulted in the entrainment of ongoing oscillatory activity reflecting rhythmic excitability fluctuations in A1. Strikingly, while the rhythm of the entrained oscillations in A1 neuronal ensembles reflected the temporal structure of the attended stream, the phase depended on the attended frequency content. Counter-phase entrainment across differently tuned A1 regions resulted in both the amplification and sharpening of responses at attended time points, in essence acting as a spectrotemporal filter mechanism. Our data suggest that selective attention generates a dynamically evolving model of attended auditory stimulus streams in the form of modulatory subthreshold oscillations across tonotopically organized neuronal ensembles in A1 that enhances the representation of attended stimuli. PMID:23439126

  17. Attentional reorienting triggers spatial asymmetries in a search task with cross-modal spatial cueing.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rebecca E Paladini

    Full Text Available Cross-modal spatial cueing can affect performance in a visual search task. For example, search performance improves if a visual target and an auditory cue originate from the same spatial location, and it deteriorates if they originate from different locations. Moreover, it has recently been postulated that multisensory settings, i.e., experimental settings, in which critical stimuli are concurrently presented in different sensory modalities (e.g., visual and auditory, may trigger asymmetries in visuospatial attention. Thereby, a facilitation has been observed for visual stimuli presented in the right compared to the left visual space. However, it remains unclear whether auditory cueing of attention differentially affects search performance in the left and the right hemifields in audio-visual search tasks. The present study investigated whether spatial asymmetries would occur in a search task with cross-modal spatial cueing. Participants completed a visual search task that contained no auditory cues (i.e., unimodal visual condition, spatially congruent, spatially incongruent, and spatially non-informative auditory cues. To further assess participants' accuracy in localising the auditory cues, a unimodal auditory spatial localisation task was also administered. The results demonstrated no left/right asymmetries in the unimodal visual search condition. Both an additional incongruent, as well as a spatially non-informative, auditory cue resulted in lateral asymmetries. Thereby, search times were increased for targets presented in the left compared to the right hemifield. No such spatial asymmetry was observed in the congruent condition. However, participants' performance in the congruent condition was modulated by their tone localisation accuracy. The findings of the present study demonstrate that spatial asymmetries in multisensory processing depend on the validity of the cross-modal cues, and occur under specific attentional conditions, i.e., when

  18. Functional neuroimaging of visuospatial working memory tasks enables accurate detection of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rubi Hammer

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Finding neurobiological markers for neurodevelopmental disorders, such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, is a major objective of clinicians and neuroscientists. We examined if functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI data from a few distinct visuospatial working memory (VSWM tasks enables accurately detecting cases with ADHD. We tested 20 boys with ADHD combined type and 20 typically developed (TD boys in four VSWM tasks that differed in feedback availability (feedback, no-feedback and reward size (large, small. We used a multimodal analysis based on brain activity in 16 regions of interest, significantly activated or deactivated in the four VSWM tasks (based on the entire participants' sample. Dimensionality of the data was reduced into 10 principal components that were used as the input variables to a logistic regression classifier. fMRI data from the four VSWM tasks enabled a classification accuracy of 92.5%, with high predicted ADHD probability values for most clinical cases, and low predicted ADHD probabilities for most TDs. This accuracy level was higher than those achieved by using the fMRI data of any single task, or the respective behavioral data. This indicates that task-based fMRI data acquired while participants perform a few distinct VSWM tasks enables improved detection of clinical cases.

  19. Selective attention supports working memory maintenance by modulating perceptual processing of distractors.

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    Sreenivasan, Kartik K; Jha, Amishi P

    2007-01-01

    Selective attention has been shown to bias sensory processing in favor of relevant stimuli and against irrelevant or distracting stimuli in perceptual tasks. Increasing evidence suggests that selective attention plays an important role during working memory maintenance, possibly by biasing sensory processing in favor of to-be-remembered items. In the current study, we investigated whether selective attention may also support working memory by biasing processing against irrelevant and potentially distracting information. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while subjects (n = 22) performed a delayed-recognition task for faces and shoes. The delay period was filled with face or shoe distractors. Behavioral performance was impaired when distractors were congruent with the working memory domain (e.g., face distractor during working memory for faces) relative to when distractors were incongruent with the working memory domain (e.g., face distractor during shoe working memory). If attentional biasing against distractor processing is indeed functionally relevant in supporting working memory maintenance, perceptual processing of distractors is predicted to be attenuated when distractors are more behaviorally intrusive relative to when they are nonintrusive. As such, we predicted that perceptual processing of distracting faces, as measured by the face-sensitive N170 ERP component, would be reduced in the context of congruent (face) working memory relative to incongruent (shoe) working memory. The N170 elicited by distracting faces demonstrated reduced amplitude during congruent versus incongruent working memory. These results suggest that perceptual processing of distracting faces may be attenuated due to attentional biasing against sensory processing of distractors that are most behaviorally intrusive during working memory maintenance.

  20. Aging effects on selective attention-related electroencephalographic patterns during face encoding.

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    Deiber, M-P; Rodriguez, C; Jaques, D; Missonnier, P; Emch, J; Millet, P; Gold, G; Giannakopoulos, P; Ibañez, V

    2010-11-24

    Previous electrophysiological studies revealed that human faces elicit an early visual event-related potential (ERP) within the occipito-temporal cortex, the N170 component. Although face perception has been proposed to rely on automatic processing, the impact of selective attention on N170 remains controversial both in young and elderly individuals. Using early visual ERP and alpha power analysis, we assessed the influence of aging on selective attention to faces during delayed-recognition tasks for face and letter stimuli, examining 36 elderly and 20 young adults with preserved cognition. Face recognition performance worsened with age. Aging induced a latency delay of the N1 component for faces and letters, as well as of the face N170 component. Contrasting with letters, ignored faces elicited larger N1 and N170 components than attended faces in both age groups. This counterintuitive attention effect on face processing persisted when scenes replaced letters. In contrast with young, elderly subjects failed to suppress irrelevant letters when attending faces. Whereas attended stimuli induced a parietal alpha band desynchronization within 300-1000 ms post-stimulus with bilateral-to-right distribution for faces and left lateralization for letters, ignored and passively viewed stimuli elicited a central alpha synchronization larger on the right hemisphere. Aging delayed the latency of this alpha synchronization for both face and letter stimuli, and reduced its amplitude for ignored letters. These results suggest that due to their social relevance, human faces may cause paradoxical attention effects on early visual ERP components, but they still undergo classical top-down control as a function of endogenous selective attention. Aging does not affect the face bottom-up alerting mechanism but reduces the top-down suppression of distracting letters, possibly impinging upon face recognition, and more generally delays the top-down suppression of task-irrelevant information

  1. Selecting for memory? The influence of selective attention on the mnemonic binding of contextual information.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uncapher, Melina R; Rugg, Michael D

    2009-06-24

    Not all of what is experienced is remembered later. Behavioral evidence suggests that the manner in which an event is processed influences which aspects of the event will later be remembered. The present experiment investigated the neural correlates of "selective encoding," or the mechanisms that support the encoding of some elements of an event in preference to others. Event-related MRI data were acquired while volunteers selectively attended to one of two different contextual features of study items (color or location). A surprise memory test for the items and both contextual features was subsequently administered to determine the influence of selective attention on the neural correlates of contextual encoding. Activity in several cortical regions indexed later memory success selectively for color or location information, and this encoding-related activity was enhanced by selective attention to the relevant feature. Critically, a region in the hippocampus responded selectively to attended source information (whether color or location), demonstrating encoding-related activity for attended but not for nonattended source features. Together, the findings suggest that selective attention modulates the magnitude of activity in cortical regions engaged by different aspects of an event, and hippocampal encoding mechanisms seem to be sensitive to this modulation. Thus, the information that is encoded into a memory representation is biased by selective attention, and this bias is mediated by cortical-hippocampal interactions.

  2. Selecting for memory? The influence of selective attention on the mnemonic binding of contextual information

    Science.gov (United States)

    Uncapher, Melina R.; Rugg, Michael D.

    2009-01-01

    Not all of what is experienced is remembered later. Behavioral evidence suggests that the manner in which an event is processed influences which aspects of the event will later be remembered. The present experiment investigated the neural correlates of ‘selective encoding’, or the mechanisms that support the encoding of some elements of an event in preference to others. Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were acquired while volunteers selectively attended to one of two different contextual features of study items (color or location). A surprise memory test for the items and both contextual features was subsequently administered to determine the influence of selective attention on the neural correlates of contextual encoding. Activity in several cortical regions indexed later memory success selectively for color or location information, and this encoding-related activity was enhanced by selective attention to the relevant feature. Critically, a region in the hippocampus responded selectively to attended source information (whether color or location), demonstrating encoding-related activity for attended but not for nonattended source features. Together, the findings suggest that selective attention modulates the magnitude of activity in cortical regions engaged by different aspects of an event, and hippocampal encoding mechanisms seem to be sensitive to this modulation. Thus, the information that is encoded into a memory representation is biased by selective attention, and this bias is mediated by cortico-hippocampal interactions. PMID:19553466

  3. Cross-modal selective attention: on the difficulty of ignoring sounds at the locus of visual attention.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spence, C; Ranson, J; Driver, J

    2000-02-01

    In three experiments, we investigated whether the ease with which distracting sounds can be ignored depends on their distance from fixation and from attended visual events. In the first experiment, participants shadowed an auditory stream of words presented behind their heads, while simultaneously fixating visual lip-read information consistent with the relevant auditory stream, or meaningless "chewing" lip movements. An irrelevant auditory stream of words, which participants had to ignore, was presented either from the same side as the fixated visual stream or from the opposite side. Selective shadowing was less accurate in the former condition, implying that distracting sounds are harder to ignore when fixated. Furthermore, the impairment when fixating toward distractor sounds was greater when speaking lips were fixated than when chewing lips were fixated, suggesting that people find it particularly difficult to ignore sounds at locations that are actively attended for visual lipreading rather than merely passively fixated. Experiments 2 and 3 tested whether these results are specific to cross-modal links in speech perception by replacing the visual lip movements with a rapidly changing stream of meaningless visual shapes. The auditory task was again shadowing, but the active visual task was now monitoring for a specific visual shape at one location. A decrement in shadowing was again observed when participants passively fixated toward the irrelevant auditory stream. This decrement was larger when participants performed a difficult active visual task there versus fixating, but not for a less demanding visual task versus fixation. The implications for cross-modal links in spatial attention are discussed.

