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Brief and rare mental “breaks” keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements

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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.

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... Tutoring describes the process of supporting an individual learner or a group of learners by another person. Collins English Dictionary describes it as "remedial or additional teaching, designed to help people who need extra help with their studies" 6 . So in a broad sense, the term tutoring covers all activities having a student receive additional help in understanding from either another human being or a computer agent. ...
... Doing a break and giving the brain some rest can be beneficial to overcome side e↵ects of concentrated working: fatigue and distraction, which results in errors and eventual frustration. Neuroscience researchers recommend taking a short break after periods of concentrated work [6]. Besides taking a break, we assume that struggling students also regard the break intervention as a motivation to review the course material. ...
... When a user presses the run button in the browser, numerous steps on at least three systems have to be executed in order to present the expected program result. In this general overview, we deliberately abstract from specific implementation details, e.g., details on file copying and subsequent cleanup, in order to establish a comprehensible but solid understanding of the main code execution workflow between the client browser on the user's system, the CodeOcean rails backend on our server and the docker containers, currently running on the same as the backend, shown in Figure 4. 6. Users express their intent to run or test the current status of their source code by pressing the respective run or score button. ...
Thesis
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) open up new opportunities to learn a wide variety of skills online and are thus well suited for individual education, especially where proffcient teachers are not available locally. At the same time, modern society is undergoing a digital transformation, requiring the training of large numbers of current and future employees. Abstract thinking, logical reasoning, and the need to formulate instructions for computers are becoming increasingly relevant. A holistic way to train these skills is to learn how to program. Programming, in addition to being a mental discipline, is also considered a craft, and practical training is required to achieve mastery. In order to effectively convey programming skills in MOOCs, practical exercises are incorporated into the course curriculum to offer students the necessary hands-on experience to reach an in-depth understanding of the programming concepts presented. Our preliminary analysis showed that while being an integral and rewarding part of courses, practical exercises bear the risk of overburdening students who are struggling with conceptual misunderstandings and unknown syntax. In this thesis, we develop, implement, and evaluate different interventions with the aim to improve the learning experience, sustainability, and success of online programming courses. Data from four programming MOOCs, with a total of over 60,000 participants, are employed to determine criteria for practical programming exercises best suited for a given audience. Based on over five million executions and scoring runs from students' task submissions, we deduce exercise difficulties, students' patterns in approaching the exercises, and potential flaws in exercise descriptions as well as preparatory videos. The primary issue in online learning is that students face a social gap caused by their isolated physical situation. Each individual student usually learns alone in front of a computer and suffers from the absence of a pre-determined time structure as provided in traditional school classes. Furthermore, online learning usually presses students into a one-size-fits-all curriculum, which presents the same content to all students, regardless of their individual needs and learning styles. Any means of a personalization of content or individual feedback regarding problems they encounter are mostly ruled out by the discrepancy between the number of learners and the number of instructors. This results in a high demand for self-motivation and determination of MOOC participants. Social distance exists between individual students as well as between students and course instructors. It decreases engagement and poses a threat to learning success. Within this research, we approach the identified issues within MOOCs and suggest scalable technical solutions, improving social interaction and balancing content difficulty. Our contributions include situational interventions, approaches for personalizing educational content as well as concepts for fostering collaborative problem-solving. With these approaches, we reduce counterproductive struggles and create a universal improvement for future programming MOOCs. We evaluate our approaches and methods in detail to improve programming courses for students as well as instructors and to advance the state of knowledge in online education. Data gathered from our experiments show that receiving peer feedback on one's programming problems improves overall course scores by up to 17%. Merely the act of phrasing a question about one's problem improved overall scores by about 14%. The rate of students reaching out for help was significantly improved by situational just-in-time interventions. Request for Comment interventions increased the share of students asking for help by up to 158%. Data from our four MOOCs further provide detailed insight into the learning behavior of students. We outline additional significant findings with regard to student behavior and demographic factors. Our approaches, the technical infrastructure, the numerous educational resources developed, and the data collected provide a solid foundation for future research.
... An example of the vigilance decrement in terms of correct detections from a study of people (see Helton & Russell, 2012) is presented in Figure 1. There are multiple competing theories proposed as explanations for this observed performance decline (Ariga & Lleras, 2011;Helton & Russel, 2015, 2017. Vigilance researchers have mainly, however, studied people, as the issue arose originally in applied work contexts, response of radar operators, and the decrement has been considered a result of poorly designed work conditions (Hancock, 2013). ...
... More recently, Ariga and Lleras (2011) have proposed a new alternative habituation explanation of the vigilance decrement in people: goal habituation. This perspective is different as the habituation does not occur at the sensory level but at a higher cognitive level. ...
Article
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The inability to maintain signal detection performance with time on task, or vigilance decrement, is widely studied in people. Despite suggestions that limitations in sustained attention may be a fundamental characteristic of animal cognition, there has been limited research on the vigilance decrement in other animals. We conducted two experiments to explore vigilance in jumping spiders. Our first experiment established that the vigilance decrement, decline in signal detections with time on task, occurs in these spiders in laboratory settings. Our second experiment tested whether this phenomenon was simply the result of habituation of sensory receptors by employing two dishabituation manipulations. Neither dishabituation manipulation appeared to have an effect. Thus, the vigilance decrement in spiders appears to be due to something more than simply peripheral sensory habituation. We suggest that limitations in sustained attention may be a widespread phenomenon among animals that needs addressing when theorising about the vigilance decrement.
... In response to these theories, Ariga and Lleras (2011) have also proposed an alternative theory of vigilance, referred to as the goal habituation theory. This theory suggests that the cognitive control mechanism in the brain is unable to maintain the goal of the vigilance task over time. ...
... This theory suggests that the cognitive control mechanism in the brain is unable to maintain the goal of the vigilance task over time. Essentially, the goal becomes habituated over time and as a result, performance declines (Ariga and Lleras 2011). They suggested switching the task goals during the task may attenuate the decrement. ...
Article
Vigilance is the ability to sustain attention for an extended period of time and to respond to infrequently occurring critical signals. One of the most replicable findings within the vigilance literature is the performance decrement; the decline in performance as time on task increases. In an effort to attenuate the decrement, and decrease the workload and stress associated with vigilance, the present study investigated the role of choice of rest break duration on vigilance performance, perceived workload, and stress. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: (1) choice condition, (2) no-choice condition (yoked-control), and (3) a no-break control condition. Participants completed a sensory vigilance task and common measures of workload and stress. A vigilance decrement was observed in all conditions. Participants in the choice condition exhibited more conservative responses and fewer false alarms than the no-choice condition. Across all conditions, task engagement and worry decreased, and distress increased. Practitioner Summary: This study shows the impact of rest breaks and autonomy on vigilance task performance. The findings suggest that resource theory is a plausible explanation for the vigilance decrement. Additionally, providing a choice in rest break length changes the operator’s criterion following the break. Abbreviations: TSA: transportation security administration; SART: sustained attention to response task; ERP: event-related potential; S-DT: self-determination theory; ISI: interstimulus interval; DSSQ: dundee stress state questionnaire; CFQ: cognitive failures questionnaire; BP: boredom proneness; NASA-TLX: NASA task load index; IMI: intrinsic motivation inventory
... Some form of mental fatigue is typically associated with a vigilance decrement, and this mental fatigue has been linked to increased human error rate [7][8][9]. If this mental fatigue could be detected using artificial intelligence (AI), then systems could be developed to regulate mental fatigue by varying levels of stimulus to aid in sustained attention [10,11] or by providing recovery time [12]. ...
... Physiological measurements such as EEG, electrocardiography (ECG), and electrooculography (EOG) have been progressively utilized to better understand the underlying mechanisms of mental fatigue and the vigilance decrement over the past two decades, with EEG receiving significant attention in research for its insight into the status of the brain [16]. EEG signals are a measure of the electrical activity in the brain using electrodes distributed over the scalp, and EEG is often referred to by its different clinical frequency bands, namely delta (2-4 Hz), theta (4-7 Hz), alpha (8)(9)(10)(11)(12), beta (13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22)(23)(24)(25)(26)(27)(28)(29), and gamma . A physiological measurement such as EEG has the advantage of providing a more objective measurement of fatigue than a behavioral measure, as behavioral measures are subjective in nature and left to the experimenter's or participant's judgment. ...
Article
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Tasks which require sustained attention over a lengthy period of time have been a focal point of cognitive fatigue research for decades, with these tasks including air traffic control, watchkeeping, baggage inspection, and many others. Recent research into physiological markers of mental fatigue indicate that markers exist which extend across all individuals and all types of vigilance tasks. This suggests that it would be possible to build an EEG model which detects these markers and the subsequent vigilance decrement in any task (i.e., a task-generic model) and in any person (i.e., a cross-participant model). However, thus far, no task-generic EEG cross-participant model has been built or tested. In this research, we explored creation and application of a task-generic EEG cross-participant model for detection of the vigilance decrement in an unseen task and unseen individuals. We utilized three different models to investigate this capability: a multi-layer perceptron neural network (MLPNN) which employed spectral features extracted from the five traditional EEG frequency bands, a temporal convolutional network (TCN), and a TCN autoencoder (TCN-AE), with these two TCN models being time-domain based, i.e., using raw EEG time-series voltage values. The MLPNN and TCN models both achieved accuracy greater than random chance (50%), with the MLPNN performing best with a 7-fold CV balanced accuracy of 64% (95% CI: 0.59, 0.69) and validation accuracies greater than random chance for 9 of the 14 participants. This finding demonstrates that it is possible to classify a vigilance decrement using EEG, even with EEG from an unseen individual and unseen task.
... Given these two findings, Kontaxopoulou and colleagues [27] proposed that the ability to effectively execute incidental memory processes is more strongly connected with the overall cognitive system than is the ability to carry out intentional memory processes, as indicated by the association found with attention and executive functions. Indeed, memory studies among aging populations have shown that low scores on memory tasks were correlated with reduced activation in the frontal lobes (e.g., [28]). Furthermore, imaging studies have shown that there is a positive correlation between executive functioning and prefrontal cortex volume (for a meta-analysis, [29]). ...
... Based on Kontaxopoulou and colleagues' [27] finding that aging affects incidental, rather than intentional, encoding processes, they proposed that the ability to effectively execute incidental memory processes is more strongly connected with the overall cognitive system, as indicated by the association found between incidental memory and attention and executive functions. Indeed, memory studies conducted with elderly populations have shown that low scores on memory tasks were associated with reduced activation in the frontal lobes (e.g., [28]). Furthermore, imaging studies support a positive correlation between executive functioning and prefrontal cortex volume (for a meta-analysis, see [29]). ...
