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Atten Percept Psychophys ; 83(7): 3008-3023, 2021 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34355343


Using a novel gradual onset continuous performance task (gradCPT), recent research has uncovered a brain network of the sustained attention ability, demonstrating marked individual differences. Yet much about the cognitive processes that support performance on the gradCPT remains unknown. Here, we tested the importance of response inhibition and perceptual discrimination in the gradCPT. Participants monitored a continuous stream of natural scenes from two categories-cities and mountains-with a 9:1 ratio. In separate task blocks, they responded either to the frequent or the rare, yielding a response rate of either 90% or 10%. Performance was much worse, and declined more significantly over time, when the required response rate was higher. To test the role of stimulus onset, separate task blocks presented the scenes either gradually, with adjacent scenes blending into each other (gradCPT), or abruptly, with a single scene visible at a time (abruptCPT). Despite its increased complexity, the gradCPT yielded better performance than the abruptCPT, contradicting the perceptual complexity hypothesis and suggesting a detrimental role of the automaticity of responses to rhythmic stimuli in sustained attention. Further bolstering the role of response inhibition in the gradCPT, participants with superior inhibitory function, as assessed by the "stop-signal" task, did better on the gradCPT. These findings show that response inhibition contributes to the ability to sustain attention, especially in tasks that require frequent and repetitive responses as in assembly-line jobs.

Atenção , Individualidade , Encéfalo , Humanos , Testes Neuropsicológicos
Psychon Bull Rev ; 2021 Jul 21.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34287766


Under continuous dual-task conditions, participants show better memory for background information appearing at the same time as a response target in a concurrent task than for information appearing with a nontarget (the attentional boost effect, or ABE). While this effect has been demonstrated across a wide range of stimuli, few studies have examined the perceptual specificity of the memory difference. Here, we explored whether the ABE affects general category memory or perceptually specific exemplar memory. In an encoding phase, participants memorized images of objects presented in a continuous stream. At the same time, they pressed the space bar when a square appearing in the center of each image appeared in a target color, ignoring distractor-colored squares. The following four-alternative forced-choice memory test included the previously seen image, a perceptually distinct exemplar from the same category as the previously seen image, and two images from a new category. Regardless of whether images appeared during encoding three times (Experiment 1) or once (Experiment 2), participants recognized the correct exemplar more often during testing for images that had appeared with a target in encoding than for images that had appeared with a distractor. The difference in exemplar memory was not associated with a difference in false memories for within-category foils. This suggests that the ABE reflects modulation of perceptually detailed exemplar memory, which may be related to facilitation of pattern separation by detection-induced changes in cortical-hippocampal connectivity.

Cogn Res Princ Implic ; 6(1): 41, 2021 05 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34046743


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has considerably heightened health and financial concerns for many individuals. Similar concerns, such as those associated with poverty, impair performance on cognitive control tasks. If ongoing concerns about COVID-19 substantially increase the tendency to mind wander in tasks requiring sustained attention, these worries could degrade performance on a wide range of tasks, leading, for example, to increased traffic accidents, diminished educational achievement, and lower workplace productivity. In two pre-registered experiments, we investigated the degree to which young adults' concerns about COVID-19 correlated with their ability to sustain attention. Experiment 1 tested mainly European participants during an early phase of the pandemic. After completing a survey probing COVID-related concerns, participants engaged in a continuous performance task (CPT) over two, 4-min blocks, during which they responded to city scenes that occurred 90% of the time and withheld responses to mountain scenes that occurred 10% of the time. Despite large and stable individual differences, performance on the scene CPT did not significantly correlate with the severity of COVID-related concerns obtained from the survey. Experiment 2 tested US participants during a later phase of the pandemic. Once again, CPT performance did not significantly correlate with COVID concerns expressed in a pre-task survey. However, participants who had more task-unrelated thoughts performed more poorly on the CPT. These findings suggest that although COVID-19 increased anxiety in a broad swath of society, young adults are able to hold these concerns in a latent format, minimizing their impact on performance in a demanding sustained attention task.

Ansiedade/etiologia , Ansiedade/fisiopatologia , Atenção/fisiologia , COVID-19 , Reconhecimento Visual de Modelos/fisiologia , Desempenho Psicomotor/fisiologia , Adulto , Europa (Continente) , Feminino , Humanos , Masculino , Estados Unidos , Adulto Jovem