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Understanding and measuring individual differences in attentional control

Department of Psychology

About the Project

Attentional control – the ability to monitor and control ongoing thoughts and actions – is thought to account for a substantial amount of individual differences in working memory capacity and fluid intelligence (e.g., Kane & Engle, 2003). However, recent failures to establish sound correlations between different measures of executive attention (e.g., Rey-Mermet et al., 2019) have led to scepticism about attentional control as a coherent psychometric construct. In this project, the PhD student will investigate potential reasons for these inconsistent findings, including scrutinising the theoretical conceptualisation of attentional control, the psychometric properties (i.e., reliability, validity) of typically used tasks (e.g., Stroop task), and differences between derived scores (e.g., reaction time difference scores vs. accuracies)

Please also see our website for more information about our lab:

Funding Notes

Self funded or externally sponsored students only. Intakes are usually October and March annually.

NB The University has some scholarships under competition each year. More details can be found - View Website


* Rey-Mermet, A., Gade, M., Souza, A. S., von Bastian, C. C., & Oberauer, K. (2019). Is executive control related to working memory capacity and fluid intelligence? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148(8), 1335-1372. doi: 10.1037/xge0000593

* von Bastian, C. C., Blais, C., Brewer, G. A., Gyurkovics, M., Hedge, C., Kałamała, P., Meier, M. E., Oberauer, K., Rey-Mermet, A., Rouder, J. N., Souza, A. S., Bartsch, L. M., Conway, A. R. A., Draheim, C., Engle, R. W., Friedman, N. P., Frischkorn, G. T., Gustavson, D. E., Koch, I., Redick, T. S., Smeekens, B. A., Whitehead, P. S., & Wiemers, E. A. (under review). Advancing the understanding of individual differences in attentional control: Theoretical, methodological, and analytical considerations. Manuscript submitted for publication. Preprint:

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