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A Real Attention Grabber: Scientist Finds Way To Measure Covert Attention

Date:
December 31, 2007
Source:
University of Western Ontario
Summary:
The person you're speaking with may be looking at you, but are they really paying attention? Or has the person covertly shifted their attention, without moving their eyes? Dr. Brian Corneil, of the Center for Brain and Mind at the University of Western Ontario has found a way of actually measuring covert attention. His research "Neuromuscular consequences of reflexive covert orienting" is posted on the Advance Online Publication of Nature Neuroscience.
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The person you're speaking with may be looking at you, but are they really paying attention" Or has the person covertly shifted their attention, without moving their eyes" Dr. Brian Corneil, of the Centre for Brain and Mind at The University of Western Ontario in London, Canada has found a way of actually measuring covert attention. 

"Our results demonstrate for the first time that covert attention can be measured in real-time via recordings of muscle activity in the neck," says Corneil, an assistant professor of physiology & pharmacology and psychology. "This finding may fundamentally change how attention is measured, grounding it in an objective and straightforward technique."

Until now, measuring attention was based on indirect measures of changes in reaction time, or stimulus detection. In furthering our understanding of how the brain works, Corneil has discovered that neck muscles are recruited during covert orienting, even in the absence of eye movements. This finding could help in assessing the effectiveness of therapies for stroke or other neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

His research "Neuromuscular consequences of reflexive covert orienting" is posted on the Advance Online Publication of "Nature Neuroscience".

The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers at Queen's University and the University of Toronto, with funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Human Frontier Science Program. Corneil is a CIHR New Investigator, and a member of the CIHR Group in Action and Perception.


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Materials provided by University of Western Ontario. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Western Ontario. "A Real Attention Grabber: Scientist Finds Way To Measure Covert Attention." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071202155257.htm>.
University of Western Ontario. (2007, December 31). A Real Attention Grabber: Scientist Finds Way To Measure Covert Attention. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071202155257.htm
University of Western Ontario. "A Real Attention Grabber: Scientist Finds Way To Measure Covert Attention." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071202155257.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

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