Article
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The role of attention allocation in object-location memory has been widely studied through incidental and intentional encoding conditions. However, the relation between sustained attention and memory encoding processes has scarcely been studied. The present study aimed to investigate performance differences across incidental and intentional encoding conditions using a divided attention paradigm. Furthermore, the study aimed to examine the relation between sustained attention and incidental and intentional object-location memory performance. Based on previous findings, an all women sample was recruited in order to best illuminate the potential effects of interest. Forty-nine women participated in the study and completed the psychomotor vigilance test, as well as object-location memory tests, under both incidental and intentional encoding divided attention conditions. Performance was higher in the incidental encoding condition than in the intentional encoding condition. Furthermore, sustained attention correlated with incidental, but not with intentional memory performance. These findings are discussed in light of the automaticity hypothesis, specifically as it regards the role of attention allocation in encoding object-location memory. Furthermore, the role of sustained attention in incidental memory performance is discussed in light of previous animal and human studies that have examined the brain regions involved in these cognitive processes. We conclude that under conditions of increased mental demand, executive attention is associated with incidental, but not with intentional encoding, thus identifying the exact conditions under which executive attention influence memory performance.
... Studying for long hours without a break is not the way to go since our memory would deteriorate from trying to memorize and understand too much information at once. A study by Ariga and Lleras (2011) showed that short breaks from a task could drastically increase one's ability to concentrate on that task for much longer. In the study, the participants were asked to perform a 50-minute task. ...
... In contrast, PC probes allow for the collection of on-task periods, which is useful for juxtaposition with off-task states, but is prone to miss off-task experiences since it does not offer the possibility of manual reports and given that longer periods in-between probes has been shown to increase the likelihood of off-task reports (Seli, Carriere, Levene, & Smilek, 2013). In addition to these specific trade-offs, probes in general interrupt the flow of the task and offer no insight on whether off-task experiences continue after the probe, i.e. reactive mind-wandering (Allan Cheyne, Solman, Carriere, & Smilek, 2009), or whether the short break leads to focused attention (Ariga & Lleras, 2011;Helton & Russell, 2012). Moreover, the quality of subjective reports depends on numerous parameters such as an individual's meta-cognitive ability Smallwood & Schooler, 2006), confidence (Seli, Jonker, Cheyne, Cortes, & Smilek, 2015) and motivation (Zedelius et al., 2015), and even the framing and format of the probe (Seli, Beaty, et al., 2018;Weinstein, De Lima, & van der Zee, 2018). ...
Preprint
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Our attention seldom remains on a singular activity, instead veering off into thoughts unrelated to the task at hand. Studies adopting a component process view of off-task thought have begun to identify the underlying mechanisms and associated electrophysiological correlates underlying ongoing thought. In the present study, we developed subject-independent classification algorithms based on electroencephalographic (EEG) markers to discriminate on-task vs off-task as well as intentional vs unintentional off-task thought. To that end, spatio-temporal and spectral features extracted from EEG activity prior to reports of ongoing thought during a test of sustained attention were ranked according to their discriminative power. Using data collected from 26 participants, average classification accuracies of 83.4% and 71.6% were achieved using a regularized linear model for on-task vs off-task and intentional vs unintentional off-task thought, respectively. Our results identified gamma oscillations as the most discriminative feature to distinguish on-task from off-task states, and alpha synchronization as the most prominent feature when off-task states are engaged in deliberately rather than when experienced as arising spontaneously. Our work represents the first successful attempt at reliably discriminating the degree of intentionality experienced during task-unrelated thought and highlights the importance of recognizing the heterogeneous nature of off-task states.
... Studying for a long time can decrease the student's brain cognitive performance; it can be solved by taking breaks in suitable time duration specifically. Previously, evidence from the experiment was shown that taking breaks can improve Cognitive performance [7]. It refreshes their mental state by stress reduction. ...
Conference Paper
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Human has sustainability to concentrate about 45-50 minutes, approximately. The student who spent a long time during the class without a break is decreasing the brain learning ability. Taking mental breaks every 45 minutes is considered as stress reduction and prepared for better learning. However, a person has a different level to maintain a focus on learning, which is longer or shorter. The well-established information for manipulating this problem is necessary to support the instruction and teaching planning. Therefore, this study proposes the method to define the learning state of each student via brain cognitive performance identification and information technology innovations. The brain signals of students are recorded by electroencephalography (EEG) during studying. Due to the performance values are presented under the specific neuroscience criteria, the Decision Tree algorithm is chosen to perform learning state classification and description. The results present the several levels of cognitive performance including low, neutral, good, and high level, which is related to the learning ability of a student. The student who has low cognitive performance will be noticed to have a mental break before class ends appropriately. The classification method provides 87% of accuracy, which is acceptable to support the implementation of the decision tree with neuroscience in this study.
... A second issue is whether task goal maintenance is the critical influence on vigilance decrement. The decrement has been attributed to goal habituation (Ariga & Lleras, 2011), but direct tests of the hypothesis do not provide consistent support; goal-switching does not attenuate the decrement (Ross et al., 2014). The decrement may rather reflect the extent to which goal activation influences lower level pathways for selective attention. ...
Article
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Objective This study tested whether indices of executive control, alertness, and orienting measured with Attention Network Test (ANT) are vulnerable to temporal decrement in performance. Background Developing the resource theory of sustained attention requires identifying neurocognitive processes vulnerable to decrement. Executive control processes may be prone to impairment in fatigue states. Such processes are also highlighted in alternative theories. Determining the role of executive control in vigilance can both advance theory and contribute to practical countermeasures for decrement in human factors contexts. Method In Study 1, 80 participants performed the standard ANT for an extended duration of about 55 to 60 min. Study 2 (160 participants) introduced manipulations of trial blocking and stimulus degradation intended to increase resource depletion. Reaction time and accuracy measures were analyzed. Subjective stress and workload were assessed in both studies. Results In both studies, the ANT induced levels of subjective workload and task disengagement consistent with previous sustained attention studies. No systematic decrement in any performance measure was observed. Conclusion Executive control assessed by the ANT is not highly vulnerable to temporal decrement, even when task demands are elevated. Future work should differentiate executive control processes; proactive control may be more implicated in sustained attention decrement than in reactive control. Application Designing systems and interfaces to reduce executive control demands may be generally beneficial but will not directly mitigate temporal performance decrement. Enhancing design guidelines and neuroergonomic methods for monitoring operator attention requires further work to identify key neurocognitive processes for decrement.
... Furthermore, dual-task paradigms have observed an enhanced decrement for various dual-tasking conditions, implying that executive attention resources are a component in traditional vigilance tasks (Helton & Russell, 2011, 2013, but see Helton & Russell, 2017. Ariga and Lleras (2011) observed that short mental breaks in the form of an intermittent and infrequent memory recall task alleviated the vigilance decrement, suggesting that executive control, particularly goal maintenance, was important for sustaining performance. Furthermore, Steinborn and Huestegge (2016) found evidence that these effects were pronounced after longer time on task and for tasks with higher mental demand, the latter of which may require more executive attention. ...
Article
Objective: To measure contributing attentional processes, particularly that of executive attention, to two iterations of the abbreviated vigilance task. Background: Joel Warm was at the forefront of vigilance research for decades, and resource theory is currently the dominant explanation for the vigilance decrement. The underlying mechanisms contributing to both overall performance and the decrement are only partly understood. Method: Seventy-eight participants answered questionnaires about their attentional skills and stress state, performed the Attention Network Test and two blocks of the 12-min abbreviated vigilance task, with a brief break between the two vigils during which they viewed images intended to affect performance. Changes in oxygenated hemoglobin were measured with functional near-infrared imaging. Results: Expected patterns were observed for both iterations of the abbreviated vigilance task, with performance declining after the first 2 min. Manipulations intended to evaluate whether executive processes contributed to vigilance performance failed to observe an effect. Other factors, particularly orienting and alerting attentional networks, task engagement, and subclinical ADHD symptomology were associated with performance. Significant factors for the first and second vigilance blocks were different. Conclusion: We suggest that (a) cognitive control is not a predominant factor, at least for the abbreviated vigilance task, and (b) attentional mechanisms and stress states affecting performance on the abbreviated vigilance task change over time. Application: Potential applications of this research include the use of breaks for sustained attention tasks involving high sensory load, and implications for the use of the abbreviated vigilance task as a proxy for general vigilance processes.
... However, it is also known that noise is mostly caused by passive students and irregularities in the teaching process (Reeve, 2009). Additionally, it is known that these kinds of problems decrease in classes where student participation is achieved (Ariga & Lleras, 2011;Eryılmaz, 2007;Riskoetal., 2012;Wang, 2015;Wilson & Korn, 2007). In this regard, it should not be ignored that noise is not only a cause of distraction, but also a result of the students breaking off from the course. ...
Article
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This research which investigates teachers’ and students’ opinions about students’ attention problems during the lesson is a descriptive study in the survey model. 432 teachers and 1023 students from secondary schools in the central districts of Adana voluntarily participated in the study. The research data were collected with a Written Interview Form developed by the researchers and a descriptive content analysis was used for data analysis. As a result of the research, it was observed that the teachers perceived the attention problems that the students experienced during the course mostly as a problem arising from the students themselves while the students associate this problem not only with themselves, but also with other students, teachers and the environment. According to the results, teachers as well as students easily noticed the psychological characteristics, the behaviors they exhibited and their low academic performance, but the teachers evaluate this situation more as disciplinary problems. The solution suggestions of the teachers who kept the attention problems of the students out of their own sphere and their teaching practices were that passing exams should be harder and discipline regulations should change to facilitate punishment. The students stated that teachers should show more interest towards the students, approach the students positively and use a variety of teaching methods in accordance with the students’ level.
... After the first three tasks, we gave participants a 5-min break during which they watched a video clip about a monkey in a funny research setting. We included this break to support students' learning, as numerous studies have indicated that providing breaks during study time has beneficial effects on learning (e.g., Ariga & Lleras, 2011). By allowing students a short rest, we hoped to help them restore the attentional resources needed to invest mental effort in the upcoming tasks (Marranges, Schmeichel, & Baumeister, 2017). ...
