Advancing the understanding of individual differences in attentional control: Theoretical, methodological, and analytical considerations

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Description: Attentional control as an ability to regulate information processing during goal-directed behavior is critical to many theories of human cognition and thought to predict a large range of everyday behaviors. However, in recent years, failures to reliably assess individual differences in attentional control have sparked a debate concerning whether attentional control, as currently conceptualized and assessed, can be regarded as a valid psychometric construct. In this consensus paper, we summarize the current debate from theoretical, methodological, and analytical perspectives. First, we propose a consensus-based definition of attentional control and the cognitive mechanisms that potentially contribute to individual differences in attentional control. Next, guided by the findings of an in-depth literature survey, we discuss the psychometric considerations that are critical when assessing attentional control. We then provide suggestions for recent methodological and analytical approaches that can alleviate the most common concerns. We conclude that, to truly advance our understanding of the construct of attentional control, we must develop a theory-driven and empirically supported consensus on how we define, operationalize, and assess attentional control. This consensus paper presents a first step to achieve this goal; a shift toward transparent reporting, sharing of materials and data, and cross-laboratory efforts will further accelerate progress. This repository contains the data and R scripts to process, describe and analyze, and plot the literature survey data.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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