Department of Psychology
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Attention Lab

About the Lab

Research Approach

  • Dr. Karen Arnell, Director of the Brock Attention Lab, is a cognitive psychologist who received her PhD from the University of Waterloo in 1996. Since 1990 she has been performing studies of dual-task attention to look at the nature of temporal limitations on attention, and their functional significance.

  • All of the projects we work on in the Attention Lab involve examining the nature and limitations of attention in average adult humans.

  • For most studies, we use dual-task paradigms (particularly the attentional blink and PRP-type paradigms) to look at the limits and workings of attention under dual-task conditions. [Click here for a PDF of our 1992 article introducing the attentional blink.]

  • We typically present computer displays to participants. We take behavioural measures (accuracy and/or response time) and sometime also take scalp recordings of the brain's electrical response to stimulus events (event-related potentials or ERPs).

  • We use ERPs in the manner of a cognitive psychologist in that we look at which waveform components are reduced and/or delayed under dual-task conditions so that we can infer the cognitive stage at which processing breaks down under dual-task conditions. We do not use ERPs to test models of brain function or to localize ERP source generators within the brain.

  • For more information on the type of projects we are working on now, visit the "current projects" link.

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