Individual differences in temporal selective attention

Charlotte Willems


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    Every waking moment we are bombarded with large amounts of information. Given the limited ability to process this information at a conscious level, some sort of selection for further processing is required to identify the most relevant information (e.g., other road users) while ignoring irrelevant information as much as possible (e.g., a commercial billboard). Our attentional system plays a crucial role in this selection process. When attention is allocated at specific moments in time, we typically refer to this as temporal selective attention, which can be studied using the attentional blink paradigm. The attentional blink is the inability to identify relevant information when it is shown within half a second of earlier presented relevant information. By studying the origin of this inability we hope to better understand how our brain selects and processes information over time. Our research specifically focused on addressing the question how people differ in their ability to rapidly select and process relevant information. We show that individuals who have little difficulty in identifying information in close temporal proximity allocate their attention earlier in time and more precisely than individuals who have more trouble performing such a task. Furthermore, the individuals who perform well seem to chop the incoming information into smaller pieces, leading to less confusion regarding the order in which the information was presented. Finally, we demonstrate a number of ways in which individuals can be trained to improve their ability to process rapidly presented information.
    Originele taal-2English
    KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
    Toekennende instantie
    • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
    • Aleman, Andre, Supervisor
    • Martens, Sander, Co-supervisor
    Datum van toekenning24-feb-2016
    Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
    Gedrukte ISBN's978-90-367-8587-7
    Elektronische ISBN's978-90-367-8586-0
    StatusPublished - 2016

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