Natural fluctuations in sustained attention can lead to attentional failures in everyday tasks and even dangerous incidences. These fluctuations depend on personal factors, as well as task characteristics. So far, our understanding of sustained attention is partly due to the common usage of laboratory setups and tasks, and the complex interplay between behavior and brain activity. The focus of the current study was thus to test the feasibility of applying a single-channel wireless EEG to monitor patterns of sustained attention during a set of ecological tasks. An EEG marker of attention (BEI—Brain Engagement Index) was continuously recorded from 42 healthy volunteers during auditory and visual tasks from the Test of Everyday Attention (TEA) and Trail Making Test (TMT). We found a descending pattern of both performance and BEI in the auditory tasks as task complexity increases, while the increase in performance and decrease in BEI on the visual task. In addition, patterns of BEI in the complex tasks were used to detect outliers and the optimal range of attention through exploratory models. The current study supports the feasibility of combined electrophysiological and neurocognitive investigation of sustained attention in ecological tasks yielding unique insights on patterns of sustained attention as a function of task modality and task complexity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We express our deep gratitude to all of the study participants. In addition, we acknowledge Yael Ben-Sason, Israel Zelikovich, Ammy Cohen, Coral Aharoni, Mor Ben-David, and Dafna Lumich for their help with the data collection.
Copyright © 2022 Avirame, Gshur, Komemi and Lipskaya-Velikovsky.
- attention fluctuations
- attentional control
- everyday functioning
- one-channel EEG
- test of everyday attention