• Robin Holding Kay added an answer:
    What is the attention span of today's student [digital native] in an acaedmic setting?

    Brain Rules by John Medina suggests that attention span of a person/student [presumably in an academic setting] is about 10 minutes.  However, after I dug around I could not find any current  research to support this.  Certainly we are told and assume that attention span is relatively short for today's digital native, however, I cannot find much research supporting this claim.  The issue seems a tad important considering, many teachers use lectures to teach. 

    Robin Holding Kay

    @Mariusz - Very interesting and that makes sense.  Do you think there is any reason to believe that, thorough experience, the sensitivity of the nervous systems and attention drift can be altered by being exposed to a constant array of short, stimulating messages.  In other words, does the nervous system adapt and develop a new norm for attention drift of shift?

  • Jim Uttley added an answer:
    Is there a standard approach for cleaning and analysing pupil dilation data?

    I have an eye-tracker dataset that includes pupil size information. The data was recorded primarily for examining eye movements and fixations, but I am interested in looking into whether the pupil size data says anything interesting about cognitive effort during a peripheral detection task. However, I am relatively new to pupillometry and having read some of the literature around pupil dilation and cognitive effort/attention, I can't identify a standard approach to cleaning and analysing a pupil size dataset (e.g. how to smooth the data, deal with blinks or missing data, how to identify outlying datapoints etc.). Is there such a standard approach or method?

    Jim Uttley

    Hi Andrew, thanks for the useful link, I will take a look!



  • Jim Uttley added an answer:
    Can lapses of attention be measured in (near) real-time?

    I'm thinking about SCR, EEG, fMRI, eye scanning, etc... indices that would indicate inattention during reading, driving etc ... References to relevant literature would be appreciated. Tx

    Jim Uttley

    Hi Yaron,

    Eye-tracking can provide some useful indicators about attention, either through the pattern of eye movements and duration of fixations (e.g. during reading - Foulsham, Farley and Kingstone, 2013), or through the diameter of the pupil, as an indicator of cognitive load or attention (e.g. where our attention is focused - Kang & Wheatley, 2015). In terms of other methods for measuring inattention, this paper may be useful -

    In addition, we have found a concurrent dual-task can indicate levels of attention / inattention. We used an ongoing reaction time task alongside eye-tracking, with reaction times indicating whether attention was focused on the dual task or, in instances when reaction times were significantly slower than average, if attention was focused elsewhere, potentially towards something in the visual environment (Fotios, Uttley, Cheal & Hara, 2015).

    We are investigating whether Skin Conductance Response can be used as an indicator of visual attention. We don't have an answer yet, so if you find any relevant literature on this subject please post back on this thread.

    Links to references are below.


    Jim Uttley

    + 3 more attachments

  • Jim Uttley added an answer:
    Can skin conductance responses be used to indicate when we see something that grabs our attention?

    I would like to use skin conductance responses to indicate when a participant has seen something that is very salient to them and grabs their attention during unconstrained viewing of real, natural stimuli. This would involve using eye-tracking in combination with measuring SCR, and seeing what the participant was looking at when a SCR was evoked. However I am new to the SCR method and am not sure if this approach is feasible or is valid from a theoretical standpoint. Any advice or links to relevant papers would be greatly appreciated.


    Jim Uttley

    Jim Uttley

     Thanks for your response Thomas. Our proposed study would be exploratory in nature so yes, one issue may be whether there are enough things going on that are hazardous or emotionally salient enough to evoke a SCR. I guess we won't know until we try! Your study gave us some hope though.

  • David Wolovsky added an answer:
    Does skill practice with interference benefit higher level mechanisms?

    I have read many studies on practicing interfering skills simultaneously, and as far as I can tell, they mostly claim that interfering skills make performance and retention of those skills worse, but what are the deeper/longer-term effects of practicing in this way?