Article
Giving students complex learning tasks combined with peer-assessment tasks can impose a high cognitive load. Scaffolding has proven to reduce cognitive load during learning and improve accuracy on domain-specific tasks. This study investigated whether scaffolding has a similar, positive effect on the learning of peer-assessment tasks. We hypothesised that: (1) domain-specific scaffolding improves domain-specific accuracy and reduces time on task and perceived mental effort, and (2) peer-assessment scaffolding improves peer-assessment accuracy and reduces time on task and perceived mental effort. Additionally, we explored whether there was an interaction between domain-specific and peer-assessment scaffolding. In a 2x2 experiment with the factors domain-specific scaffolding (present, absent) and peer-assessment scaffolding (present, absent), 236 secondary school students assessed the performance of fictitious peers in an electronic learning environment. We found that domain-specific accuracy indeed improved with domain-specific scaffolding, confirming our first hypothesis. Our tests of the second hypothesis, however, revealed surprising results: peer-assessment scaffolding significantly increased accuracy and mental effort during learning, it had no effect on peer-assessment accuracy at the test and led to reduced domain-specific accuracy, even when combined with domain-specific scaffolding. These results suggest that scaffolding students' peer assessment before they have mastered the task at hand can have disturbing effects on students' ability to learn from the task.
... Research suggests that humans are poorly suited to vigilance performance; a marked decrease in vigilance performance occurs after approximately 15-30 minutes [3,4,5,6,7]. Concern over this "vigilance decrement" and associated performance errors has inspired researchers to seek methods of alleviating the vigilance decrement [e.g., 8,9,10,11,12,13,14]. Other researchers have focused specifically on the vigilance task of monitoring automated systems for errors, and they have used vigilance tasks to examine automation use, complacency, and associated issues [e.g., 15,16,17,18]. ...
Article
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A great deal of interest concerns the study of vigilance performance, and trust in automation, due to their implications for public safety. This work provides an experimental resource for scholars in need of a vigilance style task. The dataset includes 150 X-ray images of luggage, and participants indicate whether or not they believe each image contains a dangerous item (simulating airport security screening). Using a sample of 991 adults recruited via MTurk, we normed these items in terms of difficulty. These stimuli can be used to study vigilance performance, trust in an automated decision aid, and other areas. Funding statement: This research was funded by a grant from the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Arts & Sciences.
... Indeed, there is evidence that rest improves performance on standard vigilance (Helton & Russell, 2015) and cognitive vigilance tasks (Steinborn & Huestegge, 2016), and there is even some evidence that the introduction of an additional task into a vigil may have a restorative effect on vigilance performance (Ralph, Onderwater, Thomson, & Smilek, 2017). Rest breaks are presumed to have a restorative effect via the replenishment of information-processing resources (Helton & Russell, 2015), and it is proposed that the introduction of another task has a restorative effect via increasing energetic arousal (Ralph et al., 2017;Steinborn, Langner, & Huestegge, 2017) or goal reactivation when switched back to the original task (Ariga & Lleras, 2011; although see Helton & Russell, 2011). Clearly identifying the underlying processes involved has proven difficult, and the answer to the question as to whether the resource pool being replenished is attributable to a generalized self-control resource pool or a more domain-specific pool of attentional resources is still unknown. ...
Article
Objective:: To investigate whether depleting self-control prior to vigilance results in a steeper vigilance decrement. Background:: The resource-control theory of vigilance asserts that an inherent bias toward self-generated mind-wandering draws attentional resources away from the primary task. This study seeks to test whether depleting self-control, the potential mechanism of self-generated mind-wandering, results in poorer vigilance performance. Method:: This study featured a between-subjects design where participants either completed a typing task that depleted self-control resources or a standard typing task that did not require self-control before performing a vigilance task. In the self-control depletion condition, participants typed a passage while omitting any "e" and "space" keys. In the standard typing task, participants typed the same passage without skipping any keys. Following both typing tasks, participants in both conditions completed an identical 12-min vigilance task. Results:: Results demonstrated decreased accuracy and increased reaction times over time for both groups. Depleting self-control did not result in significant differences in accuracy, reaction time, nor a steeper vigilance decrement. Conclusion:: These results provide evidence against resource-control theory and self-control as an explanation for vigilance, and provide further support for cognitive resource theory as the predominant explanation for vigilance impairments. Application:: It is still unclear exactly what constitutes a "resource." A better understanding of the nature of these resources can help researchers and practitioners identify how they can be replenished, which could enhance human performance in situations requiring vigilance such as baggage screening.
... It is an assistant that improves student performance and take control over study times. The optimal study time is within 18 to 20 minutes; hence, Flumzis tells the user when to take a break and when to return to study following the recommended time [3]. During the night, it gives an advice on how to eat healthy, study techniques to improve the retention of information and methods to organize your time when studying. ...
Conference Paper
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Flumzis is a DIY social robot that optimizes the learning process of college students who spend the entirely night studying. It helps them by measuring their study time, monitoring break times, giving advices about how to eat healthy and tips to make the study night as optimized as possible. Flumzis also has a smart accessory, an intelligent base which allows to have a bunch of extra functions. Those work together in order to have better understanding of the functions.
... Titration procedure: Given the short stimulus exposure duration and backward masks, participants were expected to preallocate selective attention in response to the cue, in anticipation of an upcoming target after a variable delay. Maintaining top-down selective attention during relatively long delays is effortful (Ariga & Lleras, 2011;Manly, Robertson, Galloway, & Hawkins, 1999), and participants may not be inclined to do so if a target is salient enough to capture attention upon onset. Furthermore, signal enhancement tends to be weak or behaviorally undetectable via accuracy, even when selective attention is directed to a sufficiently salient target (Awh, Sgarlata, & Kliestik, 2005;Dosher & Lu, 2000;Grindley & Townsend, 1968;Scolari & Awh, 2019;Shiu & Pashler, 1994). ...
Article
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Top-down visual attention selectively filters sensory input so relevant information receives preferential processing. Feature-based attention (FBA) enhances the representation of relevant low-level features, whereas space-based attention (SBA) enhances information at relevant location(s). The present study investigates whether the unique influences of SBA and FBA combine to facilitate behavior in a perceptually demanding discrimination task. We first demonstrated that, independently, both color and location pre-cues could effectively direct attention to facilitate perceptual decision making of a target. We then examined the combined effects of SBA and FBA in the same design by deploying a predictive color arrow pre-cue. Only SBA effects were observed in performance accuracy and reaction time. However, we detected a reaction time cost when a valid spatial cue was paired with a feature cue. A computational perceptual decision-making model largely provided converging evidence that contributions from FBA were restricted to facilitating the speed with which the relevant item was identified. Our results suggest that both selection mechanisms can be used in isolation to resolve a perceptually challenging target in a sparse display, but with little additive perceptual benefit when cued simultaneously. We conclude that there is at least some higher order interdependence between space-based and feature-based selection during decision making under specific conditions.
... Yet another, more prominent, perspective maintains that breaks can serve positive ends as an incubation period that alleviates individuals' depletion level and leads to improved performance (Hunter & Wu, 2016;Jett & George, 2003), especially as work becomes more complex in nature. Indeed, even brief breaks to work on a separate task have been shown to diminish depletion and improve performance (Ariga & Lleras, 2011). Breaks are especially helpful when one can choose the moment to disengage, as opposed to being interrupted, as this can help minimize the divided attention that results when one is, intentionally or unintentionally, maintaining thoughts about both tasks at once (Leroy, 2009;Leroy & Schmidt, 2016). ...
Article
Introduction: Since there is steady increase in cell phone addiction, the act of reaching for a phone between tasks, or even mid-task, is becoming more commonplace, without a true understanding about the potential cognitive costs of taking a break in this way as opposed to taking a break through another medium. Methods: This experimental study included 414 participants who completed a cognitively demanding task (solving anagrams) either on paper or on a computer screen. Participants in three of four randomly assigned conditions engaged in a break task (selecting items for a hypothetical shopping list) either on a cell phone, a larger computer screen, or on a paper in the middle of the task. The fourth condition had participants engaging in both halves of the cognitive task with no break. Results: The results show that using cell phone for a break did not allow brain to recharge as effectively as the other types of breaks, both in terms of being able to perform quickly and efficiently in the second half of the task (how long it took to complete), and in terms of performance (how many anagrams were successfully solved in the second half). Discussion and conclusions: As people are increasingly addicted to their cell phones, it is important to know the unintended costs associated with reaching for this device every spare minute. Although people may assume that it is not different from any other kind of interaction or break, this study shows that the phone might be more cognitively taxing than expected.
... The homeostatic and circadian processes that drive the temporal dynamics of vigilant attention interact with the time-on-task effect, amplifying the time-on-task effect when the homeostatic drive for sleep is high and the circadian drive for wakefulness is low [15,16,18,89,90] and as a function of consecutive days of sleep restriction [19] (see Fig. 7). Rest breaks provide recuperation from the time-on-task effect [91,92], as do brief periods of engagement in a different task [92,93]. The temporal dynamics of such breaks have not been well characterized-e.g., it is unclear how much time is needed to reset the time-on-task effect-but even relatively short breaks can be quite effective. ...
Article
Vigilant attention is a major component of a wide range of cognitive performance tasks. Vigilant attention is impaired by sleep deprivation and restored after rest breaks and (more enduringly) after sleep. The temporal dynamics of vigilant attention deficits across hours and days are driven by physiologic, sleep regulatory processes—a sleep homeostatic process and a circadian process. There is also evidence of a slower, allostatic process, which modulates the sleep homeostatic setpoint across days and weeks and is responsible for cumulative deficits in vigilant attention across consecutive days of sleep restriction. There are large inter-individual differences in vulnerability to sleep loss, and these inter-individual differences constitute a pronounced human phenotype. However, this phenotype is multi-dimensional; vulnerability in terms of vigilant attention impairment can be dissociated from vulnerability in terms of other cognitive processes such as attentional control. The vigilance decrement, or time-on-task effect—a decline in performance across the duration of a vigilant attention task—is characterized by progressively increasing response variability, which is exacerbated by sleep loss. This variability, while crucial to understanding the impact of sleep deprivation on performance in safety-critical tasks, is not well explained by top-down regulatory mechanisms, such as the homeostatic and circadian processes. A bottom-up, neuronal pathway-dependent mechanism involving use-dependent, local sleep may be the main driver of response variability. This bottom-up mechanism may also explain the dissociation between cognitive processes with regard to trait vulnerability to sleep loss.
