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WSU researchers to study effect of fatigue on attention
Date:3/22/2013

e generally use one of two strategies to focus their attention: a bottom-up strategy, in which they wait until they have all information and can compare the earlier with the later; or a top-down strategy, in which they use early information to make a decision and use later information to confirm the accuracy of that decision.

During the experiment, study participants will complete laboratory attention tasks before, during and after a period of sleep deprivation to determine whether they tend to use a bottom-up or top-down attention control strategy. Based on the participants' performance, the researchers will predict their response to a set of deadly force judgment and decision making scenarios while sleep deprived.

The scenarios will be played out in the Sleep and Performance Research Center's simulation laboratory, which contains two high-fidelity shooting simulators. Depending on the scenario, the use of a firearm may or may not be justified.

"When people must rapidly determine whether deadly force is warranted, they may be primed to shoot or not to shoot, depending on the circumstances," said Whitney. "For those people who are top-down processors, when they make an error, we think it's going to be more likely an error of shooting when they shouldn't have shot. People who are bottom-up are more likely to make an error in the other directionthey may hold off to wait for more information until it's too late."

The researchers will use data to enhance an individualized fatigue prediction model they are developing to enable task-specific predictions of fatigue-related performance impairment. They will also look for genetic markers that explain the individual differences in how people respond to fatigue for the top-down and bottom-up control strategies.

Van Dongen said the study ties together a decade of collaborative work on different but related tracks to address questions of individual differences in vulnerability to sleep lo
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Contact: Judith Van Dongen
jcvd@wsu.edu
509-358-7524
Washington State University
Source:Eurekalert

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