At UniDistance Suisse, the challenge has been launched: Is it possible to measure with reliability and validity how we control our attention?
Attentional control, cognitive control, or executive functions are different labels that broadly refer to our ability to supervise and control thoughts and actions in order to achieve our current goals. This control ability is among the core abilities because it allows us to adapt to environmental changes in a fast and flexible way. For example, when we drive home quickly but safely, we are able to slow down when approaching a red traffic light. However, if we see a police officer at the junction, we are able to ignore the traffic light in order to follow the officer’s instructions. The key process behind such adaptability – thereafter called attentional control – includes maintaining goal-relevant information when facing distraction. Investigating the question of how attentional control is implemented is, therefore, an important prerequisite towards understanding human behavior.