... One example of how I was able to negotiate this gap through action logging can be seen in how my wider reading led to the implementation of a short (4-5 minute) break in our classes. Although the academic paper that I read (Ariga & Lleras, 2011) had implied that providing breaks or switching between tasks could help students maintain concentration during our long 90-minute classes, I felt that implementing any changes based on this research needed to be done through the lens of students' learning expectations and beliefs. Therefore, after briefly explaining the rationale for the change, I then asked students over the next few lessons to report their feelings about the new break system in their action logs, emphasizing that this was purely experimental and that I was personally indifferent one way or the other. ...
Article
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In this narrative article, I document my implementation of action logs as a tool for reflective practice and teacher development as I transitioned from working in a small eikaiwa (English conversation) school to working in a private international university. After providing a brief description of my contextual background and how I came to start action logging, I give examples of student feedback I received and their relevance to my reflective teaching. Finally, I explain the varied ways in which I feel using action logs aided me in improving the efficacy of my classroom practice and influenced my evolving teacher identity during a stressful transition between two markedly different professional worlds.
... Doing a break and giving the brain some rest can be beneficial to overcome side effects of concentrated working: fatigue and distraction, which results in errors and eventual frustration. Neuroscience researcher recommend taking a short break after periods of concentrated work [3]. Besides taking a break, we assume that struggling students also regard the break intervention as a motivation to review the course material. ...
Conference Paper
A typical problem in MOOCs is the missing opportunity for course conductors to individually support students in overcoming their problems and misconceptions. This paper presents the results of automatically intervening on struggling students during programming exercises and offering peer feedback and tailored bonus exercises. To improve learning success, we do not want to abolish instructionally desired trial and error but reduce extensive struggle and demotivation. Therefore, we developed adaptive automatic just-in-time interventions to encourage students to ask for help if they require considerably more than average working time to solve an exercise. Additionally, we offered students bonus exercises tailored for their individual weaknesses. The approach was evaluated within a live course with over 5,000 active students via a survey and metrics gathered alongside. Results show that we can increase the call outs for help by up to 66% and lower the dwelling time until issuing action. Learnings from the experiments can further be used to pinpoint course material to be improved and tailor content to be audience specific.
... The traditional models of production, for example, the Six Sigma and Toyota Production System, operate under the Kaizen philosophic assumption that increased hours working lead to increased productivity, despite there being no empirical evidence supporting this notion [9][10][11]. However, research does suggest that taking regular breaks, especially when they include physical activity, increases productivity by increasing the pace of work during shorter periods by increasing focus, assisting with the formulation of ideas and retention of information, and helping with the revaluation of goals [12,13]. ...
Article
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The aim of this article is to present a specific example of the application of the use of behaviour change theory to design workplace physical activity interventions, and to provide a conceptual guide for workplaces to follow. As a part of a wider National Health Service Clinical Commissioning Group initiative to improve the overall health and wellbeing of the county’s workforce, a County Sports Partnership were commissioned to design and implement an intervention to increase the physical activity levels of employees within the workplace. The intervention was designed using a behaviour change approach, drawing upon the COM-B (Capability, Opportunity and Motivation equals’ behaviour) model. Workplace needs were analysed, focusing on the three areas of business need, workplace environment and employee need. These needs were then analysed, and using a policy approach, workplaces designed long-term action plans to shift the sedentary behaviours identified via the needs analysis, through a range of bespoke measures.
... These breaks can take various forms, including asking learners questions (i.e., testing), presenting a video, having group discussions, or simply giving students a bathroom break (Centre for Teaching Excellence -University of Waterloo., 2012;Olmsted, 1999). Such study breaks are thought to be effective at helping students refocus and learn new information, because they allow students to temporarily deactivate the prolonged task-goal of learning and attend to activities with different task goals (Ariga & Lleras, 2011). Similarly, taking interspersed tests can enhance new learning by providing a break from the encoding activities required by a prolonged study sequence. ...
Article
Practicing retrieval on previously studied materials can potentiate subsequent learning of new materials. In four experiments, we investigated the influence of retention interval and lag on this test-potentiated new learning (TPNL) effect. Participants studied four word lists and either practiced retrieval, restudied, or completed math problems following Lists 1–3. Memory performance on List 4 provided an estimate of new learning. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants were tested on List 4 after either a 1 min or 25 min retention interval. In Experiments 3 and 4, participants took at 25 min break before studying List 4. A TPNL effect was observed in all experiments. To gain insight into the mechanism that may underlie TPNL, we analyzed the extent to which participants organized their recall from list to list. Relative to restudy and math, testing led to superior semantic organization across lists. Our results support a strategy change account of TPNL.
... More recent research on human factors has countered the belief that vigilance tasks are undemanding assignments, requiring little mental effort. Indeed, converging evidence using behavioural, neural, and subjective measures, shows that utilising active cognitive control systems, particularly involving attentional processing, requires hard mental work and is stressful (Ariga and Lleras, 2011;Thomson et al., 2015;Warm et al., 2008). ...
Article
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We propose a theory known as the Hyland model to help conceptualise Fibromyalgia within a complex adaptive control system. A fundamental assumption is that symptom generating mechanisms are causally connected, forming a network that has emergent properties. An illness narrative has been developed which has a ‘goodness of fit’ with the lived experience of those with Fibromyalgia. The theory guides management within the clinical setting and incorporates current evidence-based therapeutic strategies, within a multi-modal intervention described as ‘Body Reprogramming’. This intervention focuses on non-pharmacological and lifestyle-based considerations. The theoretical framework also helps explain why modest therapeutic effects are gained from current pharmacological options.
... When the cues are insufficient, forced pauses initiated by formal timeout protocols can be of benefit. 44 I-PASS 45 and SBAR 46 are good examples of organizational efforts to implement interventions to facilitate medical pauses. ...
Article
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Research has shown that taking “timeouts” in medical practice improves performance and patient safety. However, the benefits of taking timeouts, or pausing, is not sufficiently acknowledged in workplaces and training programs. To promote this acknowledgment, we suggest a systematic conceptualization of the medical pause, focusing on its importance, processes, and implementation in training programs. By employing insights from educational and cognitive psychology, we first identified pausing as an important skill to interrupt negative momentum and bolster learning. Subsequently, we categorized constituent cognitive processes for pausing skills into two phases: the decision-making phase (determining when and how to take pauses) and the executive phase (applying relaxation or reflection during pauses). We present a model that describes how relaxation and reflection during pauses can optimize cognitive load in performance. Several strategies to implement pause training in medical curricula are proposed: intertwining pause training with training of primary skills, providing second-order scaffolding through shared control, and employing auxiliary tools such as computer-based simulations with a pause function.
... That might especially be the case in a group of young and healthy participants and when the interrupted task is fairly easy, as in the present study. Studies from outside the field of pain have shown that, even though interruptions are mostly disruptive (4,5,8), they may sometimes improve performance, especially when the interrupted task is very easy, boring or repetitive (37,38), as the current ongoing task might have been. Although recent data shows that interruptions by pain are not more disruptive for the performance of a fairly complex activity compared to interruptions by non-pain (11), the same might not be true as regards performance pattern. ...
Article
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Background and aims: Suspending an ongoing activity with the intention to resume it again later is a natural response to pain. This response facilitates coping with the pain, but it may also have negative consequences for the resumption and performance of the activity. For example, people with pain problems are often forced to take a break from doing their household chores because of their pain. They might delay resuming their chore, eventually needing longer time to finish it. We investigated how activity interruptions by pain influence the pattern of subsequent activity performance. We expected that when an activity is interrupted by pain (compared to non-pain), people spend longer time away from the activity, need longer time to complete it, and are less motivated to perform it. Methods: Sixty healthy volunteers performed an ongoing task that required them to make joystick movements in different directions according to a specific rule. Occasionally, participants received either a painful electrocutaneous stimulus or a non-painful and non-aversive auditory stimulus (between-subjects) as an interruption cue. The interruption cue was followed by the temporary suspension of the ongoing task and the initiation of a different activity (interruption task). The latter required the categorization of cards and had a maximum duration, but participants could also stop it earlier by pressing a button. We measured time away from the (interrupted) ongoing task, total time to complete the ongoing task (including the interruptions) and self-reported motivation to perform both the ongoing as well as the interruption task. Results: Groups did not differ in the time away from the ongoing task, total time to complete the ongoing task, or self-reported motivation to perform the two tasks. Conclusions: Activity interruptions by pain did not impair the pattern of activity performance more than activity interruptions by non-pain. Potential explanations and suggestions for future research are discussed. Implications: Interrupting ongoing activities is a common response to pain. However, activity interruptions by pain do not appear to influence the pattern of activity performance in a different way than activity interruptions by pain-irrelevant external stimuli.
... The attention resource conservation hypothesis, which follows from the limited capacity theories noted by Kahneman (Kahneman, 1973) and Wickens (Wickens, 1980), and the depletion and replenishment research of Ariga and Lleras (Ariga & Lleras, 2011), would suggest that as attention demand is reduced during automated driving, the driver can rest and thus replenish their 'reservoir' of cognitive resources. When cognitive resources are demanded, such as when facing a potential accident, resources can then be deployed to respond to address the situation at hand. ...
... there is an alternate explanation for attentional performance decline. Concerning the latter, several other hypotheses regarding the origin of vigilance decrements have been proposed (Ariga & Lleras, 2011;Hancock, 2013;Mackworth, 1968;Robertson, Manly, Andrade, Baddeley, & Yiend, 1997). Two theories regarding the habituation of either sensory or motivational systems, the signal and goal habituation models respectively, are not conducive to our data as measures of perceptual sensitivity and omissions remain stable throughout task performance. ...
