Improving Attention and Ability to Focus

Posted on March 7, 2015

Photo: flickr

“Even though we all make a lot of attentional errors and we have difficulty focusing, there’s -some potential for those abilities to improve.”
- Dr Nicholas Turk-Browne

In a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, brain imaging was used to predict when people start losing focus on a boring task that they were given. The tasks involved looking at faces and a blended background scene.

When participant are distracted and not focusing on the face, the brain images detect it and participants were informed before it causes an error on the task. While the participant is in the wrong state, the task was made harder, so as to get the participant to concentrate. When the participants are focused again, the task was made easier. The researchers found that those who were given feedback on their “state of mind”, performed better than the control group.

However, people do not track their attention at every moment, thus lapse might be seen gradually.

To improve one’s attention, could be to have a more sensitive feedback signal, which help participants to sense the upcoming lapse, before they manifest in behaviour. The study will help in applying to focusing on our daily mundane tasks.


Source material from PsyBlog