Dr. Katherine Moore, assistant professor of Psychology, Jessica Avanzato ’18, Korissa Belville ’18, Jaimie Jasina ’18, Aziza Ransome ’18, and Ariel Kershner ’19, along with Purdue University graduate student Liz Wiemers, published their research project “Using Rapid Serial Visual Presentation to Measure Set-Specific Capture, a Consequence of Distraction While Multitasking” with the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JOVE).
The publication is based on a procedure used in Arcadia University’s Attention, Memory, and Cognition (AMC) laboratory run by Dr. Moore and her student research team. The team investigated multitasking and distraction by having participants try to locate target colors within a changing computer display. Other colored images flashed on the sides of the screen to function as distractions. Some trials of the experiment required participants to locate two target colors instead of one, allowing the researchers to measure the limitations of multitasking abilities.
The mental function being tested represents a variety of everyday situations, such as searching for specific items in a grocery store. The purpose of the study was to better understand the psychological functions behind professional systems and procedures, such as police officers searching for dangerous objects or Transportation Security Admission (TSA) agents looking for forbidden items during airport security check.
The AMC lab runs experiments that investigate human cognitive functioning. In addition to experiments which involve searching for colors, the AMC team also tests if those with synesthesia (a condition which causes links between senses) have heightened memory capabilities, as well as if there is a correlation between listening to ambient music and focus.