Being out of the zone: Brain oscillatory dynamics during decreased sustained attention
Rodolfo Solís-Vivanco1,2 (email@example.com), Louise Barne3, Anthony Harris3, Nilli Lavie3; 1Instituto Nacional de Neurología y Neurocirugía, 2Faculty of Psychology, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 3University College London
Sustained attention enables individuals to concentrate on relevant stimuli over an extended time period. Notably, this form of attention is marked by performance fluctuations, alternating between a state of consistent and effective behavior (being "in the zone") and another one characterized by increased performance variability and susceptibility to errors ("outside the zone"). Little is known about the differences between these states in terms of oscillatory brain dynamics during challenging sustained attention tasks, which was our objective. Thirty young adults performed the Gradual-onset continuous performance task, during which their EEG and responses were recorded. States of sustained attention (in the zone vs. out of the zone) throughout the task were identified based on the variability of reaction times to correct stimuli. As expected, being outside the zone correlated with heightened commission errors and reduced task sensitivity. Additionally, being outside the zone showed a significant decline in theta oscillations in prefrontal regions. The extent of this decline predicted commission errors, reduced task sensitivity, and reaction time variability. Moreover, variability in theta rhythm along the task was associated with reaction time variability. Finally, participants exhibiting greater theta variability showed a more pronounced decline in task sensitivity when being outside the zone compared to those with lower variability. Our results suggest that diminished sustained attention is characterized by a reduction in frontal theta activity, and the fluctuation in this rhythm serve as predictor of execution consistency. These findings hold significance for activities where attentional fluctuations play a crucial role.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Nonspatial
CNS Account Login
April 13–16 | 2024