A research project, led by Alodie Rey-Mermet and funded by the SNSF, has just started at the Faculty of Psychology of UniDistance Suisse. The aim of this project is to determine whether it is possible to estab-lish reliable and valid measures of attentional control. Without such measures, it is impossible to draw solid conclusions about how an individual or group of individuals control their attention and in which situations this cognitive process is successfully implemented.

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.

More about the project

 

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