Monday, June 18, 2007

Voluntary Control of Attention - Visual and Auditory Multi-Tasking

In this recent study from the Just lab, we see why multi-tasking is hard, whether it's looking and listening at the same time while watching and listening to a lecture or demonstration, take notes, or learning multi-stepped math procedures.

There is a yin and yang effect between visual and auditory attention. When one is looking, then auditory processing areas go down, and when one is listening, then visual processing areas go down. Mixed visual-auditory stimuli have an underadditive effect, so that if you have to do both at the same time, total brain activation goes down, and interestingly, language processing becomes more left hemisphere-dominant.

This is interesting because we often see children with strong right hemispheric language processing style whose parents report they "hyperfocus" when concentrating intently on a visual task (computers, movies, drawing, etc.). Rather than being a sign of pathology or ADD, it might mean a difference rather than disease. Strong right hemispheric processing styles also tend to allign with strengths in spatial ability and many types of higher order thinking. Many of the gifted dyslexics in our clinic seem to favor right hemispheric language processing over right. No wonder many of these folks prefer to skip note-taking in class, and either wing it, learn it their own way on their own, or file lecture information as images rather than words.

** We've had a family emergency come up. We may be off the blog this week, just depending, but we'll post whenever we get a chance.**

Volitional Control of Attention fMRI pdf
Eide Neurolearning Blog: The Right Brain Difference - The Complex Story in Our Brains
Eide NL Blog: Searching for the Right Word in the Right Brain
Eide NL Blog: The Two Executives in Your Brain
Eide NL Blog: The Benefits of Mixed Dominance: Lefties, Dyslexics, and Gaming
Eide NL Blog: The Different Wiring of Dyslexia
Eide NL Blog: Gifted Dyslexic Storytellers
Eide NL Blog: Flashes from the Past: Enrico Fermi

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