Thesis
Attention is critical for interacting with our dynamic cue-rich environments and consequently attentional deficits can escalate to yield incapacitating disorders. In order to develop rational treatments for the attentional instabilities that typify a wide range of brain disorders, it is crucial that we determine the validity of behavioral tasks used to reveal neurobehavioral and neurocognitive mechanisms of attention in both rodent models and healthy and impaired humans. Measures of behavioral performance from tasks with little or uncertain validity yield misleading neuro-behavioral mappings that offer little translational utility. Here, we assessed the construct validity of a common rodent attentional task, the Sustained Attention Task (SAT), examined competing models for the psychological mechanisms which mediate effects of performance challenges thought to tax attentional resources or effort, and determined individual differences in the neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms for SAT performance. Dominant conceptualizations about the psychological nature of the SAT have assumed that it necessitates “top-down”, or goal-directed, attentional control for the successful detection of relatively rare stimuli. The work presented in this dissertation challenges the assumption that in all individuals, SAT engages “top-down” attentional mechanisms. Specifically, animals with relatively “hot” cognitive-motivational styles (sign-trackers), prone to attributing incentive motivational properties to reward predictive cues, engage perceptual, but not cholinergic-attentional mechanisms to respond to salient cues in SAT. Next, we examined the cognitive mechanisms underlying task decline or maintenance in SAT, particularly in the face of challenges. To this aim we tested two competing models of effortful performance: the resource depletion model and the opportunity cost model. The former proposes that performance on tasks, such as the SAT, declines over time as a function of consumed biological and psychological resources. However, this model fails to explain a number of critical features of effortful performance and can be methodologically irrefutable. Alternatively, the opportunity cost model is computationally accessible, proposing that task performance declines as a result of subjective feelings of effort arising from cost/benefit calculations for the value of staying on task versus switching to an alternate action. We employed SAT manipulations proposed to alter the demands on task-related processing resources versus opportunity costs associated with task maintenance in opposing directions. Male and female rats trained to SAT criterion performed four versions of SAT: with a flashing house light distractor (dSAT), dSAT with a rest period from task performance, with blocks where the intertrial interval (ITI) is shortened, and with blocks where the ITI is lengthened. Importantly, the two competing theoretical perspectives predict opposed outcomes of these task manipulations: long ITIs should not tax attentional resources, but they should be neutral to or elevate opportunity costs. Conversely, shorter ITIs are thought to tax processing resources but may be neutral with respect to, or even decrease, opportunity costs. The rest period during dSAT is proposed to offer relief and restoration for consumed resources while remaining neutral to opportunity costs. The results from these manipulations were not consistent with a resource depletion account of task maintenance nor did they conform to predictions set by the opportunity cost model. Collectively, the data presented in this dissertation have established a research program designed to determine the construct validity of SAT, to test competing psychological theories about the mechanisms involved in the response to task manipulations, and further examined individual differences in attentional strategies.
... While the concreteness of this time-frame is debated (Wilson & Korn, 2007), the occurrence of such lapses is not (Bunce, Flens, & Neiles, 2010). This phenomenon is often called the "vigilance decrement" in the literature (Ariga & Lleras, 2011;Farley, Risko, & Kingstone, 2013;Risko, Anderson, Sarwal, Engelhardt, & Kingstone, 2012;Young, Robinson, & Alberts, 2009). To counter the negative effects that attention lapses may have on learning, switching things up or changing pace is recommended to ensure students remain focused (Center for Excellence in Teaching, 1999). ...
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p class="3">Lecture videos have become an increasingly prevalent and important source of learning content. Lecturer-generated summaries may be used during a video lecture to improve student recall. Furthermore, the integration of a guest lecturer into the classroom may be a beneficial educational practice drawing the learner’s attention to specific content or providing a change of pace. The current study measures the effects of lecturer-generated summaries and the inclusion of a guest lecturer on students’ ability to recall online video lecture contents. Seven sections of a flipped scientific writing course were divided into three groups. The control group videos featured a lecturer speaking with PowerPoint slides in the background. The Summaries Only group viewed the same videos as those of the control, with the addition of lecturer-generated summaries spliced into the middles and ends of the videos, respectively, and these summaries were delivered by the same lecturers of the original video. The Summaries with a Guest Lecturer group viewed the same videos as the control, but with the addition of lecturer-generated summaries respectively spliced into the middles and ends of the videos, and these summaries were instead delivered by a guest lecturer. Student recall was measured through two online multiple-choice quizzes. The results of the study show that the Summaries Only group significantly outperformed the other two groups, while no significant difference was found between the performances of the control and the Summaries with a Guest Lecturer group. The results suggest that lecturer-generated summaries help to improve student recall of online video lecture contents. However, the introduction of a guest lecturer shown in a different setting may cause learners to lose concentration, nullifying the benefit of the summaries.</p
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Individuals with ADHD may benefit from assistive technologies (ATs). ATs include FM systems, MontivAIDR, Time Aids, iSelfControl and Kurzweil. Eligibility for acquiring these ATs is discussed first. The importance of eligibility is highlighted because the review of the literature suggests that these ATs may promote academic success among students with ADHD. Unfortunately, most of the research on the efficacy of ATs is directed at learning disabilities. Consequently, a review of ATs that support students with learning disabilities is provided with the overarching goal to encourage researchers to determine how ATs that support students with learning disabilities may also support students with ADHD. Finally, we discuss the ways in which ATs can maintain their efficacy over time for students with ADHD through the implementation of a Response to Intervention (RTI) framework. Concluding remarks will follow. DOI : coming soon
Article
As the volume and complexity of imaging in the UK continues to rise, there is pressure on radiologists to spend increasing lengths of time reporting to cope with the growing workload. However, there is limited guidance for radiologists about structuring the working day to achieve the necessary balance between satisfactory reporting volume and maintaining quality and safety. We surveyed 86 Neuroradiologists (receiving 59 responses), regarding time spent reporting, frequency and duration of work breaks, and break activities. Our results demonstrate that some neuroradiologists report for up to 12 hours a day and for 4 hours before taking a break. Mean duration of breaks is less than 15 minutes and these often consist of computer screen-based or cognitively demanding tasks. Many areas of medicine have looked to the aviation industry to develop improvements in safety through regulated, standardised practices. There are parallels between the work of air traffic controllers (ATCs) and radiologists. We review the legislation that controls the working hours of UK ATCs to minimise fatigue-related errors, and its scientific basis. We also consider the vigilance decrement, a concept in cognitive science which describes the reduction in performance with increasing time-on-task. We conclude that, in comparison with ATCs, work patterns among radiologists are poorly standardised and potentially dangerous. Evidence suggests that placing limits on reporting time and minimum break duration, as well as ensuring appropriate break activities, can benefit reporting quality. It is imperative that radiologists and managers heed these lessons, to improve standards and protect patients from error.
Chapter
Vigilance is the mental capacity by which observers maintain their attention across time. It is most commonly operationalized as the ability to detect rare and critical signals. Due to inherent constraints in human processing capacities, the longer one expects an observer to keep watch, the more likely it is that a searched-for signal will be missed. Consequently, without some means of computer or automation-based assistance, failures in operator vigilance are likely to occur. Mackworth called this characteristic decline in performance over time the ‘vigilance decrement.’ Many modern-day operational tasks that entail life-or-death consequences require vigilant monitoring, mostly of visual stimuli. Consequently, it is unsurprising that research has sought to establish and validate methods of counteracting such an adverse behavioral trend. One such strategy is cueing. Cuing provides the operator with a reliable prompt concerning signal onset probability. Traditional protocols have based such cues on task-related or environmental factors. The present work addresses the methodological concerns of using cues based on these factors in the design of effective vigilance cueing systems. This present work proposes an alternative perspective supported by empirical research to explore and validate this novel approach. This study examines the efficacy of cueing when based on an operator’s psychophysiological state (i.e., cortical blood oxygenation) in a novel vigilance task incorporating dynamic rather than static visual displays. Results pertaining to performance outcomes, physiological measures (heart rate variability), and perceived workload and stress are interpreted via Signal Detection Theory and the Resource Theory of vigilance.
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Korean families are changing fast. While birth rates remain low, Koreans are marryingand starting a family later than ever before, if at all. Couple-with-children households,the dominant household type in Korea until recently, will soon make up fewer thanone quarter of all households. These changes will have a profound effect on Korea’sfuture. Among other things, the Korean labour force is set to decline by about 2.5million workers by 2040, with potential major implications for economic performanceand the sustainability of public finances. Since the early 2000s, public policy haschanged to help parents reconcile work and family commitments: Korea has developeda comprehensive formal day-care and kindergarten system with enrolment rates thatare now on par with the Nordic countries. Korea also has one year of paid parentalleave for both parents, but only about 25% of mothers and 5% of fathers use it, asworkplace cultures are often not conducive to parents, especially fathers, takingleave. Cultural change will take time, but this review suggests there also is a needfor additional labour market, education and social policy reform to help Koreans achieveboth work and family aspirations, and contribute to the rejuvenation of Korean society.
Chapter
In diesem Kapitel … erhältst du viele hilfreiche Ideen und Tipps dazu, was du bei der Planung und Umsetzung deiner Ziele beachten musst. Endlich ist es an der Zeit, einen gut durchdachten Plan zu erstellen, einzuhalten und umzusetzen. Eine gute Vorbereitung ist wichtig und wird dir nicht nur die Ausführung erleichtern, sondern auch deine Erfolgschancen erhöhen. Stell dir vor, du setzt dich mit besten Absichten hin, um konzentriert zu arbeiten, und schon lockt die nächste Ablenkung und Versuchung und verlangt deine Aufmerksamkeit. Was machst du in solchen und ähnlichen Situationen? Was machst du, wenn die Gedanken lieber woanders sein wollen? Wir werden diese Fragen gleich beantworten und schauen, wie man potenzielle Störfaktoren am besten ausschalten kann, um ein optimales Arbeitsumfeld zu schaffen. Willst du wissen, wie man Schritt für Schritt einen Probe-Wochenplan zusammenstellt und was man beachten muss, um einen guten ersten Eindruck zu hinterlassen? Lies einfach weiter, und ich zeige es dir!
