Replication and extension of the toolbox approach to measuring attention control

Abstract

There is an increasing consensus among researchers that traditional attention tasks do not validly index the attentional mechanisms that they are often used to assess. We recently tested and validated several existing, modified, and new tasks and found that accuracy-based and adaptive tasks were more reliable and valid measures of attention control than traditional ones, which typically rely on speeded responding and/or contrast comparisons in the form of difference scores (Draheim et al., 2021). With these improved measures, we found that attention control fully mediated the working memory capacity-fluid intelligence relationship, a novel finding that we argued has significant theoretical implications. The present study was both a follow-up and extension to this “toolbox approach” to measuring attention control. Here, we tested updated versions of several attention control tasks in a new dataset (N = 301) and found, with one exception, that these tasks remain strong indicators of attention control. The present study also replicated two important findings; 1) that attention control accounted for nearly all the variance in the relationship between working memory capacity and fluid intelligence, and 2) that the strong association found between attention control and other cognitive measures is not because the attention control tasks place strong demands on processing speed. These findings show that attention control can be measured as a reliable and valid individual differences construct and thatattention control shares substantial variance with other executive functions.

Publication
Behavior Research Methods
Jason S. Tsukahara
Jason S. Tsukahara
Cognitive Psychologist, PhD

My research focuses on attention control and its role in our mind and life.