de Joux, Neil R., Wilson, Kyle M., Russell, Paul N. and Helton, William S. (2015) The effects of a transition between local and global processing on vigilance performance. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 37 (8). pp. 888-898. ISSN 1744-411X

Sixty participants performed a sustained attention task in which they were required to perform either global or local feature discrimination. Two groups required just one type of discrimination, while the remaining two groups started on one type of discrimination before transitioning to the other type halfway through. A transition resulted in worse performance when compared to no transition. It was also found that the local discrimination group showed improved performance over time compared to the global discrimination group. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to measure blood oxygenation during the task and was used as an index of cerebral hemodynamic activity. Total oxygenation was found to increasemore in global discrimination tasks. It was also found that the left prefrontal cortex showed little change in nontransition tasks while in transition tasks it followed the same trend as the right prefrontal cortex. Combined with performance data, it suggests that an increased utilization of bilateral resources may in some cases improve performance over time.

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