Current research topics

Psychology Attention Lab

Individuals vary in their ability to attend to multiple stimuli, their attentional breadth, their ability to have their attention captured by irrelevant stimuli, and in terms of what stimuli receive attention.

For example, we have shown that participants are consistent over time in their own ability to attend to two targets, to see the forest or the tree, or to resist having their attention captured by an irrelevant distractor, but that these abilities vary a lot person to person.

We are currently answering questions such as: How and why do some people invest more attention than others?

  • What causes individual differences in attention?
  • Are individuals aware of their own attention abilities?
  • What manipulations might alter individual differences in attention?
  • What are the implications of these differences for performance on a variety of tasks and everyday life?
  • Can an individual be trained into a different attentional style?

We have examined how the naturally occurring emotions and personality of an individual influences their breadth of attention and ability to multi-task.

We have also shown that highly arousing sexual/taboo words capture and hold attention and are better remembered than other words.

  • We are currently answering questions such as:
  • What is the link between various aspects of affect (e.g., valance/arousal) and various attention abilities?

What is the link between affect and personality to breath of attention and the ability to recognize various items?