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En las últimas dos décadas han surgido numerosas investigaciones que han mostrado los efectos beneficiosos de la actividad física para la salud (Biddle, Fox & Boutcher, 2003; Lee & Skerritt, 2001). Lejos de creer que la actividad física tan sólo prevenía trastornos físicos [e.g., enfermedades cardiovasculares (Haskell et al., 2007)], la literatura científica argumenta que también previene trastornos mentales [e.g., depresión y reducción del estrés (Dunn et al., 2001) o ansiedad (Paluska & Schwenk, 2000)]. Además, entidades de relevancia mundial tales como la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), el Centro para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC), el Colegio Americano de Medicina del Deporte (ACSM) o la Asociación Americana del Corazón (AHA), relacionan positivamente la actividad física con la salud general y consideran a la actividad física como algo esencial e indispensable para preservar la salud. Tal y como argumentábamos anteriormente, algunos investigadores han estudiado el efecto del ejercicio físico en la prevención de enfermedades crónicas y trastornos mentales, pero otros investigadores han dado un paso más y han buscado la relación existente entre la actividad física y la influencia significativa sobre mecanismos cognitivos de alto nivel (McMorris, Tomporowski & Audiffren, 2009) tales como el control cognitivo, memoria, atención espacial o vigilancia. No obstante, hasta donde llega nuestro conocimiento no existen estudios previos que hayan investigado el rendimiento en atención sostenida o vigilancia durante el ejercicio físico puntual. De hecho, de forma general la presente tesis doctoral tiene una perspectiva bastante ambiciosa y pretende investigar los efectos de un esfuerzo puntual a diferentes intensidades sobre tareas de vigilancia y atención sostenida (Experimentos 1-4). Además, también se pretende valorar los efectos de un programa de entrenamiento regular en vigilancia o atención sostenida y en el control inhibitorio (Experimento 5). Los Experimentos 1-4 se plantearon como una primera aproximación empírica al estudio de la vigilancia o atención sostenida durante el ejercicio físico puntual, teniendo en cuenta la intensidad del ejercicio como un moderador crucial. Para ello, diseñamos cuatro experimentos para abordar esta cuestión. En el Experimento 1, los participantes completaron la tarea psicomotora de vigilancia (TVP) durante 20’ en dos condiciones: de esfuerzo-bajo (20’ a una intensidad baja) y de esfuerzo incremental (20’ pedaleando al 40%, 60%, 80%, y 100% del umbral ventilatorio anaeróbico -UVA-), manteniéndose 5 10 Capítulo I. Resumen General minutos en cada una de las intensidades. En el Experimento 2, se disoció el efecto de la intensidad del tiempo en tarea. Los participantes realizaron la TVP en cuatro sesiones: 5’ al 40% del UVA, 5’ al 60% del UVA, 5’ al 80% del UVA y 5’ al 100% del UVA. En el Experimento 3, evaluamos nuevamente utilizando la TVP aunque en esta ocasión con una versión de 45’en una condición de esfuerzo ligero-moderado al 75% del UVA y se comparó con una condición de esfuerzo-bajo (control). El siguiente paso en el desarrollo de la presente tesis doctoral fue profundizar acerca de los resultados obtenidos en los Experimentos 1-3. Los resultados de estos experimentos nos condujeron a preguntarnos sobre qué pasaría si investigáramos el efecto del ejercicio físico puntual a intensidad ligera-moderada en una tarea de atención sostenida tipo “oddball”. Cambiando el tipo de tarea, modificábamos el tipo de demandas que requería la TVP, incrementando las demandas perceptuales. Para comprobar esta cuestión, diseñamos el Experimento 4, donde un grupo de mujeres jóvenes universitarias realizó una tarea de discriminación perceptiva tipo “oddball” (con una probabilidad de aparición del objetivo de .1) mientras pedaleaban en un cicloergómetro bajo dos condiciones experimentales diferenciadas en la intensidad del esfuerzo: esfuerzo-bajo y esfuerzo ligero-moderado. El orden de presentación de las dos condiciones fue contrabalanceada a través de las participantes. Los resultados del Experimento 4 mostraron que el esfuerzo ligero-moderado mostró una tendencia a mejorar el tiempo de reacción (TR) a lo largo de toda la tarea si bien no se encontraron diferencias significativas en exactitud para los ensayos en los que aparecía el estímulo objetivo ni en la exactitud a los estímulos no objetivos. Los resultados de los Experimentos 1-4 sugieren que el esfuerzo ligero-moderado mejora la velocidad de respuesta en tareas con demandas de atención sostenida con independencia de la relevancia del estímulo objetivo. Dadas las demandas de atención sostenida tanto de la PVT como de la oddball, estos resultados nos lleva a pensar que la realización de un esfuerzo ligero-moderado mejora la función ejecutiva, replicando resultados previos, más allá del posible efecto de activación/arousal general sobre funcionamiento sensoriomotor. Nuestro siguiente paso fue el de profundizar acerca de los efectos provocados por el ejercicio físico realizado de forma regular sobre el funcionamiento cognitivo. Mientras que en los anteriores Experimentos 1-4, hicimos referencia a los efectos del ejercicio físico puntual sobre el funcionamiento cognitivo (vigilancia y percepción), en el 11 Capítulo I. Resumen General Experimento 5 exploramos los efectos de la práctica regular de actividad física sobre la vigilancia y el control inhibitorio. El Experimento 5 tiene como objetivo principal analizar los efectos de un programa de entrenamiento físico de diez semanas de duración (3 sesiones de una hora por semana) en las características antropométricas [Índice de Masa Corporal (IMC)], capacidades fisiológicas (UVA, potencia máxima y potencia relativa) y el rendimiento en vigilancia y el control inhibitorio en una población de 32 mujeres jóvenes sanas. Con la intención de valorar la intervención, realizamos dos mediciones (pre-post). En ellas, se recogieron datos de las características antropométricos y datos de las capacidades fisiológicas. Además, se completaron dos tareas cognitivas para evaluar el rendimiento en vigilancia o atención sostenida y para evaluar el control inhibitorio: 1) tarea de atención sostenida a la respuesta (SART) y 2) tarea de TR simple. Crucialmente, la intervención del Experimento 5 demostró su eficacia a nivel físico ya que mejoraron significativamente las características antropométricas y los parámetros fisiológicos de las participantes. Sin embargo, no se encontraron resultados estadísticamente significativos en las tareas comportamentales. Por tanto, los resultados no fueron coincidentes con la mayor parte investigaciones encontradas en la literatura sobre ejercicio físico regular a intensidades aeróbicas moderadas y efectos positivos sobre las funciones cognitivas. Los resultados se discuten en el marco de la literatura sobre esta temática, teniendo en cuenta además las limitaciones propias de este estudio exploratorio. En resumen, la presente tesis doctoral que tiene como objetivo principal estudiar los efectos del ejercicio físico puntual sobre el funcionamiento cognitivo (vigilancia y percepción), sugieren que el esfuerzo ligero-moderado aumenta la activación general y mejora la velocidad de respuesta en tareas de atención sostenida con independencia de la relevancia del estímulo objetivo. Además, no replicamos el resultado de investigaciones previas que demostraron el efecto de un entrenamiento físico en el rendimiento cognitivo.
Article
Background Individuals with an ADHD diagnosis have increased levels of interfering thoughts, especially in the form of mind wandering. This was mostly investigated in sustained attention tasks; hence it is unclear whether the findings are only due to their difficulties in those types of tasks. Moreover, it is unclear how the amount of control invested in the task will affect those differences between control and ADHD groups. Method ADHD and matched control groups performed the Stroop task under high and low conflict conditions while measuring their interfering thoughts level. Results Individuals with ADHD have more interfering thoughts compared to a control group even when they are able to change their control level according to the task conflict. Conclusion Interfering thoughts are an independent predictor of ADHD impairments, observed regardless of the degree of control invested in the task.
Article
Recently, concerns have been raised on the adverse impacts of social media on people's subjective well-being. Using a large and representative sample of Chinese individuals, we explore the effects of social media browsing and social media communication on users' life satisfaction. The results show that while social media browsing has a strong negative impact on users' subjective well-being, there is no significant impact generated by social media communication. The relative income and social comparison are the main drivers of the result. The negative impact of social media browsing is more pronounced for low-income people than for high-income people. We do not find support for other possible mechanisms like information cocoons of information fragmentation.
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Technical Report
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Many employees justify their cyberloafing (i.e., non-work-related Internet use during work time) behavior as a mental break. However, there is little empirical research to examine the mental recovery effect of cyberloafing. This study aims to design a lab experiment to investigate the impact of cyberloafing on employee mental fatigue and task productivity. The study also aims to compare cyberloafing with a traditional means of mental breaks (i.e., walking outside for a while) in alleviating mental fatigue and improving productivity. The expected findings of this study are (1) cyberloafing can help employees reduce mental fatigue to some extent by replenishing their attentional resources; however, (2) compared with walking outside for a while, the mental recovery effect of cyberloafing may not be so good because it may take employees more time and effort to switch their attention from cyberloafing (than from walking outside) back to the work task. Neuroscience tools will be employed to support the expected findings above.
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Background: ADHD is related to increased mind wandering (MW). However, it is not clear whether this is restricted by the methods used to measure MW in those studies. Moreover, it is not certain whether MW is an independent characteristic of people with ADHD or only due to their poor performance level in the primary task (the task from which attention wanders). Method: Participants with ADHD were compared to two control groups: high performers and low performers in the primary task who had a similar performance level to the ADHD group. Results: The ADHD group had greater MW than the two control groups, while no difference in MW was found between the two control groups. Conclusion: Increased MW is an independent characteristic of ADHD. This was further discussed within the context of different theories regarding ADHD and MW.
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We tested the domain-specificity or domain-generality of academic diligence in middle-school students using the Academic Diligence Task (ADT), a performance task that assesses effort on tedious problems in the face of digital distractions. Students in 8th grade (N = 439) were randomly assigned to individually complete a math, verbal, or spatial ADT or to a combination of all three. Confirmatory factor analyses suggested domain-generality, as did the fact that ADT scores in a given domain did not differentially predict academic achievement in that domain. Results indicated that all three ADTs had adequate external and predictive validity, but convergent validity varied. Whereas both math and verbal ADT scores correlated with teacher-reports of grit and self-control, only math scores consistently correlated with self-reports of the same constructs; these measures did not correlate with spatial ADT scores. Thus, the math ADT is the best performance measure of diligence, followed by the verbal ADT.
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Purpose Persons with aphasia (PWAs) have been shown to have impaired attention skills that may interfere with their ability to successfully participate in speech and language therapy. Fluctuations in attention can be detected using physiological measures such as electroencephalography (EEG), but these measures can be impractical for clinical use. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate observable behavioral signs of attention as a means of measuring within-session fluctuations in attention by comparing behavioral ratings to physiological changes. Other aims were to understand the relationship between observable behaviors and task performance and to determine whether syntactic complexity influences behavioral attention. Method Ten PWAs and 10 neurologically healthy adults underwent a sentence-reading task with 45 active and 45 passive sentences while video/audio and EEG data were recorded continuously. EEG data for each trial were classified into one of four levels of attention using a classification algorithm (Berka et al., 2004), and video/audio data were scored for accuracy and behavioral engagement by two trained speech-language pathologist students using a behavioral rating scale of inattention (Whyte et al., 1996). Results Results showed that behavioral engagement was significantly correlated with task performance, with higher engagement scores associated with fewer errors. Behavioral engagement did not differ based on syntactic complexity for either group, but PWAs had significantly lower behavioral engagement scores when they were in lower/distracted states of physiologically measured vigilant attention. Conclusion Behavioral observation may provide an alternative means of detecting clinically significant lapses in attention during aphasia therapy.
