Head, James, Wilson, Kyle M., Helton, William S. and Kemp, Simon (2013) The role of calmness in a high-Go target detection task. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 57 (1). pp. 838-842. ISSN 1541-9312

Individual differences (e.g., extroversion) have been noted to influence performance on sustained attention tasks (Davies & Parasuraman, 1982). It has been proposed that the sustained attention to response task (SART) is a valid measure of lapses in attention and has been extensively used in attention studies (Manly, Robertson, Galloway, & Hawkins, 1999; Robertson, Manly, Andrade, Baddeley, & Yiend, 1997). In the current investigation we test whether SART is a measure of sustained attention versus a measure of motor control. Additionally, we tested how individual differences using an abridged version of the Big Five personality traits scale related to SART performance. Two-hundred and ninety-six university students completed a SART and the Big Five scale. The behavioral results revealed a negative correlation between errors of commission and response time which is indicative of a speed-accuracy trade-off. The individual difference results revealed that those who report themselves higher on the calmness trait (non-neurotic) make less errors of commission (inappropriate response) and have slower response times. However, mediation regression analysis revealed that the relationship between the calmness individual difference and commission errors may be mediated by response time. Collectively, the SART may be a better measure of response inhibition than sustained attention and SART performance can be influenced by individual differences which influence the speed-accuracy trade-off.

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