    Does practicing interfering skills at the same time affect some higher level mechanisms of attention control or information resolution? It seems like this must be the case, but I haven't read anything where the researchers ask or test this question. Any resources to read or answers from interested researchers would be appreciated.

    David Wolovsky

    Dr. Misra, that's very interesting. Please explain more if you get a chance.

  • Amélia Pasqual Marques added an answer:
    Does anybody knows a posture analysis software?

    I am looking for posture analysis software. Kindly suggest me some posture analysis software which are freely available for use.

    Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter!

    Amélia Pasqual Marques

    There are a software free - SAPO

    You can see in  -

    Best wishes


  • Phuong Vu added an answer:
    Is there any type of standard survey/questionaire for determining the level of focus or attention?

    Im looking for a survey for determining level of attention of focus after an exhausting workday

    Phuong Vu

    There is an extensive research body on attention in psychology and there are many different types of attention. You can read about them and choose the most suitable test depending on the types of attention you are investigating. There are selection attention, sustained attention, focused attention, divided attention, spatial attention etc. If you have access to psychological research database, you can easily find the most common and sensitive tests that researchers use to measure different types of attention. If you dont have access drop a reply and I can write a quick brief for you.


  • Joaquin M Fuster added an answer:
    What is the best neuroscience approach of attention?

    I found three major approaches of the neurological mechanism of attention:

    a)mirror neurons related with association areas and the develop of a specific task,  

    b) lateral intraparietal cortex on forced decision task 

    c) dorsal prefrontal cortex in taks related with working memory 

    Is there another important approach? Are these systems related? Is there a better paradigm to understand attention process on a neuroscientific poinf of view?  

    Joaquin M Fuster

    Dear Roberto,

    Let me offer you my humble thoughts on the subject after long study and research experience on it in human and nonhuman primates:

    1. Attention is the cognitive function that makes optimum use of limited neural resources for the most efficient use of information in perception, memory, intelligence, and language.

    2. It has two major components served by different but interconnected neural structures: (a) an inclusionary component that coincides with what is commonly called the "focus of attention"; and an exclusionary component that serves to inhibit or suppress what is distractive, irrelevant or inefficient.

    3. Attention and its two components has very deep biological roots, because all nervous systems and their parts, at all levels of the nerve axis, have certain capabilities and limitations.

    4. Thus, for example, the knee reflex is a precursor of attention, because it involves the contraction of extensor muscles and the concomitant relaxation of flexor muscles. Or, on the sensory side, take the retina.  Ganglion cells in the center of their visual receptive field are excited by light on it, whereas those in the periphery are inhibited.  In both cases, sensory and motor, the push-pull of excitation and inhibition has the effect of optimizing contrast and efficiency.

    5.  Likewise, at the cognitive--cortical--level, a push-pull of excitation and inhibition can be observed during cognitive performance between areas in both perceptual and executive cortex, as well as as in association areas.

    6.  The interplay of the two components of attention can be most vividly demonstrated in executive (prefrontal) cortex.  At its lowest hierarchical level, in the frontal eye and head fields, the push-pull of excitation-inhibition takes control of eye and head movements to ensure eye-fixation and audio-location.

    7.  At higher prefrontal levels, attention control (part of cognitive control) serves the higher cognitive functions, facilitating what is in the focus of attention and inhibiting surrounding sensory or internal "noise," interference and irrelevance.

    8. There, at cortical levels, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is in charge of the inclusionary aspect of attention (focus), whereas the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex is in charge of the exclusionary one (inhibitory control).

    9. This applies even to the highest form of attention, which is working memory; indeed working memory is not another system or form of memory.  It is attention focused on an internal representation for a prospective action, choice or decision.

    10.  None of this excludes subcortical areas from attention; far from it.  Visual attention, for example, can be increased by mild electrical stimulation of the mesencephalic reticular formation (Fuster, Science,1958).  Limbic influences enhance attention in neocortex by conveying emotional impact to perception and memory.

