• Individual Differences in Attentional Breadth Changes Over Time: An Event-Related Potential Investigation

      Pitchford, Brent; Arnell, Karen M. (Frontiers, 2021-03-23)
      Event-related potentials (ERPs) to hierarchical stimuli have been compared for global/ local target trials, but the pattern of results across studies is mixed with respect to understanding how ERPs differ with local and global bias. There are reliable interindividual differences in attentional breadth biases. This study addresses two questions. Can these interindividual differences in attentional breadth be predicted by interindividual ERP differences to hierarchical stimuli? Can attentional breadth changes over time within participants (i.e., intraindividual differences) be predicted by ERPs changes over time when viewing hierarchical stimuli? Here, we estimated attentional breadth and isolated ERPs in response to Navon letter stimuli presented at two time points. We found that interindividual differences in ERPs at Time 1 did not predict attentional breadth differences across individuals at Time 1. However, individual differences in changes to P1, N1, and P3 ERPs to hierarchical stimuli from Time 1 to Time 2 were associated with individual differences in changes in attentional breadth from Time 1 to Time 2. These results suggest that attentional breadth changes within individuals over time are reflected in changes in ERP responses to hierarchical stimuli such that smaller N1s and larger P3s accompany a shift to processing the newly prioritized level, suggesting that the preferred level required less perceptual processing and elicited more attention.