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Kramer: Attention, From Theory to Practice

The study of attention in the laboratory has been crucial to understanding the mechanisms that support several different facets of attentional processing: Our ability to both divide attention among multiple tasks and stimuli, and selectively focus it on task-relevant information, while ignoring distracting task-irrelevant information, as well as how top-down and bottom-up factors influence the way that attention is directed within and across modalities. Equally important, however, is research that has attempted to scale up to the real world this empirical work on attention that has traditionally been well controlled by limited laboratory paradigms and phenomena. These types of basic and theoretically guided applied research on attention have benefited immeasurably from the work of Christopher Wickens. This book honors Wickens" many important contributions to the study of attention by bringing together researchers who examine real-world attentional problems and questions in light of attentional theory. The research fostered by Wickens" contributions will enrich not only our understanding of human performance in complex real-world systems, but also reveal the gaps on our knowledge of basic attentional processes.

About the Author

Arthur F. Kramer is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the Beckman Institute and the Institute of Aviation. He is also Director of the Biomedical Imaging Center, Co-Director of the NIH Center of Health Minds, and Co-Chair of the Intelligent Human Computer Interaction Main Research theme at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Douglas A. Wiegmann is an Associate Professor of Human Factors in the Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois. He also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Psychology and the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Alex Kirlik is a Professor of Human Factors in the Institute of Aviation and the Departments of Psychology, Mechanical Science & Engineering, Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering, and the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


"This excellent compilation of 'attention research' could not have come along at a more opportune time, bringing together as it does the most current knowledge from the most qualified contributors on a topic of great practical as well as theoretical interest today. There being no comparable single source for this important literature, I expect this well-organized, comprehensive volume to attract a wide audience and become extremely influential."
"William C. Howell, Adjunct Professor of Psychology, Arizona State University and Rice University

"A book simply celebrating Christopher Wickens and his retirement from a long and productive career at The University of Illinois would be enough. However, this book also represents a comprehensive compilation of applied attention research, much of it in the context of Wickens" multiple resource theory of human attention. While the focus is on aviation, the studies come from settings as diverse as Vicente analyzing operations in a nuclear power plant control room to Strayer and Drews examining driving performance while talking on the cell phone. It is loaded with nuggets from "well-seasoned" scientists such as Neville Moray and Tom Sheridan to candidates for young investigator awards represented by Nadine Sarter and John Lee. In a final chapter Wickens provides a summary and update on where his research has led him and how he characterizes attention today. There is grist here for any behavioral science and many engineering researchers, but especially for an experimental psychologist interested in applications."
"Richard W. Pew, Principal Scientist, BBN Technologies

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