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Publication Detail
Distracted and confused?: selective attention under load
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Lavie N
  • Publication date:
    02/2005
  • Pagination:
    pp.75, 82
  • Journal:
    Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • Volume:
    9
  • Issue:
    2
  • Print ISSN:
    1364-6613
  • Notes:
    Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 16th May 2007
Abstract
The ability to remain focused on goal-relevant stimuli in the presence of potentially interfering distractors is crucial for any coherent cognitive function. However, simply instructing people to ignore goal-irrelevant stimuli is not sufficient for preventing their processing. Recent research reveals that distractor processing depends critically on the level and type of load involved in the processing of goal-relevant information. Whereas high perceptual load can eliminate distractor processing, high load on "frontal" cognitive control processes increases distractor processing. These findings provide a resolution to the long-standing early and late selection debate within a load theory of attention that accommodates behavioural and neuroimaging data within a framework that integrates attention research with executive function. The ability to remain focused on goal-relevant stimuli in the presence of potentially interfering distractors is crucial for any coherent cognitive function. However, simply instructing people to ignore goal-irrelevant stimuli is not sufficient for preventing their processing. Recent research reveals that distractor processing depends critically on the level and type of load involved in the processing of goal-relevant information. Whereas high perceptual load can eliminate distractor processing, high load on "frontal" cognitive control processes increases distractor processing. These findings provide a resolution to the long-standing early and late selection debate within a load theory of attention that accommodates behavioural and neuroimaging data within a framework that integrates attention research with executive function.
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