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Psychol Rev. 2010 Apr;117(2):637-84. doi: 10.1037/a0019082.

Visual spatial attention to multiple locations at once: the jury is still out.

Author information

1
Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Abstract

Although in traditional attention research the focus of visual spatial attention has been considered as indivisible, many studies in the last 15 years have claimed the contrary. These studies suggest that humans can direct their attention simultaneously to multiple noncontiguous regions of the visual field upon mere instruction. The notion that spatial attention can easily be split is counterintuitive in the light of current neurocognitive models of attention. We examined studies on divided attention against 4 methodological criteria that should be satisfied in order to convincingly demonstrate divided attention, and we found no studies in the current literature that pass this test. On the basis of current theories of attention, we argue that dividing attention may not be easily achievable by naive human observers and that, instead, it is a skill that may be acquired only through training.

PMID:
20438241
DOI:
10.1037/a0019082
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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