Tuesday, February 08, 2022

A neurocognitive psychometrics account of individual differences in attentional control. - PsycNET


Schubert, A.-L., Löffler, C., & Hagemann, D. (2022). A neurocognitive psychometrics account of individual differences in attentional control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0001184
Attention control processes play an important role in many substantial psychological theories but are hard to reliably and validly measure on the subject-level. Therefore, associations between individual differences in attentional control and other variables are often inconsistent. Here we propose a novel neurocognitive psychometrics account of attentional control that integrates model parameters from the dual-stage two-phase model (Hübner et al., 2010), a mathematical model of selective attention, with neural correlates of conflict processing (i.e., latencies of the stimulus-locked lateralized readiness potential) in a multilayer structural equation model framework. We analyzed data from 150 participants who completed the Eriksen Flanker task while their EEG was recorded and used the neurocognitive psychometric approach to distinguish between two sequential stages of information-processing—target selection and response selection. Model parameters and neural correlates showed convergent validity and could be meaningfully related to each other. Together, these neurocognitive process parameters jointly explained 37 % of the variance in individual differences in higher-order cognitive abilities that were assessed with a battery of intelligence tests and working memory tasks. Individuals with greater cognitive abilities were not only better at focusing their attention on the target stimulus but also at subsequent response-selection. All in all, our results support the idea that individual differences in attentional control processes are related to individual differences in cognitive abilities. Moreover, they provide hope that the measurement crisis of individual differences in attentional control can be overcome by integrating measurement approaches from related disciplines such as mathematical psychology and cognitive neuroscience. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)

Kevin S. McGrew, PhD
Educational & School Psychologist
Institute for Applied Psychometrics (IAP)

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