Our team at the Attention and Human Behaviour [atthub] Lab researches the interface between key human cognitive abilities, like attention and multi-tasking, and human behaviours across a variety of situations.
Over a century of "basic" experimental research has taught us a lot about human cognition and perception, as well as their underlying neural mechanisms. However, we know much less about how these abilities differ across individuals and groups, or how these abilities influence everyday behaviours, like driving, or performance in specialized jobs, like the military or air-traffic control.
The goal of our work is to answer these questions by breaking through traditional divides between basic and applied research, and to focus instead on building a reciprocal relationship, in which basic research can guide practical questions, and practical outcomes can give new insights into basic processes.
Humans can only pay attention to a limited amount of information. As a result, perception and cognition begin to fail when people try to do more than one thing at a time. Our research tries to understand when and why these failures occur and how to reduce failures through cognitive training.
At an individual and group level, people vary in their abilities. Our research looks at individual differences in multi-tasking ability, as well as perceptual and cognitive advantages that tend to be found in groups, such as those with autism or autistic-like traits.
Even everyday activities, such as driving, can place significant demands on our cognitive resources. Our research looks at how cognitive demands influence a variety of human behaviours, using simulated environments such as motor vehicle operation, air-traffic control, and submarine track management.