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Vigilanz, Vitalität und Gesundheit sind wesentliche Bestimmungsfaktoren für die menschliche Leistungsfähigkeit. Die Qualität, aber auch die Ausdauer der Leistungserbringung wird von Prozessen gesteuert, die tief im menschlichen Körper verankert sind. Diese Prozesse sind einerseits physiologisch, also rein körperlich und damit teilweise der Beobachtung und Messung zugänglich.
Effectively mitigating the vigilance decrement (the decrease in performance on tasks requiring sustained attention over time) is one of the most important human factors problems studied today. Despite this, the underlying theory of vigilance and its failings are still disputed. The two primary theories espoused by researchers today are a cognitive resource theory of vigilance and a mindlessness theory of vigilance. This literature review examines the literature investigating points of conflict between these theories, revealing that the majority of experimental research supports a cognitive resource theory of vigilance. Additionally, we examine research investigating the effect of active rest breaks on cognitive and affective restoration. The literature available on cognitive restoration does not support the suggestion that active rest breaks help restore vigilance-relevant cognitive resources more effectively than passive rest breaks. The research does however, support the proposition that more active rest breaks can reduce stress and increase affect. The potential for increasing worker well-being with more active breaks warrants additional research.
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Purpose This paper aims to investigate the mediating and moderating roles of mindfulness in explaining the influences of performance goal attributes (e.g. difficulty, specificity and performance pressure), moral justification and peer unethical sales behavior on unintentional unethical behavior in the sales context. In this study, goal attributes and peer unethical sales behavior are proposed to positively impact unethical selling behavior. Especially, mindfulness and moral justification are explored as mediators of these relationships. Moreover, mindfulness also moderates the influence of peer’s unethical sales behavior on moral justification. Design/methodology/approach A sample of 188 salespeople working in companies in Vietnam is included to test the conceptual framework. Partial least squares structural equations modeling and SmartPLS v3 were implemented to test the path model. Findings This study highlights the mediating and moderating roles of mindfulness in explaining unintentional unethical behavior. The findings indicate that sales performance goals negatively influence mindfulness and positively influence unethical behavior. In the mediating role, mindfulness mediates the relationships between goal attributes and moral justification. Further, moral justification also mediates the influence of mindfulness on unethical behavior. In the moderating role, mindfulness plays a significant impact on the positive relationships between peers’ unethical selling behavior and moral justification. Research limitations/implications Data are collected from salespeople in Vietnam. Therefore, the results are limited. Practical implications While many organizations use goal-setting as a tool to promote employees’ performance, it is warned that goal variables (e.g. difficulty, specificity and performance pressure) may lead to unethical behavior. Interestingly, people may fail to notice moral dilemmas because of focusing on the goals. Furthermore, ethical erosion in organizations may spur unethical selling behavior. Therefore, salespeople sell unethically without intention to do so. Proposing mindfulness as self-regulation, these findings may explain the reasons people display unintentional unethical behavior. Therefore, it is crucial to set performance goals for employees not only to promote their performance but also to prevent unethical behaviors. Social implications By focusing on the roles of mindfulness that foster unintended unethical practices, this study provides important implications for governments and policymakers. For example, governments may emphasize ethical codes to clearly definite which practices are unethical. Moreover, ethics training should be considered to enhance ethical cognition in people. Originality/value Emphasizing unintentional unethical selling behaviors in sales context, this study tests a research framework which highlights the roles of mindfulness in explaining the dark effects of performance goals on people’s cognition and behavior. Therefore, this paper contributes to a deeper understanding of ethical blind spots in people’s cognition.
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Breaks are a fundamental part of our work life and have been studied in various settings before. This article investigates their importance and impact within design thinking teams. The research is based on a series of interviews conducted with design thinking team members and coaches in combination with observations of their behavior during and after breaks at the HPI School of Design Thinking. Our analysis shows that breaks in this setting can be characterized by three dimensions: the activity level (active or passive), a social aspect (group or individual) and the distance to the project (related or unrelated to the project). Furthermore, we discuss the effect of these different characteristics on the team and relate our findings to research from other areas.
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The ability to remain vigilant over long periods of time is critical for many everyday tasks, but controlled studies of visual sustained attention show that performance declines over time when observers are required to respond to rare stimulus events (targets) occurring in a sequence of standard stimulus events (nontargets). When target discrimination is perceptually difficult, this vigilance decrement manifests as a decline in perceptual sensitivity. We examined whether sudden-onset stimuli could act as exogenous attentional cues to improve sensitivity during a traditional sustained attention task. Sudden-onset cues presented immediately before each stimulus attenuated the sensitivity decrement, but only when stimulus timing (the interstimulus interval [ISI]) was constant. When stimulus timing was variable, exogenous cues increased overall sensitivity but did not prevent performance decline. Finally, independent of the effects of sudden onsets, a constant ISI improved vigilance performance. Our results demonstrate that exogenous attention enhances perceptual sensitivity during vigilance performance, but that this effect is dependent on observers' being able to predict the timing of stimulus events. Such a result indicates a strong interaction between endogenous and exogenous attention during vigilance. We relate our findings to a resource model of vigilance, as well as to theories of endogenous and exogenous attention over short time periods.
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Although mind wandering occupies a large proportion of our waking life, its neural basis and relation to ongoing behavior remain controversial. We report an fMRI study that used experience sampling to provide an online measure of mind wandering during a concurrent task. Analyses focused on the interval of time immediately preceding experience sampling probes demonstrate activation of default network regions during mind wandering, a finding consistent with theoretical accounts of default network functions. Activation in medial prefrontal default network regions was observed both in association with subjective self-reports of mind wandering and an independent behavioral measure (performance errors on the concurrent task). In addition to default network activation, mind wandering was associated with executive network recruitment, a finding predicted by behavioral theories of off-task thought and its relation to executive resources. Finally, neural recruitment in both default and executive network regions was strongest when subjects were unaware of their own mind wandering, suggesting that mind wandering is most pronounced when it lacks meta-awareness. The observed parallel recruitment of executive and default network regions--two brain systems that so far have been assumed to work in opposition--suggests that mind wandering may evoke a unique mental state that may allow otherwise opposing networks to work in cooperation. The ability of this study to reveal a number of crucial aspects of the neural recruitment associated with mind wandering underscores the value of combining subjective self-reports with online measures of brain function for advancing our understanding of the neurophenomenology of subjective experience.
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Perceptual load is a key determinant of distraction by task-irrelevant stimuli (e.g., Lavie, N. (2005). Distracted and confused?: Selective attention under load. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9, 75–82). Here we establish the role of perceptual load in determining an internal form of distraction by task-unrelated thoughts (TUTs or “mind-wandering”). Four experiments demonstrated reduced frequency of TUTs with high compared to low perceptual load in a visual-search task. Alternative accounts in terms of increased demands on responses, verbal working memory or motivation were ruled out and clear effects of load were found for unintentional TUTs. Individual differences in load effects on internal (TUTs) and external (response-competition) distractors were correlated. These results suggest that exhausting attentional capacity in task-relevant processing under high perceptual load can reduce processing of task-irrelevant information from external and internal sources alike.
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The neuropsychological investigation of frontal lobe functioning requires a new approach. We have presented one possible framework. The focus of study should be defined categories of tasks that allow measurement of the component processes necessary for successful task completion. Our hypotheses derive from previous investigations showing dissociations of behaviors. Our approach is rooted in cognitive theory. Converging investigations from anatomy, neuropsychology, and physiology can be used to provide congruent evidence to demonstrate dissociable human prefrontal functions.
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The prefrontal cortex has long been suspected to play an important role in cognitive control, in the ability to orchestrate thought and action in accordance with internal goals. Its neural basis, however, has remained a mystery. Here, we propose that cognitive control stems from the active maintenance of patterns of activity in the prefrontal cortex that represent goals and the means to achieve them. They provide bias signals to other brain structures whose net effect is to guide the flow of activity along neural pathways that establish the proper mappings between inputs, internal states, and outputs needed to perform a given task. We review neurophysiological, neurobiological, neuroimaging, and computational studies that support this theory and discuss its implications as well as further issues to be addressed
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Cases in which salient visual stimuli do not register consciously are known to occur in special conditions, such as the presentation of dissimilar stimuli to the two eyes or when images are stabilized on the retina. Here, we report a striking phenomenon of 'visual disappearance' observed with normal-sighted observers under natural conditions. When a global moving pattern is superimposed on high-contrast stationary or slowly moving stimuli, the latter disappear and reappear alternately for periods of several seconds. We show that this motion-induced blindness (MIB) phenomenon is unlikely to reflect retinal suppression, sensory masking or adaptation. The phenomenology observed includes perceptual grouping effects, object rivalry and visual field anisotropy. This is very similar to that found in other types of visual disappearance, as well as in clinical cases of attention deficits, in which partial invisibility might occur despite the primary visual areas being intact. Disappearance might reflect a disruption of attentional processing, which shifts the system into a winner-takes-all mode, uncovering the dynamics of competition between object representations within the human visual system.
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This article reviews the hypothesis that mind wandering can be integrated into executive models of attention. Evidence suggests that mind wandering shares many similarities with traditional notions of executive control. When mind wandering occurs, the executive components of attention appear to shift away from the primary task, leading to failures in task performance and superficial representations of the external environment. One challenge for incorporating mind wandering into standard executive models is that it often occurs in the absence of explicit intention--a hallmark of controlled processing. However, mind wandering, like other goal-related processes, can be engaged without explicit awareness; thus, mind wandering can be seen as a goal-driven process, albeit one that is not directed toward the primary task.
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Cognitive control impairments in healthy older adults may partly reflect disturbances in the ability to actively maintain goal-relevant information, a function that depends on the engagement of lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC). In 2 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, healthy young and older adults performed versions of a task in which contextual cues provide goal-relevant information used to bias processing of subsequent ambiguous probes. In Study 1, a blocked design and manipulation of the cue-probe delay interval revealed a generalized pattern of enhanced task-related brain activity in older adults but combined with a specific delay-related reduction of activity in lateral PFC regions. In Study 2, a combined blocked/event-related design revealed enhanced sustained (i.e., across-trial) activity but a reduction in transient trial-related activation in lateral PFC among older adults. Further analyses of within-trial activity dynamics indicated that, within these and other lateral PFC regions, older adults showed reduced activation during the cue and delay period but increased activation at the time of the probe, particularly on high-interference trials. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that age-related impairments in goal maintenance abilities cause a compensatory shift in older adults from a proactive (seen in young adults) to a reactive cognitive control strategy.
