Friday, March 4, 2011

Differences in Recovery Time From Attention Distractions

Differences in working memory (WM) capacity have been attributed to a person’s ability to control their attention, and low-WM-capacity individuals are thought to be more prone to have their attention captured by distractors.

To test an alternative theory, that high-capacity individuals simply recover more quickly from distractions, two experiments using psychophysical and electrophysiological methods were carried out to test the susceptibility of different personality types and their recovery times, following a distraction i.e. Attention capture.

Evidence was found that high- and low-capacity individuals were distracted or had their attention captured, equally by a distractor. But the high-capacity individuals regained and returned their attention to the target more quickly than the low-capacity individuals.

Authors: Keisuke Fukuda and Edward K. Vogel

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article “The Omission Strategy” and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Tiffany Harrington at 202-293-9300 or

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