May I Have Your Attention? Testing a Subjective Attention Scale

AbstractThe concept of ‘attention’ – our ability to focus on particular parts of the world - is a seemingly simple one. Research, however, often driven by clinicians need to diagnose attentional deficits after brain injuries, has demonstrated its complexity. This has resulted in significant testing being required to assess the full range of attentional abilities. Herein, we designed a Subjective Attention Scale, consisting of 15 Likert-scale questions based on five types of attention identified by Sohlberg and Mateer (1989). Preliminary data suggested the scale had good psychometric properties (Cronback’s α > 0.8) and an interpretable factor structure (4 factors; 49% of variance). However, it showed almost no significant correlations with measures from six laboratory tests of attention. Instead, analyses suggest peoples’ subjective beliefs regarding their attentional abilities map more onto the Conscientiousness personality trait than those traits identified from clinical work.

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