PSYC 328 Spring 2015 Understanding Attention and Distraction

The human brain is constantly bombarded by sensory information. For example, as you sit in class listening to a lecture, many other people and objects are visible, competing for your limited attention resources. How does your brain manage to avoid such distractions to focus attention on relevant sensory information (such as the lecture) in order to extract the information you need to accomplish important goals (such as passing the class)? This is a problem that confronts humans in a variety of ways, ranging from finding your keys or driving your car, to using your iPhone or iPad, to doctors looking for tumors on medical images or airport security screeners looking for weapons in baggage. In this course, students will read empirical studies that use both behavioral and brain imaging techniques to investigate the capabilities, limitations, and brain substrates of attention in human behavior. Topics include attentional control, how attention interacts with overt behaviors such as eye and hand movements, practical applications of attention research including topics such as smartphone technology design and training for medical image screeners, and dysfunction of attention in clinical populations. Students will conduct original empirical research, analyze data, and present their findings to their peers at the end of the semester.
Class Format: empirical lab course
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, midterm, short papers, presentation and paper on empirical project
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: PSYC 201 and PSYC 221 or 222, or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: Psychology majors
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes:
Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: PSYC Area 2 - Cognitive Psychology,PSYC Empirical Lab Course
Enrollment Limit: 16
Expected Enrollment: 12
Class Number: 3990
PSYC 328 - 01 (S) SEM Undrstnding Attn.&Distraction Division 2: Social Studies Jeff Moher
MR 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Bronfman 103 3990
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