Attention is Phasic: Deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused

Brief and rare mental ‘breaks’ keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements.

Atsunori Ariga, a, and Alejandro Llerasa
a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States
Received 14 April 2010; revised 5 December 2010; accepted 13 December 2010. Available online 5 January 2011.


Abstract

We newly propose that the vigilance decrement occurs because the cognitive control system fails to maintain active the goal of the vigilance task over prolonged periods of time (goal habituation). Further, we hypothesized that momentarily deactivating this goal (via a switch in tasks) would prevent the activation level of the vigilance goal from ever habituating. We asked observers to perform a visual vigilance task while maintaining digits in-memory. When observers retrieved the digits at the end of the vigilance task, their vigilance performance steeply declined over time. However, when observers were asked to sporadically recollect the digits during the vigilance task, the vigilance decrement was averted. Our results present a direct challenge to the pervasive view that vigilance decrements are due to a depletion of attentional resources and provide a tractable mechanism to prevent this insidious phenomenon in everyday life.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Top Rated

  • العقل السليم في الجسم السليم

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 27 other followers

  • Meta

  • Blog Stats

    • 126,380 hits
%d bloggers like this: