Thesis defense Martijn Lamers (Donders Series 48)
March 11, 2011.
Promotor: Prof.dr. H. Bekkering, copromotor: Dr. A. Roelofs
Levels of selective attention in action planning
For most common actions, such as driving a car and cooking a meal, attention is needed. The planning of such actions appears to be simple as it happens most of the time error-free and without much conscious awareness. However, the flow of input from the external world perceived through our senses is enormous and the required underlying functional processes likewise. In order to function appropriately, humans constantly have to filter the input, shift their attention from one object or location to another, and sometimes must adjust the strategy for processing the acquired information.
Using an eye tracking device, Martijn Lamers has studied various attentional processes at different levels in the chain from task preparation, perceptual stimulus processing, response planning to response execution. His work clearly indicates that selective attention in human performance is not accomplished at a single locus (as was believed for a long time), but instead influences both early (perceptual) and late (response selection) levels, depending on the specific task and instructions.