A1 Journal article – refereed

Attention control in a demanding dynamic time-sharing environment: An eye-tracking study




List of Authors: Jaakko Kulomäki, Lauri Oksama, Esa Rantanen, Jukka Hyönä

Publisher: Springer

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics

eISSN: 1943-393X

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3758/s13414-021-02377-z

URL: https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-021-02377-z


Abstract

In this study, we examined different models of cognitive control in dynamic time-sharing situations. We investigated attentional allocation by registering participants’ eye movements while they performed a new time-sharing task that forced them to solve resource conflicts between subtasks through prioritization. Participants were monitoring four subtasks each requiring different amounts of visual attention and response frequencies. Participants’ attention allocation was operationalized in terms of the time spent dwelling on subtasks, the rate they visually sampled the tasks, and the duration of dwells. Additionally, the accuracy of responses and efficiency of time-sharing were estimated. In Experiment 1, we studied adaptation to a time-sharing environment in which priority order of the subtasks was kept constant from trial to trial. We found that the participants sampled the most important subtasks more frequently, spent more time on them, and shifted their gaze earlier to them than to less important subtasks. That is, they allocated their attention according to the subtask priorities. In Experiment 2, subtask priorities changed from trial to trial. Despite the higher demands of the constantly changing situation, participants again adapted to the varying priorities of the subtasks almost instantly. Our results suggest that performance in complex and dynamic time-sharing situations is not managed by a system relying on liberal resource allocation policies and gradual learning. Instead, the participants’ rapid adaptation is more consistent with tighter executive and authoritative control and intelligent use of prioritization information.


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Last updated on 2021-20-10 at 14:55