Attentional Restoration and Depletion

Karl Bailey (Behavioral Sciences)

Attentional Restoration and Depletion in the College Environment

Self-control varies throughout the day and from individual to individual as the resources required for sustained attention are depleted and restored. Many tasks encountered by college students deplete their self-control resources, including the daily tasks of learning and studying. On the other hand, exposure to the natural environment in the campus arboretum is likely to have a restorative effect on self-control resources. The current proposal seeks to assess the degree of restoration of self-control resources using a novel “in-the-field” approach that allows laboratory tasks to be deployed in natural environments. The same paradigm will be used to examine whether the use of cell phones by pedestrians in natural environments will interfere with the restorative effects of those environments, as cell phone use by pedestrians is known to impair attention in much the same way as attention is impaired in drivers who use cell phones while operating a motor vehicle.

 
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