    11.  ¿Can we attend to several things at the same time ("in parallel")?  Yes we can, but not with the same efficiency to all.  The most efficient attention is serial, or at most "by multiplexing."

    12.  As with any cognitive function, when attention activates a certain area or areas beyond a certain level, we are conscious of the function and its content.  But consciousness, an almost obligatory companion of attention, is not a cognitive function per se, but a phenomenon (subjective awareness) of a shifting focus of high cortical network activation.

    I hope these thoughts are helpful, at least as working hypotheses. 



    Publication: J.M. Fuster.  The Prefrontal Cortex (5th edition). Elsevier, 2015.

  • Robert W Hughes added an answer:
    Can anyone suggest some papers on what is auditory attention and auditory attention deficits in aphasia?


    I am looking for papers that describe:

    1. what is auditory attention

    2. Auditory attention deficits in people with aphasia

    Robert W Hughes


    There was a special issue of the journal Psychological Research on 'auditory attention' recently which might help address your Q1. Here's the reference for the editorial:

    Bendixen, A., & Koch, I. (2014). Editorial for special issue: Auditory attention: Merging paradigms and perspectives. Psychological Research, 78, 301-303. DOI 10.1007/s00426-014-0562-8



  • Erwin Groot added an answer:
    I'm looking for the best way to measure attention in elderly. Does anyone have a suggestion?
    Both neuropsychological and neurophysiological biomarkers have my interest.
    Erwin Groot

    Thank you very much Alfredo.

  • Vladimir A. Kulchitsky added an answer:
    Do exogenous and endogenous attention share the same capacity limitations, such that activation of one leads to deficiencies in the other?

    I am looking to see if stimulation of exogenous attention will incur deficiencies in the ability to exercise endogenous attention. I am having trouble finding supporting evidence for this premise. Are their experiments and or theories that address this issue?

    Vladimir A. Kulchitsky

    Dear Thomas, please also have a look some articles in Attachment. All the best.

    + 2 more attachments

  • Franz Plochberger added an answer:
    How do you measure Attention?

    I am doing research on Attention and its influences on emotional states.

    Franz Plochberger

    Your term "attention" is part of my researches. Look into my paradigm "Orientation of IT towards Human Being" at

  • Nikola Ilankovic added an answer:
    What effect does bright light stimulation have on attention?

    Could you tell me what should I expect after one hour the bright light stimulation
    ( > 500 lux or < 500 lux) via goggles, before performing the task, for example d2 test of attention? I would like to know something about impact on alpha and delta band.

    Additionally, is it possible that bright light stimulation will have got influence on P300 response?

    Nikola Ilankovic

    Very positive! You can see the articles from Anna Wirtz-Justize from PUK Base.

  • Richard Traub added an answer:
    What is the difference between daydreaming and mind wandering from cognitive psychology and neuroscience point of view?

    Is there any? Could you send me refs? Thanks

    Richard Traub

    McVay and Kane's papers may be useful to you:

    Also try the following searches on PubMed Central:

    A daunting number of open-source research articles and reviews here!

    The following has several chapters (by various authors) of broader relevance:

    Handbook of Individual Differences in Cognition
    Attention, Memory, and Executive Control

    Editors: Aleksandra Gruszka, Gerald Matthews, Blazej Szymura

  • Ian Wickramasekera added an answer:
    Is it more or less difficult to form flashbulb memories during divided attention?

    From previous circumstance, I have experienced divided attention during the processing of an impactful flashbulb memory shifting my focus from myself immediately to another person for concern of emotional well-being. Because flashbulb memories are said to form part of automatic processing, is it possible that during divided attention, automatic processing still occurs and is this either more or less impactful to the processing of flashbulb memories.

    A reflection of Attentional factors during the processing of an impactful Flashbulb Memory

    Ian Wickramasekera

    One obvious prediction stemming from Broadbent's filter model of attention (1958) is a definite "Yes it is more difficult."  Broadbent's theory of selective attention was that we had a limited capacity to process information with attentional resources.  Therefor, divided attention  during the episode of flashbulb memory might indicate impoverished elements to form a flashbulb memory might be present. 

