Attention and physiological correlates

Resource competition allocation of attention in the dual task paradigm were investigated. Primary tasks were mathematical addition of 3 digit numbers and identification of orientation of triangles. Secondary task was pedaling an ergonometer bicycle. There were three levels of difficulty for each task. The experiment was conducted in two stages. Stage one lasted an hour, stage two two hours. 30 subjects participated in the experiment. Results of the first stage showed a voluntary increase of performance of secondary task above the required self pace mode, in the presence of moderate and high cognitive task loadings. Results of stage two corroborated the results of stage one and supported the assumption of existence of multiple resources. Only at high task loadings of primary and secondary tasks was there a deterioration of performance as measured by cycling drop and increased error rate. Hemispheric specialization of mathematical and spatial tasks was also confirmed. Blood flow measured at the hands was found to be a sensitive measure of mental load.