Conscious awareness across time as a function of task and stimulus factors

Lead Research Organisation: Goldsmiths College
Department Name: Psychology

Abstract

Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Publications

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Caparos S (2010) The spatial focus of attention is controlled at perceptual and cognitive levels. in Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance

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Ghahghaei S (2013) Effects of load on the time course of attentional engagement, disengagement, and orienting in reading. in Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)

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Linnell KJ (2013) Urbanization decreases attentional engagement. in Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance

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Linnell KJ (2011) Perceptual and cognitive load interact to control the spatial focus of attention. in Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance

 
Description We have shown that engagement with the spatial selection of a first target increases the attentional blink to a second target following hard on its heels.

NEW PARAGRAPH
We have used the effects of load (here word frequency) to track for the first time the timecourse of the engagement, disengagement and reorienting of spatial attention in the real-life task of reading (see Ghahghaei, Linnell, et al, 2013 QJEP). The new knowledge generated should help us better to understand, and to remediate, certain forms of dyslexia.

NEW PARAGRAPH
We have also advanced our understanding of the effects of load (here extraneous mental load and stimulus perceptual complexity) on the engagement of spatial attention and the avoidance of distraction from neighbouring stimuli (Caparos and Linnell, 2009 Visual Cognition, 2010 JEPHPP; Linnell and Caparos, 2011 JEPHPP, 2013 Frontiers). Our new understanding challenges 'load' theory, the dominant theory of spatial selection, in suggesting that mental resources are involved in, and indeed required for, focusing perceptual resources on target objects.

NEW PARAGRAPH
In the process of achieving the above, we refined the dominant paradigm used in studying spatial selective attention (the flanker paradigm) and developed powerful new analyses for it. The refined paradigm played a key role in the success of a separate research programme funded by the ESRC to examine the "local bias in attention" of a remote people. Indeed, it provided the methodological foundation for our claim that urbanisation decreases attentional engagement (Linnell et al, 2013, JEPHPP).
Exploitation Route Following on from the previous section outlining key findings, we envisage our research contributing to developments in the understanding and remediation of certain forms of dyslexia. Eventually, these developments could result in changing educational practice in schools.

NEW PARAGRAPH
More generally, our research is relevant to a much wider range of real-life behaviours, many of which are characterised by periods of engagement punctuated by disengagement and reorienting. The relationship between engagement and disengagement/reorienting may define different attentional styles that are characteristic of different groups/individuals (e.g., urbanised versus remote, Linnell et al, 2013, JEPHPP; autism spectrum disorder versus typically developing controls).
Sectors Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Other

 
Description As outlined in the previous section, the award supported the development of a paradigm which played a key role in the success of a subsequent research programme funded 2009-2012 by the ESRC to examine the "local bias in attention" of a remote people. Indeed, the paradigm provided the methodological foundation for the finding that urbanisation decreases attentional engagement (Linnell et al, 2013, JEPHPP). This finding was written up as an ESRC case study and generated considerable media interest and public engagement. For example, it was reported by the education correspondent from the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2013/mar/11/technology-internet-pupil-attention-teaching) and resulted in appearances on BBC World News and Radio 4's "The World Tonight" programme and a steady flow of correspondence with teachers and parents.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Education,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description ESRC Project Grant applied for as co-applicant
Amount £495,000 (GBP)
Funding ID ES/G022224/1 
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2009 
End 08/2012