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Our eyes continually move even while we fix our gaze on an object. Although these fixational eye movements have a magnitude that should make them visible to us, we are unaware of them. If fixational eye movements are counteracted, our visual perception fades completely as a result of neural adaptation. So, our visual system has a built-in paradox — we must fix our gaze to inspect the minute details of our world, but if we were to fixate perfectly, the entire world would fade from view. Owing to their role in counteracting adaptation, fixational eye movements have been studied to elucidate how the brain makes our environment visible. Moreover, because we are not aware of these eye movements, they have been studied to understand the underpinnings of visual awareness. Recent studies of fixational eye movements have focused on determining how visible perception is encoded by neurons in various visual areas of the brain.
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Seemingly distinct cognitive tasks often activate similar anatomical networks. For example, the right fronto-parietal cortex is active across a wide variety of paradigms suggesting that these regions may subserve a general cognitive function. We utilized fMRI and a GO/NOGO task consisting of two conditions, one with intermittent unpredictive "cues-to-attend" and the other without any "cues-to-attend," in order to investigate areas involved in inhibition of a prepotent response and top-down attentional control. Sixteen subjects (5 male, ages ranging from 20 to 30 years) responded to an alternating sequence of the letters X and Y and withheld responding when the alternating sequence was broken (e.g., when X followed an X). Cues were rare stimulus font-color changes, which were linked to a simple instruction to attend to the task at hand. We hypothesized that inhibitions and cues, despite requiring quite different responses from subjects, might engage similar top-down attentional control processes and would thus share a common network of anatomical substrates. Although inhibitions and cues activated a number of distinct brain regions, a similar network of right dorsolateral prefrontal and inferior parietal regions was active for both. These results suggest that this network, commonly activated for response inhibition, may subserve a more general cognitive control process involved in allocating top-down attentional resources.
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An important aspect of cognitive control is the ability to appropriately select, update, and maintain contextual information related to behavioral goals, and to use this information to coordinate processing over extended periods. In our novel, neurobiologically based, connectionist computational model, the selection, updating, and maintenance of context occur through interactions between the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and dopamine (DA) neurotransmitter system. Phasic DA activity serves two simultaneous and synergistic functions: (1) a gating function, which regulates the access of information to active memory mechanisms subserved by PFC; and (2) a learning function, which allows the system to discover what information is relevant for selection as context. We present a simulation that establishes the computational viability of these postulated neurobiological mechanisms for subserving control functions.
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Neuropsychological results are increasingly cited in cognitive theories although their methodology has been severely criticised. The book argues for an eclectic approach but particularly stresses the use of single-case studies. A range of potential artifacts exists when inferences are made from such studies to the organisation of normal function – for example, resource differences among tasks, premorbid individual differences, and reorganisation of function. The use of “strong” and “classical” dissociations minimises potential artifacts. The theoretical convergence between findings from fields where cognitive neuropsychology is well developed and those from the normal literature strongly suggests that the potential artifacts are not critical. The fields examined in detail in this respect are short-term memory, reading, writing, the organisation of input and output speech systems, and visual perception. Functional dissociation data suggest that not only are input systems organised modularly, but so are central systems. This conclusion is supported by findings on impairment of knowledge, visual attention, supervisory functions, memory, and consciousness.
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Rapid changes in consumer technology mean that many of us now carry a range of automated cueing devices. The value of organisers and pagers in cueing specific to-be-remembered items, particularly for people with memory deficits, is clear. Here we investigate whether cueing can serve a more general purpose—not in reminding us of a particular event or action, but in helping us to periodically take a more “executive” stance to our activities. In these studies we use a highly reduced “model task”, the Sustained Attention to Response Test (SART)—designed to provoke “absentminded” lapses in action. Seven patients with right hemisphere stroke and who experienced difficulties in maintaining attention completed the task under two conditions. Periodic auditory cues that carried no content other than by association with the patient's remembered goal and which had no predictive value for events in the task were, nevertheless, associated with significant improvements in accuracy compared with an un-cued condition. A second experiment suggests that these improvements are not necessarily accompanied by an overall slowing in performance or a generally decreased tendency to make responses. We speculate that the transient hiatus in responses observed immediately following a cue serves a role in disrupting automatic, stimulus-driven responding and allows a more attentive stance to be re-established. Consistent with this view, in a final study we show that disruption to responses is substantially greater in a variant of the task designed to maximally encourage “unsupervised” action. We suggest that interruption to current activity can—at times—be a useful aid to keeping track of one's overall goals. The potential role of such cueing in helping dysexecutive patients to generalise training from the clinic to everyday settings is discussed.
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The present study was designed to explore whether sustained attention tasks can be adequately described by a mindlessness perspective or a limited resource perspective. One hundred and seventy six participants (88 women and 88 men) were assigned at random to one of two signal salience conditions: high and low. Performance and self-reported states, Energetic Arousal, Tense Arousal, Task-Related-Thoughts, and Task-Unrelated-Thoughts, were collected. Overall performance efficiency and the rate of the vigilance decrement were influenced by the salience level of the signal being observed. Post-task self-reports of Task-Unrelated-Thoughts were significantly related to overall performance efficiency, but not with the vigilance decrement. Post-task self-reports of Energetic Arousal were significantly related to both overall performance and the vigilance decrement. The results support a resource theory perspective in regards to the vigilance decrement and are in contradiction to the mindlessness theory in regards to the vigilance decrement.
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Insufficient attention to tasks can result in slips of action as automatic, unintended action sequences are triggered inappropriately. Such slips arise in part from deficits in sustained attention, which are particularly likely to happen following frontal lobe and white matter damage in traumatic brain injury (TBI). We present a reliable laboratory paradigm that elicits such slips of action and demonstrates high correlations between the severity of brain damage and relative-reported everyday attention failures in a group of 34 TBI patients. We also demonstrate significant correlations between self-and informant-reported everyday attentional failures and performance on this paradigm in a group of 75 normal controls. The paradigm (the Sustained Attention to Response Task—SART) involves the withholding of key presses to rare (one in nine) targets. Performance on the SART correlates significantly with performance on tests of sustained attention, but not other types of attention, supporting the view that this is indeed a measure of sustained attention. We also show that errors (false presses) on the SART can be predicted by a significant shortening of reaction times in the immediately preceding responses, supporting the view that these errors are a result of `drift' of controlled processing into automatic responding consequent on impaired sustained attention to task. We also report a highly significant correlation of −0.58 between SART performance and Glasgow Coma Scale Scores in the TBI group.
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We have previously demonstrated that performance on a brief and conceptually simple laboratory task (the Sustained Attention to Response Test: SART) was predictive of everyday attentional failures and action slips in brain injured patients and normal control participants. The SART is a go-no-go paradigm in which the no-go target appears rarely and unpredictably. Performance on this measure was previously interpreted as requiring sustained attention to response rather than a putative response inhibition capacity. Three further studies are presented which support this claim. They demonstrate that performance is crucially determined by the duration of time over which attention must be maintained on ones own actions that this demand underpins the tasks relationship to everyday attentional lapses. In keeping with a number of recent studies it suggests that inefficiencies in the maintenance of attentional control may be apparent over much briefer periods than is traditionally considered using vigilance measures and analysis.
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Dual-task studies assessed the effects of cellular-phone conversations on performance of a simulated driving task. Performance was not disrupted by listening to radio broadcasts or listening to a book on tape. Nor was it disrupted by a continuous shadowing task using a handheld phone, ruling out, in this case, dual-task interpretations associated with holding the phone, listening, or speaking, However significant interference was observed in a word-generation variant of the shadowing task, and this deficit increased with the difficulty of driving. Moreover unconstrained conversations using either a handheld or a hands-free cell phone resulted in a twofold increase in the failure to detect simulated traffic signals and slower reactions to those signals that were detected. We suggest that cellular-phone use disrupts performance by diverting attention to an engaging cognitive context other than the one immediately associated with driving.
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College Ss repeated a word and then rated the word along scales of the semantic differential. Changes in ratings between normal and satiation conditions reveal a movement of ratings toward the meaningless points of scales. This phenomenon is a cognitive form of reactive inhibition and is related to Osgood's theory of representational mediation processes. A 2nd experiment shows that these mediation processes are central rather than peripheral-muscular activities by having one group think the words and another group actually satiate by saying the words.
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In multiple comparison we may compare not only means but also variances, proportions, medians, correlations, etc. A general method is presented and illustrated for use of a particular statistic.
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Even dissimilar tasks interfere with one another when done together. We used visual search to examine the underlying cause of such interference. In many models, visual search is a process of biased competition controlled by a template describing the target to be sought. When the display is processed, matching against this template guides attention to the target. We show that increasing template complexity increased interference with a dissimilar concurrent task, story memory. This result was independent of reaction time: Increases in template complexity were associated with no increase in search time in Experiment 1 and with a decrease in search time in Experiment 2. The results show that the dual-task demands of visual search reflect the complexity of the template used in task control, and that this factor can be isolated from other sources of difficulty.
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Through a widespread efferent projection system, the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system supplies norepinephrine throughout the central nervous system. Initial studies provided critical insight into the basic organization and properties of this system. More recent work identifies a complicated array of behavioral and electrophysiological actions that have in common the facilitation of processing of relevant, or salient, information. This involves two basic levels of action. First, the system contributes to the initiation and maintenance of behavioral and forebrain neuronal activity states appropriate for the collection of sensory information (e.g. waking). Second, within the waking state, this system modulates the collection and processing of salient sensory information through a diversity of concentration-dependent actions within cortical and subcortical sensory, attention, and memory circuits. Norepinephrine-dependent modulation of long-term alterations in synaptic strength, gene transcription and other processes suggest a potentially critical role of this neurotransmitter system in experience-dependent alterations in neural function and behavior. The ability of a given stimulus to increase locus coeruleus discharge activity appears independent of affective valence (appetitive vs. aversive). Combined, these observations suggest that the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system is a critical component of the neural architecture supporting interaction with, and navigation through, a complex world. These observations further suggest that dysregulation of locus coeruleus-noradrenergic neurotransmission may contribute to cognitive and/or arousal dysfunction associated with a variety of psychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, sleep and arousal disorders, as well as certain affective disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Independent of an etiological role in these disorders, the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system represents an appropriate target for pharmacological treatment of specific attention, memory and/or arousal dysfunction associated with a variety of behavioral/cognitive disorders.