    An example might be driving a truck in heavy demanding traffic while hearing news on the radio that a major celebrity has died.  You might be too worried about getting into an accident and visually scanning the road while navigating through tricky traffic to get the flashbulb of the memory to encode much of the total situation other than an image of the radio dial and feeling of sadness.  This is at least a prediction model that you could base a hypothesis from if you do the experiment.

    Broadbent, D. (1958). Perception and Communication. London: Pergamon Press.

  • Rosaleen Anne McCarthy added an answer:
    What effect does divided attention (during initial processing) have on flashbulb memory?

    I am interested in attentional factors during the processing of an impactful flashbulb memory

    Rosaleen Anne McCarthy

    Interesting question but not something you are likely to get an experimental

  • Amy Jones added an answer:
    What are the possible attentional factors and its influence on the processing of an impactful flashbulb memory?

    For my second year project, I am interested in attentional factors during the processing of an impactful flashbulb memory. Theses factors include the influence of emotion or emotional bias and divided or shifted attention or attentional bias and the positive or negative influence of these during the processing of flashbulb memories, either improving or decreasing accuracy of the memory.

    Any researchers within this area or information to inform my discussion would be greatly appreciated.

    Amy Jones

    Thank you for the response. This is definitely helpful to my project

  • Alfredo Spagna added an answer:
    Does anybody know about the script for the Lateralized Attention Network Test (Greene and collaborators)?

    or a similar task: I am with several students of the University of Nice Sopia Antipolis  investigating interhemispheric interaction in relation to the influence of hormones (for attention, visual perception, language...).

    I use usually E-Prime (1, 2 and Professional) and sometimes with SuperLab.

    Alfredo Spagna


    Contact Dariusz Asanowicz.

    IMHO, he is the only one that have found reliable results on the lateralization of the attentional networks. 

    Here his paper:



    • Source
      [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
      ABSTRACT: Despite the fact that hemispheric asymmetry of attention has been widely studied, a clear picture of this complex phenomenon is still lacking. The aim of the present study was to provide an efficient and reliable measurement of potential hemispheric asymmetries of three attentional networks, i.e. alerting, orienting and executive attention. Participants (N=125) were tested with the Lateralized Attention Network Test (LANT) that allowed us to investigate the efficiency of the networks in both visual fields (VF). We found a LVF advantage when a target occurred in an unattended location, which seems to reflect right hemisphere superiority in control of the reorienting of attention. Furthermore, a LVF advantage in conflict resolution was observed, which may indicate hemispheric asymmetry of the executive network. No VF effect for alerting was found. The results, consistent with the common notion of general right hemisphere dominance for attention, provide a more detailed account of hemispheric asymmetries of the attentional networks than previous studies using the LANT task.
      Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Brain and Cognition
  • Guido Peeters added an answer:
    Are there any good theories that link the self-as-subject concept with higher cognitive functions such as attention?

    Most theories about the 'self' evolves around the self-as-object and self-as-subject ideas. Self-as-object basically mean a representation of contents such as our body, values, identity, etc in which we can actually look at and conceptualize.

    I am interested in finding a connection between the self-as-subject (the locus in which consciousness projects from) and how it may be connected higher cognitive functions such as attention.

