Psychology Publications and Other Works

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A central research goal in the cognitive sciences has been to understand the processes that underlie selective attention, or the ability to focus on goal-relevant information. Two opposing theories have been proposed in an effort to explain how selective attention emerges: one suggests that attention improves continuously over time, whereas the other proposes that attention improves at a discrete time point. While outcome-based data (e.g., reaction time) have successfully provided evidence for both accounts, there has been no empirical evidence to differentiate them. In this study, we used mouse-tracking in a flanker task that provided time sensitive measures associated with selective attention. Specifically, we recorded the path of real-time movement trajectories to assess characteristics of continuous and discrete shifts in selective attention. Our results strongly suggested that selective attention increased gradually over time, as opposed to at a discrete point, thus providing support for a continuous account of selective attention.

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