Everyday attention failures: An individual differences investigation

Nash Unsworth, Brittany D. McMillan, Gene Brewer, Gregory J. Spillers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined individual differences in everyday attention failures. Undergraduate students completed various cognitive ability measures in the laboratory and recorded everyday attention failures in a diary over the course of a week. The majority of attention failures were failures of distraction or mind wandering in educational contexts (in class or while studying). Latent variable techniques were used to perform analyses, and the results suggested that individual differences in working memory capacity and attention control were related to some but not all everyday attention failures. Furthermore, everyday attention failures predicted SAT scores and partially accounted for the relation between cognitive abilities and SAT scores. These results provide important evidence for individual differences in everyday attention failures as well as for the ecological validity of laboratory measures of working memory capacity and attention control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1765-1772
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Attention control
  • Attention failures
  • Individual differences
  • SAT
  • Working memory capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

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