    Guido Peeters

    My first impression after reading Jonathan's questions was that we were not on the same wavelength.  On closer examination, however,  Jonathan may have a point and the wavelength argument need at least some explanation if it would be more than a mere fobbing off with a bromide.  Anyway, when using the term "regression" I did not have in mind a regression along a physical-neurological dimension as Jonathan seem to have. As Graeme has pointed out,  I referred to an observation about self-reference many philosophers have made and formulated in various ways. Knowing something about a particular realm implies that the knowing subject takes a perspective from outside that realm. Hence a subject directing attention to the self is split up into a self as object (of knowledge), and a (knowing) self-as-subject that cannot be reduced to the self-as-object. This operation can be repeated: turning attention to the self-as-subject, the initial self-as-subject becomes a higher-order self-as-object that is the object of a higher-order self-as-subject's knowledge. Turning attention to that higher-order self-as-subject results in a next split into still higher order selves "as object" and "as subject", and so forth.  A popular metaphor is the painter who wants to paint a scene showing himself painting that scene on a canvas. To complete the painting he has to repeat that scene on the canvas depicted in his painting, and again on the canvas depicted on the depicted canvas, and so forth for all eternity, unless he decides to step out of the scene, leaves the painting behind and goes for a hearty drink.                                                                                                                               

    In his comment, Jonathan localizes the self in the physical world. That's where it appears, soon after the self-as-subject has started reflecting on the self as an object. It is feasible that we ultimately will  achieve understanding of the neural processes through which our consciousness is established. But the "I" who achieves the understanding is taking the perspective of the self-as-subject that cannot be fully reduced to the object of the achieved understanding. Here we enter again the interminable dead end described above. However, even if we ignore that dead end and, staying on Jonathan's wavelength, continue the physical exploration of consciousness, we may anticipate another dead end beyond neurons, molecules, atoms, particles, elementary forces. 11-dimensional oscillations of strings....    The question whether this new regress is really "infinite" may be debatable. But it may end when the next step falls beyond the capacities of our understanding and physical  measuring tools—as a woodworm may never achieve understanding of our discussion going on by internet.  Time for another drink.

  • Brandon Thomas added an answer:
    Can anyone give me examples of real-world tasks where 'habitual motor responses' or 'response inhibition' play a role?
    I am looking for examples of real-world tasks (e.g. jobs, situations, etc.) where habitual motor responses are a factor, for good or for bad.

    For example, a situation where a simple motor task or response is performed many times in rapid succession, until it becomes 'automatic', and then when there is eventually a need to withhold from performing this task/response it is difficult to do so.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
    Brandon Thomas

    It is oftentimes difficult to write your new age when it is not long after your birthday. This generally applies to writing dates that change on longer timescales (months, years, etc.). Your body wants to write the old one for awhile!

  • Damian G Kelty-Stephen added an answer:
    To what extent is attention (either conscious or unconscious) shaped and influenced by the embodied nature of our minds?
    What is the role of gut feelings, nervous system, or the body in attention? Is it connected with bodily loops between the brain and the non-neural body? What does phenomenology say about it?
    Damian G Kelty-Stephen

    Simon makes some great points. Pigeonholing is what we've done to our academic disciplines, but it is not a terribly modern way to treat cognitive functions/architectures.

    Jakub-- I think that attention actually IS the wonderfully complex set of bodily movements and postures that we organisms take with respect to our environments. Simon may or may not agree, but I see this position as aligning with his delightful octopus-tentacle point.

    Best wishes,


  • Lee Barber added an answer:
    Does anyone recognize this 'transfer effect'?

    I came across an article detailing a so-called 'transfer effect' describing spontaneous memory recovery (attached). Whilst the premise is intriguing and works well with what I am currently researching I can't find any further reference to it (pre- or post- publication date).

    To the point of this question: I'm aware that the phrase "transfer effect" has been liberally used over the years, but I wonder if the effect Stone et al. describe is known within the memory literature by another name and neither I nor the authors are familiar with it (yet). It makes me think of 'the other side of the retrospective interference coin' -'retrospective assistance' perhaps? (if such a thing exists).

    Any thoughts would be enthusiastically welcomed!

    Lee Barber

    Thanks to all for taking the time to respond -have been up to my eyeballs in work, hence the late reply. It may take me some time to absorb and digest all of your comments, but I suspect I might have some follow-ups soon....

  • Leonard Goeirmanto added an answer:
    Is there book or paper that explains the relation between the attention and comprehend cognitive processes?

