Attention, Vigilance, and Cortical Evoked-Potentials in Humans

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  10 Jul 1964:
Vol. 145, Issue 3628, pp. 180-182
DOI: 10.1126/science.145.3628.180


Computer-averaged potentials evoked from the cortex were recorded to nonsignal stimuli and to randomly interspersed signal stimuli requiring detection and response during prolonged visual vigilance. As detection efficiency diminished over time, the amplitude of evoked responses to nonsignal stimuli decreased and latency increased. Fluctuations in vigilance (attentiveness) during the course of the task also were accompanied by corresponding changes in evoked-potentials to nonsignal stimuli. More specific lapses of attention, revealed by detection failures, resulted in average evoked-responses of lower amplitude to missed as compared with detected signals.