  4. Enhancing Auditory Selective Attention Using a Visually Guided Hearing Aid

    Science.gov (United States)

    2017-01-01

    Purpose Listeners with hearing loss, as well as many listeners with clinically normal hearing, often experience great difficulty segregating talkers in a multiple-talker sound field and selectively attending to the desired “target” talker while ignoring the speech from unwanted “masker” talkers and other sources of sound. This listening situation forms the classic “cocktail party problem” described by Cherry (1953) that has received a great deal of study over the past few decades. In this article, a new approach to improving sound source segregation and enhancing auditory selective attention is described. The conceptual design, current implementation, and results obtained to date are reviewed and discussed in this article. Method This approach, embodied in a prototype “visually guided hearing aid” (VGHA) currently used for research, employs acoustic beamforming steered by eye gaze as a means for improving the ability of listeners to segregate and attend to one sound source in the presence of competing sound sources. Results The results from several studies demonstrate that listeners with normal hearing are able to use an attention-based “spatial filter” operating primarily on binaural cues to selectively attend to one source among competing spatially distributed sources. Furthermore, listeners with sensorineural hearing loss generally are less able to use this spatial filter as effectively as are listeners with normal hearing especially in conditions high in “informational masking.” The VGHA enhances auditory spatial attention for speech-on-speech masking and improves signal-to-noise ratio for conditions high in “energetic masking.” Visual steering of the beamformer supports the coordinated actions of vision and audition in selective attention and facilitates following sound source transitions in complex listening situations. Conclusions Both listeners with normal hearing and with sensorineural hearing loss may benefit from the acoustic

  5. Reward speeds up and increases consistency of visual selective attention: a lifespan comparison.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Störmer, Viola; Eppinger, Ben; Li, Shu-Chen

    2014-06-01

    Children and older adults often show less favorable reward-based learning and decision making, relative to younger adults. It is unknown, however, whether reward-based processes that influence relatively early perceptual and attentional processes show similar lifespan differences. In this study, we investigated whether stimulus-reward associations affect selective visual attention differently across the human lifespan. Children, adolescents, younger adults, and older adults performed a visual search task in which the target colors were associated with either high or low monetary rewards. We discovered that high reward value speeded up response times across all four age groups, indicating that reward modulates attentional selection across the lifespan. This speed-up in response time was largest in younger adults, relative to the other three age groups. Furthermore, only younger adults benefited from high reward value in increasing response consistency (i.e., reduction of trial-by-trial reaction time variability). Our findings suggest that reward-based modulations of relatively early and implicit perceptual and attentional processes are operative across the lifespan, and the effects appear to be greater in adulthood. The age-specific effect of reward on reducing intraindividual response variability in younger adults likely reflects mechanisms underlying the development and aging of reward processing, such as lifespan age differences in the efficacy of dopaminergic modulation. Overall, the present results indicate that reward shapes visual perception across different age groups by biasing attention to motivationally salient events.

  6. Attentional Selection of Feature Conjunctions Is Accomplished by Parallel and Independent Selection of Single Features.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersen, Søren K; Müller, Matthias M; Hillyard, Steven A

    2015-07-08

    Experiments that study feature-based attention have often examined situations in which selection is based on a single feature (e.g., the color red). However, in more complex situations relevant stimuli may not be set apart from other stimuli by a single defining property but by a specific combination of features. Here, we examined sustained attentional selection of stimuli defined by conjunctions of color and orientation. Human observers attended to one out of four concurrently presented superimposed fields of randomly moving horizontal or vertical bars of red or blue color to detect brief intervals of coherent motion. Selective stimulus processing in early visual cortex was assessed by recordings of steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) elicited by each of the flickering fields of stimuli. We directly contrasted attentional selection of single features and feature conjunctions and found that SSVEP amplitudes on conditions in which selection was based on a single feature only (color or orientation) exactly predicted the magnitude of attentional enhancement of SSVEPs when attending to a conjunction of both features. Furthermore, enhanced SSVEP amplitudes elicited by attended stimuli were accompanied by equivalent reductions of SSVEP amplitudes elicited by unattended stimuli in all cases. We conclude that attentional selection of a feature-conjunction stimulus is accomplished by the parallel and independent facilitation of its constituent feature dimensions in early visual cortex. The ability to perceive the world is limited by the brain's processing capacity. Attention