    I want a paper of book that explain how the cognitive process of attention and the comprehend cognitive process work together, what is common which other, how all that work...

    Leonard Goeirmanto

    these papers discussed about cognitive process relation with attention:

    + 4 more attachments

  • Pasquale dente. added an answer:
    Can anyone provide some research paper and study materials on international affective digitized sounds (IADS) and attention?

    I want to work on auditory emotional stimuli and attention and i have no research paper and articles for the reference. I am closely related to my research topic so help me to find some paper.

    Pasquale dente.

    Please, pay attention to the fact that in 2007 IADS-2 has been introduced. 

    Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (2007a). International Affective Digitized Sounds (2nd Edition; IADS-2): Affective ratings of sounds and instruction manual (Technical Report No. B-3). Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, NIMH Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention.


  • John Jupe added an answer:
    Can eye movements be used to determine if someone is paying attention to something?

    I believe some metrics related to the eye, such as pupil dilation, may give an indication of the extent to which something being looked at is being actively processed. However, I am interested in ways to determine whether someone is paying attention to (cognitively processing) what they are looking at in natural, real-world conditions, where changing light levels may make it difficult to use pupil dilation as a measure. I am therefore wondering if there are any tell-tale signs from eye movements that can reveal whether something is being actively processed and has some cognitive importance to the observer.

    For example, research on inattentional blindness shows that just because something in our environment is fixated does not mean it is perceived or processed. Also, research has been carried out about mind-wandering during reading which suggests eye movements may be qualitatively different during periods of mind-wandering compared with when what is being read is being processed. Are there any similar findings for natural situations such as just walking through an environment?

    John Jupe

    With respect to Bruce's comment. There is a covert processing system! We can attend to what's going on in peripheral vision without looking at it for sure but also what occurs in peripheral vision as actually temporally in advance of or temporally prior-to what goes on in central vision. The holistic form of attention in peripheral vision 'posts' what is considered important to central vision so that it can attend to it. Decisions have even been made subconsciously. Not only that the lens is changing its shape to get ready for the required focal length of the subject of next point of attention before saccadic eye movement begins. So peripheral vision is spatially salient / cognisant (even on a monocular basis)? Too much to go into here but attached a list of presentations that you may find of interest. 

  • Mustafa Tekke added an answer:
    What items should be considered to see if participants are paying attention/reading instructions in surveys?

    What items do you guys put in surveys to ensure that your participants are paying attention to the items and carefully reading the instructions?

    Right now I'm using the "READER" set (where you ask participants to read instructions indicating all the following questions should be answered with the word "READER" regardless of the question). I'd say roughly 15-20% of the sample gets this wrong, but I don't want to discard them.

    Anyhow, any suggestions on a quick and easy way to check if participants are engaged in the study? Thanks.

    Mustafa Tekke

    Agreed with Cheryl, higligting keywords is always useful to remain attention for participants. All the best.

  • Jordan Ross added an answer:
    How do you set up the set-shifting task in rats so that it is both odor and spatial?

    rats - setting up the attentional set shifting task - Basic info, tips

    Jordan Ross

    The first of these papers is, more or less, the first account of set-shifting with odor in rodents and the other two are variations based off of the first paper.

    Hope this helps.

    + 2 more attachments

  • Deepika Kommanapalli added an answer:
    Color blindness for blue and yellow?
    I'm designing an experiment in which I'll use the Stroop task. I'm planning to use four colors: red, green, yellow and blue. For the sake of control, one of my reviewers asked me how I can control for color blindness. I found the Ishihara cards, which can reliably help me with red and green, but I can't find a test for blue and yellow. I'd appreciate your ideas on tests for controlling this.
    Deepika Kommanapalli

    FM- 100 Hue test or Anomaloscopy or Colour Assessment and Diagnostic (CAD) test can be used to determine blue-yellow colour defects. 

About Attention

Focusing on certain aspects of current experience to the exclusion of others. It is the act of heeding or taking notice or concentrating.

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